College Basketball Betting | 5 Early-Season Storylines, Including Purdue, FAU & More
Photo by Darryl Oumi/Getty Images. Pictured: Zach Edey (Purdue)
One month into the college basketball season, fans and bettors alike are starting to come away with some key takeaways.
There are plenty of storylines to follow in a sport as wild as college basketball, so now is a good time to take some inventory on the biggest things we've learned one month into the season — and how bettors can capitalize on the value still on the board.
Here are five key storylines in college basketball betting.
Note: We're referencing odds at DraftKings for the remainder of this article.
Coming into the season, everyone expected Zach Edey to run away with the National Player of the Year award, as long as he stayed healthy. The only question was voter fatigue, and if there was better value elsewhere from another player that could put up Edey-like numbers.
Before the season started, Edey was listed at +230 odds to win NPOY. At the end of November, he's now down to +160, and his case has only gotten stronger.
Purdue looks like the best team in the country, and Edey’s individual numbers look nearly identical to last season.
Hunter Dickinson (+300) and Kyle Filipowski (+800) lurk beneath him, but barring an injury, it would be shocking to see anyone other than Edey win this award.
While we’re on the subject of Purdue, many wondered if the Boilermakers were actually deserving of the preseason hype after last year’s NCAA tournament loss to a 16-seed.
The Boilermakers have passed their early tests with flying colors. They're still without a loss, and they claimed a trophy at the Maui Invitational.
Purdue is now the No. 1 team in the AP Poll, and the Boilers don’t look like they're going anywhere. If you want to back Purdue, you can get the Boilers to make the Final Four at +340 odds, or to win the national title at +900.
But compared to before the season, the value is worse, as they're now the betting favorite in both categories.
Another fascinating topic of preseason speculation was if Florida Atlantic was actually deserving of its hype. The Owls made a magical run to the Final Four last year and returned all their key pieces, but experts were very divided on where to rank the Owls.
After a slow start that featured a horrible loss to Bryant at home, Florida Atlantic looks loaded again. And with Alijah Martin fully healthy, the Owls picked up wins against Texas A&M and Virginia Tech to cap off an undefeated Feast Week.
Florida Atlantic sits at +1000 odds to make the Final Four again, which means the Owls are valued equally with teams like Maryland and Arkansas (both of whom are 20 spots lower on KenPom).
While we still love Florida Atlantic, it’s also fun to try and find who the next team will be to rise from out of nowhere to make a deep run in March.
There are two teams that have caught my attention early this season.
James Madison picked up the first shocking upset of the season, when it stormed into East Lansing and beat Michigan State. The Dukes are still undefeated and have risen all the way up to 73rd on KenPom.
Another potential Cinderella is Colorado State, which might have the best point guard in the country in Isaiah Stevens. The Rams just (shockingly) blew out Creighton, which was a popular Final Four pick before the season began.
You can bet James Madison at +10000 odds to make the Final Four. At the time of writing, Colorado State is still off the board, but it won’t surprise me if that changes soon.
Who Will Win the Big East?
Our final storyline to follow has been the movement at the top of the Big East. The conference that's home to the defending national champions also owned two other preseason top-10 teams — and a fourth contender in Villanova that many experts loved.
Through the first month, all four have shown they're capable of high ceilings.
Marquette is the current betting favorite (+220) to win the conference, and after giving Purdue a run for its money in the Maui final, it makes sense.
UConn is still undefeated and may be a bit undervalued at +250 odds.
Then there's a drop to Creighton (+400) and the Battle 4 Atlantis champions, Villanova (+550).
Expect more movement as these teams fight for positioning all season long.