The Virginia Cavaliers won their first National Championship in school history this past season. As with most champions, the Cavaliers are among the favorites to win against next season. The FanDuel Sportsbook currently has them as their favorite at +700. The Florida Gators were the last team to repeat back in 2006-2007, so odds are, we need to find another team to put our money on.
The Virginia Cavaliers, Duke Blue Devils, Kentucky Wildcats, and Michigan State Spartans are the four teams with the best odds, and only ones below +1000 on the FanDuel Sportsbook. Virginia, Duke, and Kentucky all lost three starters to the NBA Draft. Michigan State didn’t lose any.
Michigan State is coming off of a Final Four appearance and the only player they will be missing from last season is Nick Ward. Ward wasn’t drafted, but he will be heading to play for the Atlanta Hawks. Cassius Winston is returning, Joshua Langford should be healthy to play this season and Xavier Tillman is another great player for Tom Izzo. Don’t be surprised if Michigan State enters the season ranked number one. Get your money on the Spartans before that +900 drops down to the +500 range.
Michigan State +900
Best Value Picks
The Memphis Tigers lost all five starters from last season, but they did end up with the #1 recruiting class this year. They got #1 overall prospect James Wiseman as well as two other five-star recruits and two other top 100 ESPN guards. Coach Penny Hardaway will have one of the most talented teams in the country that will look more like a Kentucky Wildcats roster with all of the high profile freshmen. There is a reason Memphis has the seventh best odds heading into the start of the season.
Kansas enters the season with the tenth best odds in college basketball. Pretty low for a Kansas team. For the first time in about 10 years, no Jayhawks were drafted in the NBA Draft. Devon Dotson will be one of the best point guards in the country and the return of Udoka Azubuike is huge. You can never count out a Bill Self team. This is the first time in 15 years that they didn’t win the Big 12 regular season title. For the first time in a decade and a half, we will see a Kansas team with a chip on their shoulder. That should scare the rest of college basketball. Kansas has four four-star recruits coming to Lawrence.
Memphis +2000 and Kansas +2500
Picks to Avoid
Virginia was the most complete and efficient team in college basketball last season. Not only was their defense great, but they had the fifth most efficient offense in Division I. Now the team will be without their three best players in Kyle Guy, Ty Jerome, and De’Andre Hunter after they were all drafted last week. The 31st ranked recruiting class isn’t going to fill the voids left by those three stars. Mamadi Diakite’s decision to return to Virginia is big, but not enough. Kihei Clark isn’t the type of player who can lead a team, he is more of the guy who can support players like Jerome and Guy. Without that kind of talent to play with, Clark will be in for a long season. Tony Bennett is a great coach and will find a way to stay competitive, but Virginia has lost too much of its core. Such a drastic decline in talent will be too hard to overcome.
Tennessee is another team that lost its three best players to the NBA Draft. Grant Williams, Admiral Schofield, and Jordan Bone are all gone. The Volunteers did land one five-star recruit in Josiah James, but not much else after that. Losing your top three scorers and minutes players is a difficult feat to overcome. Especially when your team only has two players averaging over 10 points a game and one who averages more than 28 minutes to fill that void. Tennessee surprisingly has the 12th best odds at the moment. It’s best to leave this pick alone for the time being.
Virginia +700 and Tennessee +2500