College Basketball AP Top 25: 2021-22 Preseason Poll Breakdown From Betting Angle
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With the college basketball season right around the corner, the Associated Press has officially released its first top-25 poll of the 2021-22 season.
Gonzaga — which is currently +600 to win the National Championship at BetMGM — checks in at No. 1, while UCLA (+1200), Kansas (+1600), Villanova (+1200) and Texas (+1600) round out the top five.
Duke (+1400) and Kentucky (+1600) both missed the NCAA Tournament last year but are back in the rankings at No. 9 and No. 10, respectively. The two blue bloods have plenty of motivation, but with this being Mike Krzyzewski’s last season before retirement, the Blue Devils have an extra edge in the ACC.
With all this in mind, here’s a breakdown from a betting angle.
Pac-12 Not Getting Any Love?
The Pac-12 had five teams reach the NCAA Tournament last season.
UCLA went on a wild run to the Final Four. Oregon State reached the Elite Eight as a 12-seed after breezing through the conference tournament. USC upset Kansas and made the Elite Eight. And even Oregon and Colorado won at least a game.
Even though the Bruins return their starting five and are the No. 2 team, only one other Pac-12 school made the poll: Oregon.
KenPom’s 2022 College Basketball Ratings also don’t seem to be high on the league either, as UCLA is currently seventh, USC is 20th and Oregon is 29th.
While the AP and KenPom didn’t give the conference much love, BetMGM has USC at +4000 and Arizona at +5000 to win the National Championship.
Squads like Tennessee (+4000), UConn (+5000), Auburn (+5000) and St. Bonaventure all have similar odds to win it all despite finding themselves in the AP Poll.
The Bruins are the clear favorite to win the league, but the moral of the story is that despite limited early-season love, USC, Colorado and even Washington State (picked only eighth in the league’s media poll) could be drastically undervalued.
Getting a Read on Memphis
Memphis clocks in at No. 12 in the AP Poll and is currently +1600 to win the title at BetMGM.
Since Penny Hardaway has taken over as the head coach, the Tigers have had an influx of talent. However, Memphis has been irrelevant once March rolls around.
Sure, the Tigers won the NIT last season, but they have yet to reach an NCAA Tournament under Hardaway despite loaded recruiting classes, one of which featured 2020 No. 2 overall NBA draft pick James Wiseman.
The story remains the same this year. They once again are oozing with talent up and down the roster and convinced two of the best 2022 prospects to reclassify.
However, until we see the offense improve and the young players catch up to the speed of the college game, Memphis’ future odds and rankings are currently based more on buzz than anything.
Dangerous Squad in A10
Beyond the Zags, the lone team outside the Power 5, Big East and AAC to find a spot in the poll is the Atlantic 10’s St. Bonaventure. The Bonnies return their five top players from last season and are currently +5000 to cut down the nets at BetMGM.
Experience means a lot in college hoops, but the Bonnies aren’t just old; they’re tough and elite defensively.
They’re currently +1200 to reach the Final Four at WynnBET, and their win total sits at 28.5.
While their nonconference slate is not exactly murderer’s row, they do face challenges against UConn and Virginia and also will compete in the Charleston Classic. This could be a negative for the O/U, but these quality tests will help them build confidence for a potential NCAA Tournament run.
They may be much better than No. 23 overall.
Full AP Top 25
- Gonzaga Bulldogs
- UCLA Bruins
- Kansas Jayhawks
- Villanova Wildcats
- Texas Longhorns
- Michigan Wolverines
- Purdue Boilermakers
- Baylor Bears
- Duke Blue Devils
- Kentucky Wildcats
- Illinois Fighting Illini
- Memphis Tigers
- Oregon Ducks
- Alabama Crimson Tide
- Houston Cougars
- Arkansas Razorbacks
- Ohio State Buckeyes
- Tennessee Volunteers
- North Carolina Tar Heels
- Florida State Seminoles
- Maryland Terrapins
- Auburn Tigers
- St. Bonaventure Bonnies
- UConn Huskies
- Virginia Cavaliers