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Why Bet on College Basketball Futures?
College basketball futures betting is a great way to stay engaged with long-term wagers throughout the NCAA basketball season. Unlike point spread and moneyline betting, futures bets can be placed at any time. It’s especially rewarding in college basketball compared to other sports because there’s so much information to track. That means more opportunity for value.
With so much roster turnover among the 300+ NCAA Div. 1 basketball teams, college basketball futures reward bettors who put in the time and research to make informed long-term bets on teams and players. And it’s a highly entertaining way to stay engaged with college basketball betting all season long.
What Impacts College Basketball Future Odds?
Oddsmakers consider an endless number of factors when setting college basketball future odds on things like team win totals, conference championships and the Wooden Award.
The first thing oddsmakers will look at when they set team win totals for the season is roster turnover. Teams look completely different from season to season with graduating seniors, early departures, transfers and the incoming freshman class.
It’s even more important in college basketball futures than college football betting, because the rosters are small to begin with. You’re looking at 12-15 players on a college basketball squad with 8-12 in the regular playing rotation. Football teams have more than 100 players with 40-50 who regularly see the field.
Let’s say college basketball futures oddsmakers are looking at a Texas Tech team coming off a Final Four run. Now let’s say the Red Raiders lost four starters, with three graduating seniors and a star sophomore who declared for the NBA Draft. The team won’t look anything like it did last year. Oddsmakers need to assess the Freshman class along with incoming talent and schedule in order to set an over/under on season wins, with very little influence from the prior season.
That’s the preseason challenge. But college basketball future odds change all the time during the season. Let’s say Seton Hall is coming off a bad season with an unheralded group of freshmen. Their odds to win the Big East next season wouldn’t be very good to start. Oddsmakers might set the line around +2000.
But maybe that freshman class gained a ton of good playing experience the year before, worked their tails off together all offseason and starts the new season playing like the Harlem Globetrotters. Oddsmakers will see they failed to account for that huge leap from the now-sophomores and adjust the future odds midseason.
If Seton Hall starts Big East play 6-1, those odds that were +2000 at the start of the season could go down to +150. That’s why timing is everything with college basketball futures. If Seton Hall does win the Big East, a $100 bet at the start of the season would cash $2,000. A $100 bet seven games into Big East play would only net $150.
These future odds are entirely fluid, so bettors need to identify teams that were undervalued or overvalued before the general public and media pundits catch on.
Future Bets for the Upcoming College Basketball Season
Bettors can play future odds pretty much anyway they want these days. If you like a team, you can bet on them to win their conference or to make the Final Four. If you don’t like a team, you can take the under on season win totals. And there are all sorts of player futures odds as well. Here are a few of the most popular ways to get action on college basketball futures.
Regular Season Conference Title
There’s always value somewhere on this college basketball futures bet. With more than 30 conferences and all the roster turnover, winners change from year-to-year all the time. The Duke Blue Devils, for example, are usually favored or near the top to win the ACC regular season. But the Blue Devils haven’t won a regular season title since 2010. Teams like Florida State, Miami and Virginia are often overlooked against Duke and the North Carolina Tar Heels, but all three have won regular season championships since Duke last pulled it off.
Conference Tournament Winner
These odds adjust throughout the season as well and can have more value than regular-season odds. That’s because there’s a bit of randomness to a one-and-done conference tournament as opposed to an 18 or 20-game regular season.
Michigan State might have a tough start to the Big Ten regular season, for example, but the Spartans often look like a different team in March under coach Tom Izzo. So if the Indiana Hoosiers look good all year and win the Big Ten regular season, they’ll likely be favored entering the Big Ten tournament. But Michigan State could be a far better value pick if they start to peak at the end of the season.
Advancing to the Sweet 16/Final Four in the NCAA Tournament
Again, these futures odds change throughout the season based on things like injuries, seeding projections and overall performance. The North Carolina Tar Heels might lose a few early conference games and fall out of the Top 25 in the Associated Press poll. But a team like North Carolina seems to get just a tad more respect than other programs from the NCAA Tournament selection committee.
The Tar Heels’ odds to make the Final Four might be seriously long in February. That means a lot of value if you think the Tar Heels can rally and win four straight games in the NCAA Tournament, at least two of which should be against inferior opponents.
Earn a No. 1 Seed in NCAA Tournament
These college basketball futures largely depend on what type of season it is. If there’s one team, like the Kansas Jayhawks, who are clearly better than everyone else, they should be an easy bet as a No. 1 seed relatively early in the year. But if there’s a ton of parity and upsets throughout the regular season, there should be value on a number of second-tier teams capable of making a deep March Madness run. Teams like the Dayton Flyers or San Diego State Aztecs can build great resumes in weaker conferences and come out of nowhere to grab No. 1 seeds in March.
Over/Under Season Win Totals
This is where all the college basketball futures preseason research pays off. It’s not all that unusual for teams like the Kentucky Wildcats to win the National Championship one season and miss out on the NCAA Tournament entirely the next. That’s what happens with so many impact freshmen, departing one-and-dones and transfers. Coaching changes are also a big factor.
It’s pretty simple. Oddsmakers will take all those things into account and set a futures line like Purdue Boilermakers O/U 22.5. If you think the Boilermakers will win 23 games or more that season, take the over. If you think they’ll win 22 or fewer, take the under. These bets are usually -110, so you’re risking $110 to win $100.
There’s plenty of value here for the hoops junkies and the entertainment factor is off the charts. Instead of placing a bet and waiting two hours for a result, you follow it all season. Try picking a few team over/under futures with your friends at the start of every season. Now you’ll essentially adopt those teams and have a rooting interest in every one of their games. Suddenly you know the roster inside and out and can check the college basketball betting odds before every game to see if you might want to get some single-game point spread action too.
Wooden and Naismith Awards
These are considered two of the top individual awards in college basketball, so of course you can get futures odds. This is another area where research pays off because no one really knows which star freshmen will have an immediate impact, or which seniors could have a breakout year. Sometimes it’s pretty clear-cut early on, like with past Wooden Award winners including Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin, Anthony Davis and Zion Williamson.
Other times things can get interesting, with a few players bunched at the top. Those are the years where there’s still value to be had in the final month of the season.
Betting Tips for College Basketball Futures
There’s no right or wrong way to bet college basketball futures, as long as you’re not falling behind on mortgage payments as a result. There are, however, some best practices that will give bettors the best chance at an enjoyable, profitable college basketball futures betting season.
Knee-Jerk Futures Odds
Look for big games, particularly big losses, that everyone considers a big deal. This could be a few early home losses for a team like the Kansas Jayhawks. It’s a long grind leading into March Madness and a bad loss or two is inevitable.
The key is to strike when public opinion is down. Let’s say Gonzaga beats Kansas by 20 in November at Allen Fieldhouse. The Jayhawks’ odds to win the Big 12 could drop, even though it wasn’t a conference game. If you think Kansas will bounce back strong the rest of the season, that’s the perfect time to hop on the Jayhawks to win the Big 12 or make the Final Four.
Hedge Your Bets
Some bettors will scoff at the mere mention of a hedge, but the truth is it’s stupid not to consider with college basketball futures bets that are down to the wire. Let’s say you placed a $100 futures bet on the Villanova Wildcats +800 to make the Final Four early in the season. Now let’s say they’re about to play the Louisville Cardinals in an Elite Eight matchup, and the teams are dead even.
You now have three choices, two of which involve a hedge. You could essentially cash your ticket for half price by placing a $400 moneyline bet on Louisville. If Villanova wins, you cash your $800 bet and keep roughly $400 after paying out the Louisville moneyline bet. If Louisville wins, you lose your $800 futures bet but profit roughly $400 overall from the Louisville moneyline.
You can also hedge to varying degrees. Maybe you still want to go big on Villanova but also ensure the original futures bet turns a profit. You could bet $200 on Louisville moneyline, so that your overall profit on the futures bet would still be $100 if Villanova loses.
When and how much to hedge is entirely up to the futures bettor. These scenarios will pop up from time to time and it’s all about your personal preferences and what you’re trying to accomplish while making futures bets.
Futures Betting Research
We can’t stress this enough – offseason research is the most important thing with college basketball futures betting. Some bettors might blindly throw $100 on their alma mater to make the Final Four every year, but that’s not a strategy. It’s a tradition.
With so few roster spots on a given team and so much uncertainty surrounding player performance and programs with first-year coaches, the only way to get ahead of the oddsmakers is to put in the time. Check out all the freshman class recruiting rankings. Try to identify teams that were average a year ago but should improve drastically thanks to returning starters. Keep an eye out for game-changing transfers, or teams that may have overperformed the prior season thanks to a few buzzer beaters.
With our up-to-date futures lines, odds calculator and trends, Bookies.com provides all the tools you need to make successful futures bets. With some additional research of your own, you’ll be in prime position to make the best possible college basketball futures wagers.