Submitted by Richie Baccellieri on Wednesday, January 20, 2016 at 12:00 PM
As I discussed last week in our first look at college basketball Futures prices, the race for the National Championship is wide open this year. That’s not because there are so many great teams. It’s because there may not be ANY great teams! There are definitely a lot of “pretty good” teams out there right now. But, recent scoreboard results are showing that it’s very difficult to trust anyone to win on command.
Let’s run through the top few teams on the Futures ladder, and check out their recent results…
NORTH CAROLINA +800 (a $100 bet would win you $800)
They’ve avoided the upset bug lately (though an earlier loss at Texas was a low point). That may be because they haven’t played many games. Heading into tonight’s home encounter with outmatched Wake Forest, North Carolina has only played two games since January 4! The Tar Heels are 2-3 ATS their last five games, and 4-6 ATS their last 10 games. So, even though they’re winning…they may not be a team to invest in at this point.
Kansas just got crushed by Oklahoma State in a game you may have watched on TV. We’re definitely seeing a situation this year where “tradition” is playing a big role in Futures prices. It’s assumed that the traditional powers will have things figured out by March…and they’ve already been priced accordingly. Right now, there’s no way you can make the case that Kansas is the second best team in the country. They also recently lost at West Virginia. They only beat lowly TCU by 7 when laying 22 points this past Saturday. They’re 2-2-1 straight up in regulation their last five because they had to go OT to win at home over Oklahoma.
It was easy to fall in love with the Sooners until they barely survived West Virginia at home before losing at Iowa State this past Monday night. Since that great game at Kansas, the Sooners are 0-4 ATS. We’re looking at the very real possibility that Iowa State and West Virginia right now are BOTH better than Kansas and Oklahoma in the Big 12…even though the polls and Futures prices have been so respectful of KU and OU all season.
MICHIGAN STATE +900
Yes, Michigan State is 2-4 straight up in the Big 10…but is still high up on the Futures board because of their past tournament history. Sparty just lost to Wisconsin and Iowa the last two times out, and has firmly established that they’re not as good as Iowa with two recent head-to-head losses.
You’re surely aware that Duke has just lost three games in a row, failing to bring bounce back efforts vs. Notre Dame and Syracuse after losing at Clemson. Now…this team has a chance to make a run late in the season if they can get the starting unit healthy. But, we’re still looking at a team that can lose early in the Dance no matter who they’re facing. This isn’t one of Coach K’s best teams, particularly on the bench.
A few things are clear from that list…
*The Futures prices are very likely out of touch with “current” basketball…it’s just too difficult for the market to get a meaningful read on current basketball in a way that would vault other teams up into more serious consideration. Squares who bet Futures tend to go with the old names anyway. Sharps aren’t exactly on fire this year with their own reads. The “eye test” in particular for teams like Kansas, Michigan State, and Duke is very ugly right now.
*There’s not much reason for me to continue monitoring the Futures market for you on Wednesdays! I’ll try to come up with a different angle we can pursue that will be more helpful and informative. How are we going to find the real powers? What’s been wrong with the classic computer ratings this year? Why are so many of the traditional superpowers neither super nor powerful?
*The market is ripe for the taking if YOU can get in synch with a team or a conference. Recognizing that the traditional powers have been overrated has been the easy part so far. Who’s going to step up and take their place? Or, are we just looking at leagues where 11-5 will win instead of 14-2…and those traditional powers are going to end up on top anyway with worse records than usual?
Should be a lot of fun to follow!
I’ll be doing my level best to find you great plays every night. You can purchase my top basketball selections right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions, call the VSM office at 1-888-777-4155 during normal business hours.
I’ll be back with you tomorrow to talk about the NBA in advance of the standard Thursday night TNT doubleheader. Friday will bring our regular “sharps” report for the NFL, as we look at what the Wise Guys have been betting so far in the AFC Championship game matching New England and Denver, and the NFC Championship game matching Arizona and Carolina. We’ll also consider what game-day betting activity will probably look like. Thanks for reading!
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