Vegas Odds to Win It All: Preseason Check-In

Posted by rtmsf on October 20th, 2010

We’re now formally into the dog days of practice around the country, which means that we’re under three weeks away from the first games of the season in the 2kSports Coaches vs. Cancer Classic (beginning Nov. 8 at Pitt, Texas, Maryland and Illinois).  Our excitement is tempered somewhat by the fact that it’s still almost 80 degrees outside and it certainly doesn’t feel like the start of the season should be so close.  Yet it is.  Speaking of places that are hot, one entity that never sleeps on college basketball especially when there’s money to be made, is Las Vegas.  The sports books offer futures lines pretty much year-round, and although there’s only limited conclusions that should be drawn when analyzing these odds, keep in mind that the desert oasis didn’t arise from sand because they were in the business of losing money.  More often than not, they have a keen general awareness of the teams to hold and the teams to fold heading into the season.

Below are the current odds listed on The Greek as of Tuesday, October 19.  Some brief analysis follows the list.


  • Nobody should be surprised that Duke tops the list, but a defending national champion with as much talent as the Blue Devils has returning is usually higher than a 16.7% chance.  By way of comparison, UNC in preseason 2008-09 was given a 25% chance to win it all, and they had been thoroughly undressed in the previous year’s Final Four by Kansas.
  • Interesting that Kentucky, a team getting rated in the mid-teens by the pundits, still comes in with the second-best odds to win it all at 11.1%.  This is undoubtedly a function of the popularity of the program as well as how much Vegas values pure talent.  The top two recruiting classes of 2010 belong to UK and Memphis, and both teams are in the top five of this list despite being rated quite a bit lower in the other polls.
  • UNC at 5.3%, tied for seventh on the list, is a stretch based on the actual players they have returning versus the name and color of the jerseys.  The mediocre guard play hasn’t been fixed, and unless Harrison Barnes plans on effectively playing point forward as a freshman, we cannot imagine this team actually contending for a national title this season.
  • A few teams popping up in everyone’s top ten who aren’t getting much love from Vegas are Kansas (4.8%), Pittsburgh (4.8%) and Ohio State (3.2%).  Tell ya what, we’ll buy all three of these teams at virtually the same value as what you can have with Kentucky, ok?
  • Value plays — you have to be careful with futures to win the national championship, because there are realistically only about a dozen teams that can win the title in a given season, but Mississippi State (2.0%), Washington (1.6%), Virginia Tech (1.0%) and Georgia (0.7%) are going to have very good seasons.
  • Lollers at the following: we’d not give our last penny to any of these teams.  Michigan (1.6%), Miami (FL) (1.2%), California (1.0%), Indiana (1.0%), Oregon (0.8%) or Wake Forest (0.8%).  In fact, if anyone is stupid enough to make those bets, please just send us the money you would have otherwise spent via PayPal.  We’ll put it in a nice money market account and pay you back the principal in April, ok?
  • If you’re so inclined to take the field (4.8%), your best bets are A-10 powers Temple and Richmond in addition to Wichita State and San Diego State.  We have trouble seeing a national champion coming from that group, but we just wanted to make you aware of what the field entails.

rtmsf (3998 Posts)

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4 responses to “Vegas Odds to Win It All: Preseason Check-In”

  1. G. Floyd says:

    I believe I could risk 10 bucks on NCSU’s Tracy Smith & Frosh Trio, to win $1,500.

  2. rtmsf says:

    GFloyd – feel free to send to RTC headquarters. If sports gaming were legal, we’d be happy to oblige that $10, haha.

  3. Andrew says:

    Gimme Syracuse, Ohio State and Wisconsin…

  4. WakeFan says:

    Wake’s going to win it all. I am going to be rich.

    Just kidding.

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