As one season closes, another is set to start in a mere six months and it’s never too early to put a futures bet on who you believe are the group cutting down the nets at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta next April. The Virginia Cavaliers claimed the 2019 title, their first in history, but they sit on the oddsboard, two spots behind the Kentucky Wildcats, that are the +500 favorite.
BetOnline has Kentucky since the favorite to win the 2020 school hoops championship at +500 followed closely by Duke in +600, Virginia in +650, Michigan State at +800, and Michigan and North Carolina at +1200 to round out the leading teams on the oddsboard.
Tread Gently with Kentucky
Kentucky had a powerful 2018-19 effort, placing with a 30-7 record en route to an Elite Eight berth before falling to Auburn in overtime. No doubt head coach John Calipari will have the Wildcats playing at a high level, but he will have to enter the season with quite a different appearance. Four of Kentucky’s starting five are likely to graduate or be drafted into the NBA as Reid Travis is a senior and P.J. Washington, Keldon Johnson and Tyler Herro will probably be going pro.
All isn’t lost, however, since the Wildcats have done a good job recruitment for the upcoming season, securing two 2019 McDonald’s All-Americans, shooting guard Tyrese Maxey and small forward Khalil Whitney. I expect sophomores Immanuel Quickley and E.J. Montgomery to lead the fee and will work well with the incoming freshmen. With their new look, I’d be hesitant to put a bet on this bar in +500 at this stage.
Kansas May be Well-Balanced and Experienced
Kansas had a very interesting 2018-19, revealing flashes of brilliance along with being rated in the top five at the AP poll for eight months, including two weeks in the top spot. Overall, the Jayhawks ended the year with a 26-10 record, falling to Auburn in the Round of 32. Kansas was a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde club when it came to house and away splits, going a perfect 16-0 at Allen Fieldhouse but just 3-8 in true road games — quite confusing results.
The Jayhawks had to battle through accidents, losing guard Lagerald Vick for the season in early February. He’s a senior and won’t be back next year. Furthermore, junior centre Udoka Azubuike played only nine matches in 2018-19. But Kansas, despite those big holes in the frontcourt and backcourt, still needed a Round of 32 appearance. The Jayhawks must be feisty this forthcoming season as I don’t anticipate Azubuike to be drafted and Vick are their sole loss, so chances of +2000 provide decent price.
Auburn Providing Best Value
Head coach Bruce Pearl has to be proud of the effort his team put in last season, heading 30-10, including winning the SEC tournament and falling only to eventual national champion Virginia 63-62 at the Final Four. The group had four seniors, including guard Bryce Brown, who headed the team with 15.9 points per match.
However, the core of the team must come back for the 2019-20 season, most notably Jared Harper and Chuma Okeke, who combined for 27.3 ppg. Harper led the team with 5.8 assists per game, while Okeke was the team leader with 6.8 rebounds per game. Additionally, Pearl has recruited five players that have signed letters of intent, including little forward Isaac Okoro,who’s the 37th-ranked recruit. I believe this group is going to cause waves again and +3300 may be a steal as we close March following year.
Here’s a look at the full list of odds for your 2020 school hoops championship:
2019-20 College BASKETBALL Champion Odds
Michigan State +800
North Carolina +1200
Mississippi State +3300
Texas Tech +3300
Florida State +6600
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