Thursday, June 21, 2018
college basketball

College Basketball Betting: Preseason Top 5

The college basketball season is still five months away from starting, but with NBA Draft declarations and defections and all sorts of transfer situations having been sorted out, analysts have a much better and clearer understanding of which teams will be really good and which teams won’t. This is a volatile sport, but some teams clearly appear to have distanced themselves from others. Here are the best selections for a preseason top five in the country:

1) Michigan State Spartans

Odds To Win 2017 NCAA Basketball Championship: +2000

There were few more impactful decisions to stay in school and spurn the NBA Draft than Miles Bridges committing to a second year under Tom Izzo in East Lansing. Bridges would have been a lottery pick, so his decision not only gives Michigan State a high-impact player, but a player who will be able to grow within Izzo’s system and make all sorts of adjustments relative to his freshman season. Bridges will be a better presence for his teammates and a more powerful, fluid scorer who can have a bigger domino effect on the game. He will also be more attuned to what opposing Big Ten teams can do, which will make him a better in-game player. This will enable Michigan State to be the Big Ten favorite and a team which can go all the way.

2) Kansas Jayhawks

Odds To Win 2017 NCAA Basketball Championship: +1200

The Jayhawks also benefited from a decision by a player to stay in school and ignore the NBA Draft. Devonte Graham will solidify the Kansas backcourt in the absence of Frank Mason. The Jayhawks would have had to start over in the backcourt if Graham had left, but his return takes a lot of pressure off coach Bill Self, who knows that with injured big man Udoka Azubuike back in the rotation, he won’t have many roster spots to fill. The Jayhawks should have more depth than last season, and they won’t be distressingly young at multiple positions in their core rotation. That should put them right in the mix for another big season and a Big 12 title.

3) Duke Blue Devils

Odds To Win 2017 NCAA Basketball Championship: +800

It’s not that surprising to see Duke on this list, right? The Blue Devils have become the team which rivals Kentucky for the most one-and-done players in the country, but Marques Bolden and Grayson Allen are holdovers from last season’s team. The Blue Devils were conspicuously unlucky with injuries last season. They have a ton of talent this season, and as long as they get reasonable luck with health, they should be able to rise to the top of the ACC, especially with North Carolina losing its big men and wing Justin Jackson.

4) Arizona Wildcats

Odds To Win 2017 NCAA Basketball Championship: +800

The Wildcats get Allonzo Trier, Rawle Alkins, and Dusan Ristic back, which is important. Remember that this team went 32-5 overall last season, which was the best record in the Pac-12. They only lost two games in conference play the entire season (16-2).

They also get some of the best freshmen recruits in the country, possibly a player who can be one-and-done. The Wildcats continue to knock at the door of the Final Four, but many people in college basketball feel that next season’s team has the best chance to go all the way of any team coach Sean Miller has assembled in Tucson.

5) Villanova Wildcats

Odds To Win 2017 NCAA Basketball Championship: +1500

The Wildcats are coming off a banner year where they went 32-4 overall. They were easily the top team in the Big East as they went 15-3 in conference play. Only one other team in the conference had less than 10 losses (Butler with nine). The Wildcats of the East Coast will reload. They will lose Josh Hart, but they will bring back several players from their previous core rotation. They will also get Omari Spellman, a lauded big man, after he was ruled ineligible the previous season. Having a quality center is what last season’s team lacked. The Wildcats will be more balanced this season, and that should keep them in the top five.

The 2017-18 NCAA Tournament futures have been posted. Visit Diamond Sportsbook to get all of the latest college basketball betting lines right here.

About Geoff Harvey

Geoff Harvey has been setting his fantasy rosters since his days in the womb, just don't ask him how he used to get his waiver-wire reports back then. He's a lifelong fan of sports, especially the fantasy and betting aspects.

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