College Basketball Futures: Accessing Malstrom’s Current Card & Potential Value
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If you have followed me on the Action app or my Twitter since I joined Action back in August, then you will know that I love futures. This is one of my favorite aspects of sports betting, as I continuously scan the markets for value to pounce on in hopes of cashing late in the season.
Futures are not just a simple money dump for long term hope it cashes in the end. When strategized, a future bet gives so much more value for you to cash on.
When combining hedging with a one game tournament format and plenty of juicy numbers in the portfolio, my bank account drools at the thought of March.
With plenty of futures in my back pocket already, let’s look at how I feel about some of them now and whether they still have any value in taking or not.
It’s never easy to win the championship, let alone winning it in back-to-back years. In fact, only seven programs have done it, with Florida pulling it off most recently back in 2006-2007.
With Baylor losing 62 of its 86 points from last year’s National Championship game, how on earth could it possibly pull off another title?
Flash forward to today, and somehow someway Scott Drew has led his Bears to some of the best metrics in the nation. The Bears are ranked in the top 10 in both AdjO and AdjD, per KenPom.
The Bears’ no middle defense is as pesky as ever, and will play a major role in a potential deep tournament run.
The offense also piques my interest, as the Bears are deep at the guard position, heavily relying on backcourt production for scoring. Their top five scorers are guards who combine for 58.8 points per game.
How I feel: Great. Baylor has shown it is one of the best teams in the nation — despite two straight losses at home.
The number now sits at +1200, a little low for my liking. You essentially would need them to make it to the National Championship to be able to play around with that number.
Current Pick: Pass
Luckily for everyone reading this, with Xavier having a horrible shooting night and losing to Villanova by four earlier this week, there is still value in this number.
You can read why I am so high on Xavier and an explanation of how to hedge a team with a number this large. I call it partial pieces. Is that the real name for it? I have no idea, but I’m claiming that now.
How I feel: Fantastic. Xavier has shown itself to be a Big East contender. The Musketeers are up there with Villanova, a team I highly regard as a top-five squad.
You can still find Xavier at +8000, and I would still grab the Musketeers while you can before the number drops.
Current Pick: Buy
I somehow love this future and hate it at the same time. Thanks to Mike Calabrese, I landed the best number possible at the time, as it is now +100.
The reason that I am slightly nervous is that the SEC has shown that it’s loaded. With other top-tier teams like LSU, Kentucky, Tennessee and Alabama, this will be by far the best conference tournament.
Auburn is the most balanced and complete team of all of them, ranking 15th in AdjO and eigth in AdjD.
The offense is led by forward Jabari Smith, who is averaging 16.1 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game. Auburn has three others scoring in double digits and beats its opponents with depth — the Tigers play 11 players meaningful minutes.
How I feel: Confident, but worried. While I love the number I have, I still essentially need Auburn to make it to the conference finals to hedge if I want to make a profit.
That will prove to be difficult, as the SEC is loaded this year with anyone capable of beating anyone in a single-elimination tournament.
Current Pick: Pass
This is by far my favorite future in terms of CLV to today’s numbers. I grabbed Purdue as soon as the market opened as the buzzer sounded following last year’s National Championship.
While I was feeling a lot better about Purdue earlier this season than I am now, I still believe the Boilermakers are one of the best teams in the nation. The offense is No. 2 in the nation in AdjO, but the defense has fallen off a cliff and now ranks 71th in AdjD.
The perimeter defense is the glaring weakness, as Purdue gives up open 3s at an alarming rate. The Boilers could be prone to an early knock out in the tournament, especially if they play a hot-shooting team.
Purdue is deep — with 10 players contributing meaningful minutes — and have a balanced scoring attack with its elite players. While Purdue is still figuring out the best lineup to use its bigs, guard Jaden Ivey has been rock steady by scoring 16.3 points per game.
How I feel: Fantastic. Yes the Boilermakers are showing chinks in their armor, but no team is perfect this year.
I have the best possible number (+2500 compared to +900 today) and room to hedge without completely relying on a deep run. Come Eight Eight, I will have room to make some money moves.
Current Pick: Pass
I can not give up on the Hokies. I refuse to give up on them. Like stocks, when the market is down, buy the dip.
Virginia Tech has the metrics to contend with the elites like North Carolina and Duke, as the Hokies rank third in the ACC in AdjEM, per KenPom. They are a four-point favorite on a neutral court against the next team in the ACC, which was Clemson before it lost to Boston College. Yes, the ACC is that bad this year.
So, what gives? Virginia Tech has been unable to pull together a complete game. When the offense is on, the defense is nonexistent. When the defense is shutting opponents down, the offense can’t buy a basket. It is infuriating, but it’s giving us value that I will gladly buy.
The Hokies check the box by being a well-balanced team, ranking top 50 in both AdjO and AdjD. They play tight to the vest, with seven players contributing meaningful minutes.
How I feel: Great after I submit this writing and buy some more Va. Tech. As of now, Virginia Tech dropped to +5000 after losing two of three.
As my mortal enemy Aaron Rodgers once said, R-E-L-A-X. The Hokies have all the tools to put it together and they own a scheme designed to rival ACC-leading Duke. That slow-paced tempo will force Duke into half-court possessions in the ACC Tournament — should they match up.
Current Pick: BUY!
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