As one season closes, another is set to start in just a mere six months and it’s never too early to place a futures bet on who you think will be the group cutting down the nets at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta following April. The Virginia Cavaliers maintained the 2019 title, their first in school history, however they sit on the oddsboard, two areas behind the Kentucky Wildcats, that would be the +500 favorite.
BetOnline has Kentucky as the favorite to win against the 2020 college hoops championship at +500 followed by Duke at +600, Virginia in +650, Michigan State at +800, and Michigan and North Carolina at +1200 to round out the top teams around the oddsboard.
Tread Lightly with Kentucky
Kentucky had a powerful 2018-19 campaign, putting together a 30-7 record en route to an Elite Eight berth before falling to Auburn in overtime. Undoubtedly head coach John Calipari will possess the Wildcats playing at a high level, but he will have to enter the season with rather a different appearance. Four of Kentucky’s starting five are very 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 likely be going pro.
All isn’t lost, though, as the Wildcats have done a great job recruiting 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 charge and will work well with the incoming freshmen. With their brand new appearance, I would be hesitant to put a wager on this bar in +500 at this stage.
Kansas Could be Well-Balanced and Experienced
Kansas had a very intriguing 2018-19, showing flashes of brilliance along with being rated in the top five in the AP survey for eight months, including 2 weeks at 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 team as it came to house and away splits, heading a perfect 16-0 in Allen Fieldhouse but only 3-8 in true road games — quite confusing results.
The Jayhawks had to battle through accidents, losing protect Lagerald Vick for its season in early February. He is a senior and won’t be back . Additionally, junior centre Udoka Azubuike played only nine matches in 2018-19. But Kansas, despite those huge holes in the frontcourt and backcourt, still needed a Round of 32 appearance. The Jayhawks must be feisty this upcoming season as I don’t anticipate Azubuike to be drafted and Vick are their only loss, so odds of +2000 provide decent price.
Auburn Providing Best Value
Head coach Bruce Pearl must be proud of the effort his team put in this past season, heading 30-10, for example winning the SEC tournament and falling just to eventual national champion Virginia 63-62 at the Final Four. The team had four seniors, such as shield Bryce Brown, who headed the team with 15.9 points per match.
On the other hand, the core of the team should return for the 2019-20 year, 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 group leader with 6.8 rebounds per game. In addition, Pearl has recruited five players that have signed letters of intent, including small forward Isaac Okoro,who is the 37th-ranked recruit. I think this group will cause waves again and +3300 could be a steal as we close March next year.
Here’s a look at the full list of chances for the 2020 college 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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