College Basketball Odds, Picks: Three Man Weave’s Top Conference Futures for 2022-23
Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images. Pictured: Matt Bradley (San Diego State)
Finally. We are almost back.
After almost seven months, the college basketball season is finally returning on Monday, November 7.
Which teams should you target? And why?
Dive in below, and happy college hoops!
Three Man Weave College Basketball 2022-23 Conference Futures
The picks in the table below represent the futures bets that the Three Man Weave crew are targeting this season. Click on any of the following picks to navigate to a specific bet discussed in this article.
San Diego State to Win MWC Regular Season Title +100
By Jim Root
My favorite “type” of conference future is the underpriced favorite.
Over the course of a long, grueling regular season, I tend to gravitate towards the known quantities. In leagues where the challengers are largely uncertain or inferior, the favorites are even more appealing.
A banner year for the league in 2021-22 led to four NCAA Tournament bids. Boise State, Colorado State, San Diego State and Wyoming all won at least 13 league games, though none ended up earning a victory in the Big Dance.
This time around, the top of the league appears more diluted.
Atop the preseason mountain sits the Aztecs. Coach Brian Dutcher is a staggering 44-8 in league play over the last three campaigns, and his team is loaded yet again.
First Team All-Conference honoree Matt Bradley is back, as is Defensive Player of the Year Nathan Mensah. Two other starters return, as well, and SDSU has every reason to believe it can maintain its impenetrable defensive shell.
The Aztecs finished second in KenPom’s Adjusted Defensive Efficiency rankings, buoyed by a seventh-ranked 2P percentage defense. Mensah’s presence makes that sustainable.
A lack of offensive firepower dragged SDSU down last year, though. The Aztecs lacked on-ball dynamism outside of Bradley, and they struggled to generate easy buckets in the half court.
As dominant as Mensah is on defense, he is mostly a garbage man on the other end.
Two key newcomers bring a jolt of potency to the attack. Speedster Darrion Trammell will take the reins at point guard, and his vision and feel in ball screens open a whole new avenue to shots.
Simultaneously, forward Jaedon LeDee projects as a matchup problem inside and out. Dutcher has far more options with which he can probe defenses.
With the defense remaining stout and the offense improved, SDSU sits as the clear favorite.
The most significant challenger is Wyoming. The Cowboys return two all-conference recipients themselves, and head coach Jeff Linder nabbed three Pac-12 transfers from the portal to their bolster depth.
Wyoming will be formidable, but the post-up centric offense could suffer without elite sharpshooter Drake Jeffries drawing major attention.
Personally, I do not buy that Wyoming possesses a high enough ceiling to unseat SDSU.
A final note: advanced projections align with these odds. KenPom forecasts the Aztecs to win the league by three games. Bart Torvik only narrowly sees it tighter, with Colorado State inching within a game.
Given SDSU’s defensive fortitude, Dutcher’s prowess on the sidelines and the Aztecs’ evolving offense, I love getting plus-money here.
VCU to Win A-10 Regular Season Title +700
By Matthew Cox
There’s palpable buzz surrounding Dayton and Saint Louis this year, the presumed two top dogs in the A-10.
The Flyers and Billikens each return everyone of relevance from last year’s core rotations, and SLU gets back bonafide A-10 Player of the Year candidate Javonte Perkins, who was sidelined with an injury last season.
By comparison, the VCU roster may not carry the same cache of familiar faces and continuity as SLU and Dayton, but this narrative rings true every season in Richmond.
In fact, akin to SLU, the Rams also welcome back a paramount piece of the puzzle coming off of injury, Jamir Watkins, who holds all-conference upside if back to true form.
With rising sophomores Jayden Nunn and Jalen DeLoach, enticing transfer pickups Brandon Johns Jr. and Zeb Jackson (both from Michigan) and a budding star in Ace Baldwin at point, the Rams' upside is real.
Granted, there’s sizable downside risk as well, largely rooted in the injury concerns of numerous contributors.
However, this high-ceiling, low-floor type of variance is the proper trait to target in the futures market.
The undetected value seems to be the Mike Rhoades effect. He stockpiles forgotten, overlooked two-star and three-star recruits and molds them into assets like clockwork.
This explains why VCU is continuously undervalued in the analytic rankings, which directly informs the vast majority of futures markets.
Except for an injury-ruined 2020 season, Rhoades has beaten KenPom’s preseason rankings in three of the last four years.
The Rams opened the season at 97th overall last year and finished 63rd.
The year before that? Started 90th, and finished 48th.
This season, the Rams are poised for another skyrocket climb. KenPom slots them at 94th in his latest preseason rendition.
The one wrinkle with handicapping the A-10 this year is the arrival of Loyola Chicago, expanding the league’s membership count to 15 teams. There are many middling squads in this conference that don’t pose a major threat to the Rams, but the Ramblers are a worthy adversary.
For futures bettors, take note of your location. If betting in Illinois, you won’t see the Ramblers on the board, but be aware they’re a viable contender in this year’s title race.
Still, the Rams remain the best bet on the board in this league and should be priced similarly to Dayton and SLU.
Iowa to Win Big Ten Regular Season Title +1000
By Ky McKeon
The most important thing you can do when hunting for bets (whether futures or otherwise) is to line shop. This ensures you are betting the best possible price on the offering you are interested in.
Of course, making a futures bet simply because of an outlier offer at one sportsbook is not a long-term winning strategy — you also need to have sound reasoning as to why that particular team can win.
In Iowa’s situation, we can build a compelling case.
For starters, most would agree the Big Ten race is wide open this year.
Several teams lost major pieces from last season (including Iowa), and the consensus media and betting favorite is Indiana, a team with a second-year head coach that finished 9-11 in the conference last year and hasn’t won the league since 2016.
Looking at KenPom preseason ratings, we can see his algorithm expects Iowa to be right in the hunt for the Big Ten title. The top seven teams are all ranked in the top 33 nationally, and Iowa ranks second among them at No. 23.
Head coach Fran McCaffery has a solid track record in the Big Ten and has finished in the top four of the standings in each of the past two seasons. He also has a roster with arguably the highest upside in the league.
6-foot-8 forward Kris Murray might not be quite as special as his twin brother Keegan — a First Team All-American and top-five NBA draft pick — but early signs point to him having a major breakout campaign with Big Ten Player of the Year upside.
He scored 24 points on 9-of-14 shooting in Iowa’s exhibition game, demonstrating the ability to score in any way he pleases — just like dear brother Keegan.
If Iowa's opening exhibition game was any indication, they will use Kris Murray in a very similar role to the one Keegan played last year.
Openings night highlights 👇🏽 pic.twitter.com/JH4dE1lYQZ
— Adam Finkelstein (@AdamFinkelstein) November 3, 2022
And Kris’ supporting cast ain’t too shabby.
Lead guard Tony Perkins has reportedly transformed his body this offseason; he turned in an 18-point, five-rebound, four-assist performance in Iowa’s exhibition.
Big man Filip Rebraca acquitted himself nicely in his first Big Ten season after transferring from North Dakota, giving Iowa a solid foundation in the middle.
Patrick McCaffery was a four-star recruit in 2019 and still has room to grow.
And rising sophomore Payton Sandfort is on a breakout trajectory himself.
Put all the pieces together, and you have a solid case for Iowa to win the Big Ten, especially when you’re able to grab it at 10/1 odds.
Budding superstar with All-American potential? Check. A supporting cast with a collective upside? Check. A coach who has consistently won in the league? Check. A wide open conference title race? Check.
This is by far the best value on the Big Ten Conference title board. Grab it while it lasts.