When digging into preseason 2021-22 college basketball futures, the most fascinating aspects revolve around player development and continuity. The defending national champion Baylor Bears are a prime example of both. When their starting five was on the floor, it allowed a mere 0.77 points per possession, which was sprung by the continued maturation of Davion Mitchell and Jared Butler.
Led by Butler, Mitchell and MaCio Teague, their rotation generated the 31st-highest minutes continuity from the 2019-20 campaign too.
That isn’t to say there was “value” with Scott Drew’s team coming into last season (+800), but more that bettors must anticipate which ones will progress. Baylor even closed as a 4.5-point underdog in the title game because the market still wasn’t buying into it challenging Gonzaga’s explosive offense.
Below are the three most valuable 2021-22 college basketball futures within each market tier. These March Madness odds are the current best available odds across most legal sportsbooks. They will update in real time as markets shift. Click on the odds to bet the best available futures in your state now.
Eli’s 2021-22 Preseason College Basketball Futures
Purdue Boilermakers () — 1.00 Unit
If you’ve been following me before I joined TheLines, you know how high I am on Matt Painter’s bunch. After last season wrapped up, I grabbed the Boilermakers at +2500, and they’re available at +2000 at some shops.
You already know Purdue fell to the North Texas in the Round of 64. But two-guard Jaden Ivey broke out down the stretch, averaging 18.2 points per game over the Boilermakers’ final six contests. The 6-foot-4 sophomore is real threat to win the Wooden Award (+2200) as a dynamic scorer, and he could wind up as the team’s alpha in the 2021-22 campaign.
Ivey also has the potential to transform into a dominant defender while the Boilermakers enter the season with the 18th-lowest projected Adjusted Defensive Efficiency (AdjD). Over the last 19 seasons, 18 of those champions boasted a top-20 finish in that metric.
- Adjusted Efficiency accounts for the ratings of the offense (or defense) on a points per possession basis via college basketball prognosticator Ken Pomeroy.
Moreover, Painter returns 91.3% of his minutes from the 2020-21 campaign, so Purdue’s cohesion certainly won’t be an issue. Among them, Trevion Williams and Zach Edey could form college basketball’s most premier scoring frontcourt if the 7-foot-4 Edey takes the leap many expect. Williams won’t generate the highest shot percentage in Division I, like he accrued last season, but he’s an underrated point forward and reportedly refined his jumper enough to allow the duo to play together for stretches.
With Williams and Edey leading the way, the Boilermakers generated a top-40 rebounding percentage at both ends. Each of their top incoming recruits are four-star bigs that can help control the glass. That allows them to play at a slower tempo, forcing opponents to operate more so in the halfcourt.
Their point guard duo of Eric Hunter and Isaiah Thompson aren’t go-to scorers, but they present a sound turnover rate while representing playmakers in their own right. The perimeter shooting is prevalent as well, thanks to senior wing Sasha Stefonovic (40.0%) and sophomores Mason Gillis and Brandon Newman.
Within my college basketball power rankings, Purdue is projected to finish ahead of Michigan and Illinois in the Big Ten. If Painter’s crew notches a No. 1 seed come the NCAA tournament, these odds won’t be available. They’re well-rounded enough to knock out No. 1-ranked Gonzaga and should be a part of your college basketball futures portfolio.
Connecticut Huskies () — 0.85 Units
“James Bouknight is gone, so why are you betting UConn?”
As prolific of a scorer as Bouknight was a season ago, the Huskies averaged 0.02 points per possession (PPP) more with him off the floor. Instead, they’re projected to miss Bouknight defensively, allowing 0.11 PPP without him.
But Dan Hurley’s squad restores 78.3% of its minutes, and KenPom slots it as the 22nd-ranked AdjD. The 6-foot-9 Akok Akok (pronounced uh-COOK) is UConn’s most athletic defender. He played in just seven games and wasn’t himself while recovering from an Achilles tear.
Akok’s ability to match up against any position unlocks this defense, and his early-season bench role speaks to the Huskies’ overall frontcourt depth. Big men Adama Sanogo and Isaiah Whaley helped produce the fourth-highest offensive rebounding rate, along with a top-10 block percentage and the 35th-lowest 2-point percentage (45.8%). They have the pieces to dictate the pace, which Hurley said could speed up similar to his Rhode Island tenure.
Plus, sophomore guard Andre Jackson will showcase his defensive potential after dealing with a fractured wrist and COVID-19 as a freshman. Hence, I’m not anticipating a major-drop off minus Bouknight.
The Huskies have the physicality to challenge Villanova’s offensive-oriented group in the Big East race — priced at +400 to win the regular season conference championship at DraftKings Sportsbook.
For their respective offense, Sanogo and point guard R.J. Cole will shoulder more of the scoring load in Bouknight’s absence. Sanogo reportedly notched 22 points (8-of-13 shooting) in UConn’s scrimmage win over Harvard, exhibiting his improved low-post skillset.
Cole was a pure scorer before transferring from Howard, averaging 35.2 points per 100 possessions in those two seasons. The 6-foot-1 senior dealt with a concussion amid preparation for UConn’s first-round NCAA tournament game against Maryland. Four-star guard Jordan Hawkins will be an integral role player too, regarded as one of the elite shooters in the 2021 recruiting class.
Don’t be shocked if Hurley’s program is positioned as a No. 4 seed or better come March 2022.
Colorado State Rams () — 0.15 Units
There are some +60000 odds available on the Rams, so I’d advise shopping for that number first.
Following an NIT appearance in the 2020-21 campaign, Niko Medved reinstates 93.7% of Colorado State’s minutes, paced by Swiss army knife David Roddy and point guard Isaiah Stevens. Medved’s rotation lacks size but makes up with its top-35 effective field goal percentage (eFG%).
We’ve seen mid-major, floor-spacing lineups give power-five programs issues in recent NCAA tournaments, like Oral Roberts (2021) and Loyola-Chicago (2018). If this college basketball futures odds survive deep into the dance, they’ll be profitable.
He also reeled in 6-foot-3 guard Chandler Jacobs, who originally committed to Texas Tech while representing the most coveted Division II transfer on the market. Jacobs gifts CSU with another playmaker and is an underrated rebounder for his position.
Defensively, the Rams don’t possess a formidable unit to the common eye. But Roddy’s presence is vital, as he can defend any opposing personnel with his guard-like quickness and brawny upper body. In fact, CSU delivered the second-ranked AdjD with Roddy, Stevens, Kendle Moore, Adam Thistlewood and John Tonje — among lineups with at least 70 possessions under their belt.
Despite Colorado State having the third-best Mountain West regular season title odds, it’s higher in my ratings than both San Diego State and Nevada. The Rams even has a difficult enough non-conference slate where an at-large bid wouldn’t be ruled out, but Medved assuredly still remembers missing out the tournament in that capacity last season.
2021-22 College Basketball Futures: Best Available Odds
|Purdue Boilermakers (1.00 unit)||+2800|
|UConn Huskies (0.85 units)||+7500|
|Colorado State Rams (0.15 units)||+60000|