It was just days after the college basketball season that sportsbooks began to post their 2014-15 NCAA College Basketball futures. The LVH was the first sportsbook to post their Championship odds, while Sportsbook.com joined them shortly after as the first offshore book.
The reigning national champs, UConn, graduated their leading scorer in Shabazz Napier while star forward DeAndre Daniels opted to declare early for the NBA Draft. However, point guard Ryan Boatright returned to school for his senior season and since opening way back in May, UConn has dropped from +4,000 to +8,000 to +10,000 to win the National Championship.
The table below compares the futures from Sportsbook.com, BetOnline and the Greek along with the preseason Top 25 rankings from the USA Today Coaches Poll. This table will be continually updated as other sportsbooks post their odds.
|Team||Sportsbook (1/26)||The Greek (11/14)||Ken Pom Ranking (10/31)||Coaches Poll Ranking (10/16)||The Greek (6/4)||BetOnline (5/6)||Sportsbook (5/1)|
|San Diego St||+10000||+6500||29||17||+6500||+6600||+6000|
|New Mexico St||+500000||N/A||79||N/A||N/A||N/A||+30000|
Below was originally posted on October 18, 2014
We’ve seen some interesting futures movement on Duke based on Jabari Parker’s decision to declare for the NBA Draft. Although he has always been expected to be a top-3 selection, Parker was on the fence about leaving school after his freshman season. However, after officially announcing his intentions to leave early Duke moved from a +600 to +850.
It’s also been interesting to monitor the futures of the Kentucky Wildcats. Coach Calipari’s team opened at +1,200 to win the National Championship despite stars like PF Julius Randle and SF James Young declare for the draft. Despite these losses, the Harrison twins, Willie Cauley-Stein, Alex Poythress and Dakari Johnson have all opted to return to school next year. With loads of returning talent and the nation’s second best recruiting class (according to ESPN); the Wildcats are now the favorite to win it all. Not only are the Wildcats the favorite, since June they have actually seen their odds improve from +500 to +300.
On Thursday (10/16) the first USA Today Coaches Poll was released, which is interesting for a number of reasons. Bettors tend to overvalue ranked teams and we’re always curious as to which team’s sportsbooks and pollsters disagree on. Voters for the USA Today Top 25 simply can’t watch every game and they tend to be far less accurate in assessing talent than oddsmakers, which can create excellent early-season fade opportunities.
While Kentucky is the consensus number one team by oddsmakers and pollsters alike, there are a handful of teams with major discrepancies. Virginia opens the season as the nation’s 8th ranked team, but oddsmakers put their title futures at +5000 — tying them for 19th best.
The defending champs, UConn, will start the year as the 15th ranked team despite a number of key losses. According to oddsmakers, the Huskies are tied with unranked teams like Minnesota, Miami, Baylor and Memphis as the 28th best team in the nation.
Lastly we have Michigan State who will begin the season at the nation’s 18th ranked team. Despite losing their top two scorers in G Gary Harris (16.7 PPG) and F/C Adreian Payne (16.4 PPG), Tom Izzo’s squad returns a number of impact players including senior G/F Keith Appling (11.2 PPG and 8.3 RPG last season). With strong coaching and a consistent track record of success, the Spartans have the 8th best odds of winning the National Championship at the Greek.
The final piece of our analysis came when Ken Pomeroy posted his first rankings of the 2014-15 College Basketball season. Pomeroy, who runs the site KenPom.com, rates all 351 Division I men’s basketball programs based on metrics including offensive and defensive efficiency, tempo, and pace. His rankings are typically far more informed than either the AP Top 25 or USA Today Coaches Poll and can help provide additional insight for bettors.
It’s very interesting that The Greek, which is typically considered to be a much sharper sportsbook than either BetOnline or Sportsbook.com, offers an option for the field. Although originally Virginia Commonwealth (VCU) was included in the field, the Greek has updated their odds to list the Rams at +3000. Since taking over as head coach in 2009, Shaka Smart has produced a 137-46 record and led his team to the Final Four in 2011.
Also noteworthy are the numerous discrepancies between the KenPom rankings and the future odds at the Greek. There are currently no odds for teams like Tulsa (45), Boise State (64), Georgia State (65) and Iona (71) at any offshore sportsbook, meaning they would be included as part of the “field”.
It’s also surprising to see that Pomeroy ranks North Carolina at just the 20th best team in the country despite having the 5th best title odds and the #4 ranking in the initial USA Today Coaches Poll. This is because oddsmakers know that North Carolina is an incredibly popular team, and they will take UNC money regardless of the price.
Oklahoma State seems to be an afterthought for oddsmakers who list them at 175/1 to win the National Championship — the 59th best odds in the nation. Despite these long odds, the Cowboys are ranked by KenPom as the 21st best team in the country. Although they lost their top two scorers in Marcus Smart and Markel Brown, OSU still has plenty of talent on their roster including senior G/F Le’Bryan Nash (13.9 ppg, 5.5 rpg) and junior G Phil Forte (13.3 ppg).
Other underrated teams according to the KenPom rankings include: Louisville (+2500), Virginia (+5000), Ohio State (+6000), UConn (+8000), Pittsburgh (+10000) and Georgetown (+12500).
Which teams do you think are offering value? Is Kentucky really the best team in the nation? Make sure to leave your thoughts and opinions in the comment section below.