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NCAA Deadlines Cause Betting Odds Alterations for 2022 March Madness

NCAA Deadlines Cause Betting Odds Alterations for 2022 March Madness article feature image

Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images. Pictured: Kofi Cockburn

Two recent NCAA men’s basketball deadlines have altered betting odds for next year’s March Madness more than eight months before the tournament is set to begin.

The deadline for NCAA men’s basketball players to withdraw from the NBA Draft and maintain their college eligibility is Wednesday.

A second deadline for college basketball players to enter the transfer portal came and went on July 1. The NCAA started allowing in April for student-athletes to transfer once without sitting out a season.

One notable — and surprising — name to hit the transfer portal on the July 1 deadline was Kofi Cockburn. The 7-foot big man led the Fighting Illini to a No. 1 seed in the tournament while averaging 17.5 points and 9.5 rebounds over 27 minutes per game during the regular season. He was named to the first-team All-Big Ten team and was also a consensus second-team All-American. Cockburn is undoubtedly the most important player remaining in the transfer portal.

And the betting markets have shown that. The odds for Illinois to win next year’s tournament have lengthened to 50/1 at DraftKings. At PointsBet, the odds have gone from 20/1 to 35/1.

“The only reason the line isn’t out further is because Cockburn could change his mind and come back to Illinois,” PointsBet spokesperson Patrick Eichner told The Action Network.

The Illini will have at least two starters depart, with Adam Miller transferring to LSU and consensus first-team All-American point guard Ayo Dosunmu — a projected first-round pick — declaring for the draft.

Cockburn had also made himself available for the NBA Draft but withdrew on Tuesday, a day before the NCAA deadline.

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One collegiate team Cockburn has been linked with, Kentucky, has seen their futures odds shorten amid rumors that they could land the big man and Minnesota guard Marcus Carr.

According to ESPN’s Jeff Borzello, Carr has finalized his top-four transfer list to Kentucky, Texas, Louisville and Kansas. Carr averaged 19.4 points over 35.8 minutes per game for the Golden Gophers last season and finished as an All-Big Ten second-team member.

Kentucky’s odds went from +1600 to +1400 on Tuesday as a result of these potential acquisitions.

Cockburn has told ESPN that Kentucky is a “serious option.” Former Illinois assistant coaches Ronald “Chin” Coleman and Orlando Antigua joined Kentucky’s bench earlier this year.

“Antigua is my guy,” he told ESPN. “I’m going to consider them, but there [are] a lot of schools. I wasn’t really focused on that while I was in the NBA draft. Now I can take my time and evaluate it better.”

News regarding the aforementioned deadlines have also shortened futures odds for Michigan, who are second-best favorites to win it all at PointsBet (+850), FanDuel (+1100) and BetMGM (+1000) as of Tuesday.

At PointsBet, their line shortened from +900 to +850 on Tuesday because two important players decided to decommit from the NBA Draft, Eichner told The Action Network.

DeVante’ Jones transferred to Michigan from Coastal Carolina in May after putting up 19.3 points per game and winning the Sun Belt Player of the Year. Shortly thereafter, he signed with an agent and made himself available for the NBA Draft.

On Monday, though, he withdrew from the draft and committed himself to at least a season in Ann Arbor.

“I decided to withdraw from the NBA draft because there’s a stigma of the level I played at my three years at Coastal Carolina University,” Jones told ESPN.

Similarly, sophomore center Hunter Dickinson — one of the top big men in the country last season — announced on Tuesday that he would return. Dickinson was the Big Ten Freshman of the Year and an Associated Press second-team All-American.

Below are some other Tuesday line movements for the 2022 NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

  • Texas from +2000 to +1800. “Tons of new faces — could move shorter but we’re comfortable staying a bit above market for now,” Eichner told The Action Network.
  • Alabama from +2500 to +2000
  • Oregon from +3000 to +2500
  • Michigan State from +2500 to +3000
  • Arizona from +5000 to +4000
  • Maryland from +3000 to +4000
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