Strategy for betting on college basketball futures


College basketball bettors should make their futures plays with the season schedule in mind, just as it is done with daily wagers. Sometimes the decision about making bets is better done with timing, not money, as the currency. 

Buy On The Dip 

The changing fortunes of UConn make the Huskies ripe for a dip play. Last week the Huskies were riding high by cracking the Top 25 and getting some national attention. That wave ebbed after top player James Bouknight needed elbow surgery and no date was offered for the return of top freshman Andre Jackson from his fractured wrist. 

Then came the 74-70 surprise loss to St. John’s Monday night when the Huskies really needed Bouknight to hold off a late Red Storm charge. Nevertheless, don’t let one game in January alter futures plays; in fact, use it to your advantage. 

The Huskies are +455 at DraftKings to win the Big East tournament, making it worthy enough of a play even for a team currently without two key players. 

Going with the Huskies is a concurrent move against Big East favorite Villanova (-265). The Wildcats are one of the top five teams in the nation, but they had been sidelined because of COVID-19 issues since late December before surviving an upset bid by Seton Hall earlier this week. So far this year, teams with long layoffs have struggled. Even as good as the Wildcats are, they are entering a vulnerable period. 

Get ahead of a possible Villanova dip and consider UConn and Creighton (4/1), also on a dip after a loss last Saturday at Butler, for what could be their best remaining prices. 

The Big Dipper 

Nowhere is the dip more prominent than in the Big Ten. The best conference in the country, possibly on its way to a record 12 tournament bids among 14 programs, has had numerous teams make cases for being the best of the best. This week it’s Michigan, and the Wolverines have charged up to 3/1 at BetMGM to win the conference tournament and 9/1 for the national championship. 

Even after a weekend loss to Minnesota, the Wolverines seem like a team primed for a conference title and then a Final Four run. The Big Ten teams are going to beat the hell out of each other every week, and the team on top now isn’t necessarily the one to play. 

To win the Big Ten at BetMGM, Michigan is followed by the 7/2 troika of Iowa, Wisconsin and Illinois. They are strong teams with little variance in terms of talent and odds, so there’s nothing of value. Those prices make it hard to play multiple teams in the same tournament since it basically eliminates hedging possibilities. 

So there are two ways to approach Big Ten tournament future plays: 

  • Wait three or four weeks until conference seeding becomes clearer and then go to the window with money in hand. In late February, bettors can go against the public’s recency bias and find one of the elite-level teams lurking in the 3/1 range. That number plays much better when the tournament is just a couple of weeks away. 
  •  Or if you want a higher risk/reward, get a Michigan State ticket at +850. An early January loss to Purdue and multiple postponements have removed the Spartans from much of the conversation. Out of sight and out of mind can be profitable since this is the same team that many in the media declared as the preseason favorite. 

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