We’re fast approaching the midway point of the college basketball season, and the future book odds are really starting to jump around. As part of my normal weekly routine, I got the updated odds from around Las Vegas yesterday.
For the purposes of this article, I’ll be concentrating on legendary oddsmaker Jay Kornegay’s future book odds from the Westgate Superbook here in Vegas; one of the few shops in town that offers competitive numbers with the offshore sportsbooks.
Some early season longshots have drawn significant market support. USC opened 1000:1, now they’re down to 300:1 following an impressive 14-3 start. That number is likely to drop even further if the Trojans knock off in-city rival UCLA tonight.
South Carolina has been one of the real surprises in the college hoops betting marketplace this season, as the Gamecocks have come ‘out of nowhere’ to open the season with 15 consecutive wins. But future book bettors have not been particularly enamored with the Gamecocks, in large part due to their weak opposing slate. The last remaining tournament eligible (SMU is banned from postseason play this year due to NCAA sanctions) unbeaten team opened at 200:1 NCAA Basketball odds to cut down the nets in Houston on April 4th, but they’ve only been bet down to 100:1.
Other longshots that have taken significant money at the Westgate include Pitt (from 300:1 down to 100:1), Valparaiso (300:1 down to 80:1), California (300:1 down to 100:1) and Xavier (200:1 down to 25:1). Remember, it doesn’t take many bets at 100:1 or higher before books start to face significant liabilities should that team cash. And the books certainly haven’t forgotten the beating they took when UConn won the title over Kentucky as a real longshot just two years ago. That’s why you often see these future book odds move significantly off relatively small wagers.
When it comes to the heavyweights of the college basketball world, we’ve seen the odds rise on a handful of the elite contenders. Kentucky isn’t taking $$ this year, sitting at 15:1 currently off a 10:1 opener. Bettors haven’t been backing Virginia, sitting at 20:1 now off a 10:1 opening number. Arizona hasn’t taken $$ either, up to 25:1 now from a 15:1 opener. Gonzaga is now 50:1, up from the 20:1 opener. Utah isn’t taking money, now 100:1 after opening at 30:1. And Arkansas somehow opened only 30:1, sitting at 1000:1 now – the Westgate certainly doesn’t have much liability surrounding a Razorbacks run in March.
But most of the top programs that are off to hot starts have seen their future book odds drop. Duke opened 25:1 but they’re down to 8:1 odds now. North Carolina is one of the co-favorites at 7:1, off a 10:1 opener. Kansas has been bet down from a 15:1 opener to their current 6:1 odds. Oklahoma has seen their odds drop significantly as well, from 30:1 down to 12:1. Michigan State has seen an even bigger move in their direction, from 40:1 down to 8:1. The Miami Hurricanes have seen their odds halved, from a 40:1 opener to the current 20:1 number and Purdue is now 20:1 off a 60:1 opener. Those seven teams have clearly been the hottest teams to support with NCAA Basketball picks in the future book over the first half of the campaign.
Remember, odds vary dramatically from one sportsbook to the next, as each book tries to limit their own liability. Line shoppers are rewarded on a daily basis in the college hoops marketplace, and the future book marketplace is no different in that regard.