By Ryan Coleman
With Feast Week in full swing, it’s only appropriate to be looking towards what types of futures bets can make you money come March! Ryan Coleman gives his best bets after digesting some of the early-season results:
The Cardinals may be the best team in basketball. They were my preseason favorites and there’s a reason their odds have already moved from +1700. Louisville is a powerhouse with tons of talent and they haven’t even been fully healthy yet. Third-year center Malik Williams has only played in one game so far. Furthermore, the newbies are still in the learning process, with five-star recruit Samuell Williamson only playing about 20 minutes per game so far. Come conference play they should be fully healthy, all the new places should fall into place nicely and the Cardinals will dominate. Feel free to throw some money on them winning the ACC too at +300.
I advise patience on this one. James Wiseman, the potential number one overall pick in the 2020 NBA draft, is out for quite a bit and he is not easy to replace. Memphis will play Mississippi, N.C. State, Tennessee, Georgia, Wichita State, South Florida and Cincinnati all without Wiseman and it will be tough to win them all. Without him, Memphis is a solid team that is still a shoo-in for the tournament. With Wiseman, the Tigers might be the most talented team in the nation. They are young so will probably have some kinks to figure out and may suffer some unexpected losses along the way. But come the end of the season, they should be a well-oiled machine. Wait about two or three weeks for their odds to fall, and you could get even better value on this one. +300 odds to win the AAC seems like a solid shot as well.
Arizona is another team with a nice combination of leadership and young talent, a common recipe for success come March. Obviously, Sean Miller has had his struggles when it comes to performing well in the tournament, but so did Tony Bennett and Jay Wright before him. This team has a chance to make it big come tourney time and +2800 will probably be the best value you’ll get for the rest of the year. The Wildcats’ two five-star recruits, Nico Mannion and Josh Green, have been performing up to expectations so far and already helped lead Arizona to a dominant win over Illinois, who’s currently ranked 46th in KenPom. Meanwhile, fellow freshman Zeke Nnaji has been perhaps the most impressive of the bunch, averaging 19 points and 6 rebounds per game so far this season. After a disappointing year a season ago, this team has hit the ground running. It would come as no surprise if they were cutting down the nets in Atlanta come March.
Seton Hall +3300
I have two words for you: Myles Powell. Oh, and they lost to the consensus preseason number one team by a bucket. Seton Hall is ranked 13th in the nation but they have the 18th best odds to win the NCAA Tournament. Myles Powell has been playing out of his mind and we will be able to learn a lot more about this team in the next couple weeks after they play Oregon, Iowa State, Rutgers and Maryland, all KenPom top-100 teams. This is one deep team who returned a lot of talent from last year. That experience will help them through the tournament and if it doesn’t, Myles Powell is capable of leading them the entire way.
This one is a bit of a flier but if there were to be a 5-7 seed that surprises everyone en route to a tournament championship, the Buffaloes could easily be that team. Colorado looked solid in their first game of the year with a win over Arizona State, and have been dominant in their other two. Tyler Bey has looked the part of a star so far this season, and his supporting cast of McKinley Wright, Evan Battery, D’Shawn Schwartz and co. could be the Cinderella story of the year.
Gonzaga Bulldogs -140 (WCC)
For a team that is a shoo-in practical guarantee to win their conference, -140 is solid value. The Bulldogs under Mark Few have been dominant and they will continue their dominance this year. The value of -140 is too good to pass up because there may never be something so certain with such low odds again.
Ohio State +700 (Big Ten)
“But what about Michigan State?”, I hear you say through your computer screen. While the Spartans are elite, their overdependence on Cassius Winston combined with Joshua Langford being sidelined indefinitely with an injury, Ohio State seems capable of taking over the Big Ten crown. The Buckeyes are talented up and down their roster, represented by a commanding 76-51 win over Villanova that will continue to age well. Ohio State only has to face Michigan State once at the end of the year, and they already may have locked up the conference by then.