As February begins, it is a good time to look at potential NCAA basketball future wagers. Full disclosure, this season may be as hard as any to predict a winner, but that also means there is a ton of value out there.
To find a college champion, the theme is great guard play and a mix of experience with youth. Last year, Virginia won the championship with a veteran roster led by Kyle Guy and Ty Jerome. In 2018, Villanova won on the strength of Jalen Brunson. In 2017, North Carolina cut down the nets thanks to a team that was a last-second shot away the year before, as well as, Joel Berry. You get the picture. The last time a young team won the title was 2015 with Duke, but they had major contributions from veterans.
NCAA Basketball Future Wagers
Dayton Flyers +1600
The Flyers seemed to be the feel-good story of the preseason tournaments after a near win at the Maui Invitational. However, they have continued to impress. Dayton has secured a record of 19-2, with the only two losses coming away from home in overtime to tournament teams.
Obviously, when discussing Dayton, it must start with Obi Toppin. Toppin is one of the best players in college basketball and is firmly in the National Player of the Year conversation. He is averaging 19.8 points and 8 rebounds per game while leading the Flyers to success.
After Toppin, the Flyers rely heavily on guards. Specifically, Jalen Crutcher has played the “Robin” role this season, averaging 14.9 points and 5.3 assists, saving the day when Toppin has struggled. With these two, Dayton has as good of a chance as any.
There are two areas of concern for Dayton. First, they are young. Only two players that log significant minutes are seniors. They do not have a ton of big-game experience which can be dangerous in March but given their performance in big games this year, it does not seem to matter.
Lastly, Dayton is fairly small. They do not play anyone over 6’7 more than ten minutes per game. Therefore, they struggle on the glass and that can hurt them in March. On the other hand, they play five guards which can be extremely hard for other teams to match up with. At 16-1 odds, Dayton should be considered closely.
Seton Hall Pirates +1600
The Pirates started the season slowly and dealt with some injuries to key players. Ultimately, they sit at 16-4, 8-0 in the Big East, and look to be every bit as good as initially thought. They have a good chance to win the Big East, which should secure a top-three seed.
Myles Powell is as good as it gets. Currently, he should be the favorite for National Player of the Year. He can score the ball at will and seems to shine brightest on the biggest stages. Myles Cale and Quincy McKnight provide solid veteran backcourt depth.
Seton Hall is a solid defensive team. They have super athletic guards and decent rim protectors that can cause problems for other rosters. This is what will put them over the edge in March.
Seton Hall does have a few question marks that explain the tempting odds. First, they take a lot of tough shots due to an isolation style of play, creating a low three-point percentage. Truthfully, they do not have many great shooters.
Lastly, it is always a question as to who will step up besides Powell. They need to develop their Robin, like Dayton has, in order to solidify their chance to cut down the nets. All-in-all, this is a very tempting number for a solid team.
Duke Blue Devils +700
At one point, Duke seemed like a solid favorite to win the National Championship. They have since sputtered, suffering a bad loss to Clemson, and no-showing in the first half against Louisville. However, Duke is historically a poor team in January, therefore, the first week of February seems like a nice time to buy low.
Duke will go as far as Tre Jones and Vernon Carey Jr. take them. Jones tasted success last year, barely missing out on the Final Four, which bodes well for him this year. He is a great point guard that protects the ball and dominates games. Carey is dominant as well but has been slightly inconsistent. The Blue Devils will need him to solidify his All-American status to be a true contender.
Two other keys to this team are Cassius Stanley and Wendell Moore Jr. Stanley has been great in big games and seems to be the spark plug for this team. Moore was injured for most of January and it was quite obvious how important he is to the Blue Devils.
Duke, like all teams, does have a few concerns. Their frontcourt rotation is a bit thin, especially when Carey is in foul trouble. They need veterans like Javin DeLaurier to step up and be a net positive when Carey is on the bench.
The other main concern is the youth. Realistically, next to Jones, DeLaurier, and Jack White, there is no experience on the roster. In order for Duke to cut down the nets, those veterans will need to step up, which was the case in 2015 when they won with a handful of freshmen.
Florida Gators +8000
Lastly, Florida is a very interesting price. Admittedly, they have been widely disappointing all year. However, they do have one of the most talented rosters in college basketball and a decent mix of veterans and youth. They sit at 12-8, losing four of their last six games. Florida should get hot through the first few weeks of February which will make these odds drop quickly.
All of Florida’s problems come on the offensive end. They take way too many bad shots, leading to several transition opportunities for opponents. Nembhard needs to elevate his play significantly and meet his potential. Additionally, Florida needs to fully commit to playing through Blackshear and getting him a touch every possession.
Florida needs to get hot in March. They seem to be quite fragile mentally which has led to their struggles. When something goes bad, it all goes bad quickly. Florida +8000 is more of a low risk, high reward type play, solely based on a wildly talented roster.
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