College Basketball Odds, Picks, Futures: 2022-23 SWAC Betting Preview

College Basketball Odds, Picks, Futures: 2022-23 SWAC Betting Preview article feature image

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Brace yourselves for another SWAC-attack.

Those bold enough to back the SWAC last year reaped real returns. Flushed with an unprecedented level of talent, the HBCUs gave the Power-Six challengers all they could handle in the non-conference.

The SWAC finished with a stellar 73-53 ATS record versus out-of-league foes last season and nine of the conference's 12 teams finished .500 or better against the number.

Can the uprising continue? Conventional wisdom says absolutely. With the immediate eligibility transfer rule green-lit, the SWAC can pounce on previously out of reach talent.

And this season, that same song rings true.

From a futures betting lens, understanding the offseason portal winners and losers is critical to finding value. There are no clear cut "locks" in a league as wild as the SWAC, but we can wither down the best bets by process of elimination.

2022-23 SWAC Regular Season Futures Odds

Odds (Via Caesars)
Texas Southern+250
Alcorn State+500
Alabama A&M+700
Grambling State+800
Jackson State+800
Prairie View A&M+1100
Florida A&M+1800
Alabama State+2200
Arkansas-Pine Bluff+3000
Mississippi Valley State+5000

The Cellar Dwellers 

Narrowing the pool of potential regular-season champions in this crapshoot conference is tricky.

But we can weed out the dead money candidates.

Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils

Sorry Valley State diehards, but it figures to be another tough season for the Delta Devils.

Mississippi Valley State is now under the direction of former Arkansas-Pine Bluff head honcho George Ivory after the Lindsey Hunter experiment ran its course.

MVSU is one of the few SWAC teams without a notable high major — or even mid-major — down transfer.

Cross the Delta Devils off the list.

Arkansas-Pine Bluff Golden Lions

Speaking of Pine Bluff, the Lions are now led by young Solomon Bozeman.

Bozeman, formerly of Oral Roberts, was in for a rude awakening in his first season as program director. The Lions were competitive at Creighton and Colorado State to open the year, but they slowly faded into oblivion as the season dragged on.

The root cause of the demise was a dreadful defense. Opponents gashed UAPB on layups and easy buckets all year long, culminating in the country's worst overall defense, per KenPom.

Granted, this was great for over bettors.

Florida A&M Rattlers

The other name doomed for the SWAC basement may surprise you: Florida A&M.

The Rattlers lose multiple cornerstone players — headlined by reigning Player of the Year MJ Randolph — and now face a myriad of roster question marks.

Again, steer clear.

The Crazy Eight

Nine teams have a viable shot at claiming the regular season crown.

The first two contenders are cut from the same cloth, Alcorn State and Prairie View A&M.

Alcorn State Braves

Alcorn, the reigning regular-season champion, shattered everyone's expectations last year and welcome back five contributors who clocked 20+ minutes.

Head coach Landon Bussie, a former assistant at Prairie View, took a few pages out of Byron Smith's playbook.

Prairie View A&M Panthers

However, that playbook didn't work as well for the mentor.

PVAMU slipped to 8-8 in league play after charting at least 12 conference wins the four years prior.

In the wake of last year's regression, the Panthers are poised for a rubberband slingshot up the standings. They welcome three proven mid-major transfers, each of whom will play a critical role in getting the Panthers back on track.

In short, at 10-1 (or better), they look like a great value add to a SWAC futures portfolio.

Texas Southern Tigers

Fellow Houston-based Texas Southern — regarded for hoarding droves of power-conference talent — are uncharacteristically light this season.

Johnny Jones and his crew should still be considered one of the favorites, but there are no notable game-changing transfers on his roster this year.

Southern Jaguars

Sean Woods and his Southern Jaguars are back with vengeance after another premature SWAC Tournament exit.

Stocked with proven incumbents and stellar JUCO imports, Woods may boast the deepest roster in the SWAC. Add them to the list, as well.

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Rounding out the contenders are four major wildcards.

Alabama A&M Bulldogs

The first is Alabama A&M — which returns four starters and multiple key bench pieces, but is now under new head coaching management. Otis Hughley Jr. steps in for Dylan Howard, who recruited and groomed this quietly rising core of upperclassmen.

Grambling State Tigers

At Grambling State, it's Donte' Jackson who still roams the sidelines. Jackson's roster houses two of the most intriguing transfers in the league: Carte'Are Gordon and Terrence Lewis.

Along with a terrific returning triumvirate in Tra'Michael Moton, Shawndarius Cowart and Cam Christon, the Tigers could be a sleeping giant.

However, at 8-1 the value isn't as juicy as, say, Bethune-Cookman at 12-1.

Bethune-Cookman Wildcats

B-CU will feature two instant-impact newcomers this year, headlined by top-100 freshman recruit Zion Harmon.

Along with Donovann Toatley, a JUCO stalwart and critical cog at Monmouth before then, the Wildcats are bonafide title contender. They return all five starters, but two of them will be relegated to bench roles on this talent-rich roster.

Alabama State Hornets

Finally, there's Alabama State, which backfilled the loss of head coach Mo Williams with Tony Madlock. Madlock and his son TJ helped lift South Carolina State out of the national gutter and into a feisty underdog in the blink of an eye last year.

Don't be surprised to see the Hornets replicate that formula under Madlock's direction this year.

One Mo

Jackson State Tigers

The biggest unknown might be Jackson State. JSU's football insurgence is taking center stage on the gridiron, but the administration made waves on the hardwood, too.

They welcome Mo Williams to the sidelines in a quasi homecoming for the Jackson-made man.

Five of the Tigers' top-seven players will be transfers in Williams' first year.

Plus, former Tulane standout Gabe Watson is set to return at point guard. Watson played in only seven games last year due to injury, and missed the entire SWAC campaign.

SWAC Futures & Picks

To attack this high variance market, build the following three-team portfolio:

  • Southern +375
  • Prairie View A&M +1100
  • Bethune Cookman +1200

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Jun 21, 2024 UTC