Sheridan: The Road to March Madness Begins Tuesday With Betting Favorites Colliding

Posted By Chris Sheridan on November 5, 2019 - Last Updated on November 6, 2019

NEW YORK — The road to March Madness and the Final Four begins Tuesday night with a huge doubleheader at Madison Square Garden. The top four teams in the AP preseason poll square off: No. 3 Kansas vs. No. 4 Duke in the opener, and No. 1 Michigan State vs. No. 2 Kentucky in the second game.

Given the state of basketball at The World’s Most Famous Arena, this might be as good as it gets for the entire 2019-20 NBA and NCAA seasons.

There are certain things you can count on year after year when talking NCAA men’s college hoops:

  • John Calipari has a top recruit or two.
  • Mike Krzyzewski has adequately replaced the players who went in the first round of the draft
  • Tom Izzo will again be looking for that elusive second title
  • Kansas will be loaded … more so this year than in years past after they poached wing Jalen Wilson from Michigan after John Beilein decided to leave for the NBA.

In the sports betting world, wagering opportunities on college basketball futures are fantastic because every respectable team has fairly long odds.

Duke and Kentucky are both +800 at DraftKings Sportsbook; Michigan State and North Carolina are both +900, and Kansas is +1100. Over at FanDuel Sportsbook, the oddsmakers have a thing for the Spartans listing them as +700 favorites to win the national championship.

That makes sense, because the leading candidate for player of the year, Cassius Winston (pictured), is returning after a season in which he made first-team All-American and led the Spartans to the Final Four while averaging 18.8 points and 7.5 assists and shooting nearly 40 percent on 3-pointers.

But let’s dig a little deeper

The sentimental favorite from this columnist is Marquette, because “Cracked Sidewalks” and Al McGuire and Dean Meminger and Bo Ellis and Butch Lee led to an early commitment at age 7. The Warriors (stubborn MU grads still call them that) are in the +60000 range, and the thousands of MU alums in Illinois, where sports gambling is legal, will put a few dollars on Steve Wojciechowski’s team led by senior guard Markus Howard, who went for 30-plus points 10 times last season, including a 53-point outburst vs. Creighton.

Other perennial contenders who have enticing odds include Gonzaga, North Carolina (which has two five-star incoming freshman and two impressive mid-major transfers), Villanova (where Jay Wright has the fifth-ranked recruiting class), and Utah State (widely considered the nation’s leading mid-major). For the brainiacs and MENSA members out there who insist an Ivy League team is due, Penn is +21000 at FanDuel — and gambling is legal in Pennsylvania.

And as is the case in any sport, optimism is always high when everyone is starting with a 0-0 record.

Heck, two of the top four teams in the country are going to be 0-1 on Wednesday morning. It’ll hurt at the moment, but it is a long time between now and March.

For those who wager, this is the time to decide if putting a bundle on a college team is worth the risk. First-team All-Americans are Winston of Michigan State, Jordan Nwora of Louisville; Kerry Blackshead Jr. of Florida; Myles Powell of Seton Hall and Isaiah Stweart of Washington, which also has super-hyped prospects James Wiseman and Cole Anthony.

The Huskies are +5000 at both DraftKings and FanDuel, and fans of NBA teams who are headed to the lottery (that would be you, Dubs Nation, as we’ve noted on this site already), will be paying extra attention to the team with three prospective one-and-done lottery picks.

You want a dark horse? That team would be Patrick Ewing’s Georgetown Hoyas, who have N.C. State transfer Omer Yurtseven, a  7-footer who will be taught by one of the best ever to play the position. The Hoyas are +18000 at FandDuel for those who still believe in the power of Ewing.

2019-20 college basketball betting favorites

Duke
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+600
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+850
Kentucky
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+600
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+800
North Carolina
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+900
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+1400
Michigan State
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+1000
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+750
Kansas
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+1200
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+1200
Louisville
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+1400
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+1400
Memphis
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+1600
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+1600
Gonzaga
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+1800
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+1700
Virginia
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+1800
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+1700
Florida
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+2000
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+1600
Maryland
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+2000
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+2600
Villanova
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+2000
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+2200
Oregon
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+2800
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+3500
Auburn
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+3300
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+5000
Texas Tech
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+3300
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+2600
Arizona
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+4000
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+3300
Baylor
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+4000
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+3900
Michigan
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+4000
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+4500
Ohio State
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+4000
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+3900
St. Mary's
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+4000
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+6000
Texas
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+4000
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+4500
Tennessee
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+4000
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+5000
Florida State
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+5000
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+1700
Providence
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+5000
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+9000
Washington
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+5000
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+5000

To view odds for every team, visit DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportbook.

 

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