NCAAB Picks: Marquette Good Value On 2020 National Title Odds

Monday, April 15, 2019 2:45 PM UTC

Monday, Apr. 15, 2019 2:45 PM UTC

While we don’t recommend betting on 2020 NCAA basketball futures until after the deadline to declare for the draft, Duke currently sits atop the BetOnline board. Should the Blue Devils be there?

Howard’s Return Boosts Marquette’s Value On 2020 Title Odds

The NBA Draft deadline for early-entry candidates is April 21. We wouldn’t recommend putting any of your hard-earned money down on futures odds for the 2019-20 NCAA basketball season until after that date, so it’s clear who is returning to school or not. In fact, we’d wait until May 29 as that’s the NCAA deadline for guys to pull out of the draft (which is June 20). Due to an NCAA rule change instituted this year, players are allowed to hire an agent without forfeiting their college eligibility. Players can also elect to return to school if they go undrafted.

That said, we know that Duke is going to lose arguably its three best players, all freshmen last season, in Zion Williamson, RJ Barrett and Cam Reddish. All three have declared and they aren’t returning to Durham because each will be a Top 10 pick this summer. Williamson, who won nearly every National Player of the Year Award, is going first overall no matter who wins the draft lottery. The Knicks, Cavaliers and Suns each have a 14.0 percent chance to win it.

Even if Zion’s a bust, he will sell tickets right away. Doubt the athletic marvel will be a bust after averaging 22.6 points, 8.9 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 2.1 steals and 1.8 blocks while 68.0 percent from the field for Duke. Barrett, who probably goes second or third in the draft, scored more points (860) last season than any freshman in ACC history and was the only player from a Power 5 conference to score at least 13 points in every contest he played. Reddish underachieved a bit but should still go in the Top 10.

So after losing all that, why does BetOnline still have Duke as the +700 favorites to cut down the nets early next April in Atlanta? Because Coach Mike Krzyzewski has another stellar recruiting class on the way led by Vernon Carey. Coach K also returns point guard Tre Jones and big man Marques Bolden.

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Unfinished Business🤫
Looking forward to next season with this team〽️🔷 #mubb pic.twitter.com/mdSqE5qCwL

— Markus Howard (@markushoward11) April 12, 2019
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One school that is potentially terrific value at +2200 for next season is Marquette of the Big East. That’s because superstar and Big East Player of the Year Markus Howard decided to return to school, and he’ll be a National Player of the Year favorite. Howard averaged 25.0 points (most of any returning player next season in the country), 3.9 rebounds, 3.9 assists and shot 40.3 percent from deep last season. He has an outside shot at reaching 3,000 career points, which only 10 Division I players have ever done. The 5-foot-11 Howard is 30 points shy of Jerel McNeal's MU scoring record of 1,985 points.

Coach Steve Wojciechowski’s club is now expected to return its top seven scorers. The Golden Eagles looked great for much of 2018-19 but stumbled late, losing six of their final seven – including a blowout to Murray State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Howard wasn’t fully healthy at that point, dealing groin and wrist injuries.

Kentucky remains the +750 second-favorite at BetOnline for next season. The Wildcats have lost three key players to the draft in PJ Washington, Tyler Herro and Keldon Johnson, but Ashton Hagans says he’s coming back to Lexington. Hagans averaged 7.7 points and 4.3 assists. He started 30 games and was named SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Year.

Fellow SEC school LSU is way down at +6600. Coach Will Wade was just reinstated off his suspension for alleged recruiting violations, but the cupboard is pretty bare with Skylar Mays, Naz Reid, Javonte Smart, Tremont Waters and Emmitt Williams all declaring for the draft.

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