OK folks, with conference tournaments starting Tuesday, it’s a good time to check in on national championship futures odds in NCAA basketball betting. Covers finds out which teams are trouble and which are terrific for bookmakers, with college basketball insights from Alan Berg, senior oddsmaker at Caesars sportsbooks, and Matt Chaprales, head of content at PointsBet USA.
BAD FOR THE BOOKS
First off, let’s clarify by noting that the baseline for this article is teams that are solid NCAA Tournament units. Sure, there’s a good chance that Vermont – out of the America East Conference – will be dancing in a couple weeks’ time. And there might be significant NCAA title liability on the Catamounts; at 350/1, a book’s burden can build off just a few bets.
But there’s a reason Vermont is 350/1. So, with that clarification made, Berg and Chaprales each pointed to three teams that present issues for their respective books, with Florida State topping the list at Caesars’ operations – in Vegas and across the country – and at PointsBet in New Jersey.
Although the Seminoles fell short Saturday at Clemson, they’re a rock-solid 24-5 SU and beat Louisville by 15 last week. The ‘Noles opened 50/1 at Caesars, stretched as far as 100/1, but are now 18/1. PointsBet opened Florida State at 50/1 and is currently at 16/1.
“We took $5,000 on Florida State at 25/1, so that bet alone represents a six-figure liability,” Chaprales said. “Dayton is obviously the biggest mover from the preseason, while Kentucky has generated some recent interest, which is a combination of an increasingly attractive price point and the Wildcats’ perennial public status.”
Dayton is arguably the biggest surprise of the season. The Flyers, ranked third and on an 18-game win streak, opened as a 250/1 long shot at PointsBet, dropped to 50/1 by December 1, 20/1 by Feb. 1 and are now 12/1. Kentucky’s tightest point was actually its opener, +850, and the Wildcats reached 22/1 on Feb. 1 before rebounding to 15/1.
Back at Caesars, San Diego State opened 100/1, its longest odds, and is now 15/1. Michigan also creates significant liability, opening 20/1, sliding to 100/1, but now sitting at 30/1.
Interestingly, Dayton (27-2 SU) is not an issue for Caesars, despite an opening price of 200/1 and current odds of 12/1.
“Dayton is a small winner for us,” Berg told Covers on Friday.
|TEAM||OPENING ODDS||LONGEST ODDS||CURRENT ODDS|
|San Diego State||100/1||100/1||15/1|
BOON FOR THE BOOKS
Joining Dayton in the “Interestingly Enough” category at Caesars books is Baylor, ranked No. 1 for a few weeks before a Feb. 22 home loss to Kansas. Despite opening at 500/1 and now sitting 9/1, the Bears having their one shining moment would be the best outcome for Berg and the rest of Caesars’ risk team.
Likewise at PointsBet, although Baylor represents the third-best outcome, after opening at 30/1 – note: Caesars had Baylor posted in the futures book much earlier than PointsBet – expanding to 40/1 by Dec. 1 and currently sitting at +950.
Duke is the best outcome for PointsBet and the second-best for Caesars, although of course the Blue Devils’ odds have been reasonably short all along. PointsBet opened Duke 9/1, never got longer than 11/1 and is at 10/1 now, while Caesars opened 10/1, reached 16/1 and currently sits 13/1.
Gonzaga is PointsBet’s second-best outcome, going from a 20/1 opener to 8/1 Feb. 1. The Bulldogs are currently +850.
“No real surprise here,” Chaprales said. “After Kansas, these teams (Duke/Gonzaga/Baylor) have the shortest odds, so not a ton of appeal to public bettors.”
Louisville is a very good result at Caesars, too, opening 15/1, stretching to 30/1, then back to 18/1.
|TEAMS||OPENING ODDS||LONGEST ODDS||CURRENT ODDS|