College Basketball Odds: Why Auburn Is Eli’s Latest National Championship Futures Bet

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Written By Eli Hershkovich | Last Updated
College Basketball Odds

Only two weeks into the 2023-24 campaign, the notion of parody within college basketball futures is coming to fruition. For reference, the adjusted efficiency margin (AdjEM) with the top-10 programs on KenPom was the smallest opening range and lowest standard deviation since 2011-12. This metric translates to the excess between a team’s adjusted offensive (AdjO) and defensive efficiency (AdjD).

Therefore, it’s worth inspecting some longshots, like the Auburn Tigers — set at +8000 as of this publishing. Click any odds to place a bet at the best sports betting sites. The following odds are the best available in your state.

Appraising Auburn College basketball odds

On the surface, the Tigers’ price tag is identical to their initial March Madness odds. Since bettors have received time to watch the upside of their new-look backcourt (especially versus Baylor) without their odds shrinking, there’s certainly appeal.

That’s because Auburn’s long-range shooting, which ranks No. 309 in the country, was its most glaring deficiency last season. But there’s addition by subtraction in that department. Tigers coach Bruce Pearl replaced the inefficient Wendell Green and Zep Jasper with five-star point guard Aden Holloway and FIU transfer Denver Jones.

For one, Jones notched the second-highest scoring average (20.1 ppg) in Conference USA. In a small sample size, they’ve combined for 1.79 PPP in spot-up situations (via Synergy) this season.

Overall, Auburn boasts the top-45 clip from distance (38.9%). Just four contests into the season, the Tigers’ proficiency will undoubtedly shrink in the long run. Nevertheless, enhanced shooting gives them a significantly higher ceiling. They generate those clean looks with an upper-echelon pace and second-chance shots. In fact, the Tigers have manufactured the 53rd-highest offensive rebounding percentage, led by 6-foot-10, 240-pound Johni Broome, who transferred in from Morehead State ahead of last season.

Both variables are key contributors to a deep run in the Big Dance. The last three national champs have delivered a top-65 ranking in each category.

Depth Flexing Its Muscle

Conversely, Auburn’s perimeter defense will also face negative regression. It’s let up the 14th-lowest efficiency from deep, equivalent to a 22.8% clip. Then again, that’s a product of the Tigers’ pressure scheme. Remember that they’ve utilized some version of a press 15.8% of the time, a top-60 rate across Division I.

Their havoc-driven style will eventually accrue more turnovers, yet their defense is already one of college basketball’s better units at that end. For one, Pearl’s team presents its fair share of continuity. That correlates with the 10th-highest percentage of bench minutes across Division I. Not only will that come in handy in March, but it’s just as critical to operate this type of defense.

Granted, the SEC is arguably the second-best conference in the sport. A competitive collection of teams, beating up on one another, may not lend itself to a great seed come March. However, I have Auburn power-rated as a top-two SEC team in our college basketball power rankings. At a minimum, the deep-rooted upside of Holloway, among others, should give them a shot at snagging a five-seed in the NCAA tournament — even if they fall against underrated Appalachian State in non-conference play.

College Basketball Futures


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