We have our fifth team this season earning the top spot in the men’s college basketball polls. However, oddsmakers are not in agreement on the new top team in the polls and the overall betting favorite in the NCAA Futures market.
Despite enjoying a 15-game winning streak, new No. 1 Auburn are only the fifth betting choice at odds of +1200 at SI Sportsbook. Mark Few’s Gonzaga squad, following impressive wins in the last several weeks, remains an overwhelming favorite (+650) atop the futures market. Duke (+1000) , Baylor (+1000) and Purdue (+1000) are the closest teams to the Bulldogs in the betting odds.
Let’s dive and take a look at the top contenders and their current odds in the NCAA championship futures market!
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1. Auburn (18-1 Straight-Up (SU), 15-4 Against The Spread (ATS))
Opening Odds: +4000 / Current Odds: +1200
After winning 18 of their first 19 games, Auburn has made school history earning the No. 1 overall ranking in national polls for the first time in school history. Since losing to No. 20 UConn in November, the Tigers have ripped off 15 consecutive wins, which includes victories over No. 19 LSU, Alabama as well as No. 12 Kentucky this past Saturday. Freshman forward Jabari Smith has been sensational for Bruce Pearl’s club leading the team in scoring at 15.7 points per game. Following a perfect 8-0 (ATS) mark since late December, oddsmakers at SI Sportsbook have sliced the Tigers opening odds of +4000 down to +1200.
2. Gonzaga (15-2 SU, 9-7-1 ATS)
Opening Odds: +500 / Current Odds: +650
Despite winning eight consecutive games, the Bulldogs fall from the top spot in the National polls. Gonzaga, who has scored 110-plus points in three of their last four games, have posted an impressive 5-1-1 ATS mark despite being favored by an average of 22.2-points per game over that span. Gonzaga’s drop to No. 2 in the polls does not align with the SI Sportsbook oddsmakers power rankings who continue to list the Bulldogs as the overall betting favorite at odds of +650. Forward Drew Timme, who leads the club in scoring (18.8 ppg), has been sensational, pouring in 23-plus points in each of the club’s last three games. Freshman center Chet Holmgren has been as good as advertised, scoring in double-digits in 13 of the last 15 games, while being a dominant force on the defensive end averaging 3.4 blocks per game.
3. Arizona (16-1 SU, 11-5-1 ATS)
Opening Odds: +4000 / Current Odds: +1500
Projected NBA lottery selection Bennedict Mathurin (17.5 ppg, 6.1 rbg) has been outstanding, leading Arizona to an impressive 16-1 start which has resulted in a strong 11-5-1 ATS mark. The Wildcats, who are a 4-point road loss at No. 18 Tennessee away from being undefeated, will face a tough upcoming stretch squaring off with Pac-12 rival No. 9 UCLA twice in the span of 10 days. Sophomore forward Azuolas Tubelis who is second on the club in scoring (15.1) and rebounding (6.1) suffered an ankle injury in the team’s win over Stanford and was forced to miss last weekend’s victory over California. His status for this week’s games, which includes the first showdown with the Bruins on Tuesday night, is unclear.
4. Baylor (17-2 SU, 11-7-1 ATS)
Opening Odds: +1600 / Current Odds: +1000
The defending national champion Bears had enjoyed a 15-game winning streak before suffering consecutive home losses to Texas Tech and Oklahoma State in two matchups oddsmakers had them favored to win by double-digits. Baylor bounced back off the two upsets with road wins over West Virginia and Oklahoma. The Bears continue to receive balanced scoring production with four players averaging double digits in scoring. LJ Cryer continues to have a solid sophomore campaign, leading the team in scoring (13.9 ppg) buoyed by stellar three point shooting (47.5%) which ranks seventh overall in the country. Freshman Kendall Brown has helped the Bears, who lost considerable talent and production to the NBA from last season’s championship squad, not miss a beat, shooting 64.8% from the field. The Bears have several difficult upcoming road matchups with Alabama, No. 5 Kansas and No. 13 Texas Tech over the next several weeks.
5. Kansas (17-2 SU, 8-10-1 ATS)
Opening Odds: +2500 / Current Odds: +1400
The Jayhawks have the dubious distinction of being the only team ranked inside the top five that owns a losing ATS record on the year. In fact, over the last six games Kansas is 5-1 SU but has posted a correlated 1-5 ATS mark over that span. That trend continued on Monday night when Kansas held on in double-overtime for a 94-91 win over No. 13 Texas Tech, failing to cover as 7.5-point home favorites. ‘Rock Chalk’ continues to receive outstanding production from senior guard Ochai Ogbaji (20.4 ppg) who ranks 12th in the nation in three-point shooting converting at a 45.8 % clip. Junior guard Christian Braun (15.3 ppg) is the only other Jayhawk who is averaging double-digits in scoring and that remains a concerning issue. Kansas needs more consistent scoring production if they have any hopes of beating out both Baylor and Texas Tech for the Big 12 Championship and then potentially a deep run into March.
6. Purdue (16-3 SU, 10-9 ATS)
Opening Odds: +2000 / Current Odds: +1000
The Boilermakers are 8-2 SU over their last 10 games, but they have not been profitable for bettors, posting a disappointing 4-6 ATS mark over that stretch. Purdue has posted solid wins over North Carolina, No. 14 Villanova and No. 24 Illinois but has suffered bad losses to Rutgers and Wisconsin in games oddsmakers had them as double-digit favorites. Trevion Williams (12.7ppg, 8.4 rpg) and Zach Edey (15.3 ppg, 7.7 rpg) continue to form a solid tandem on the frontline. However, Purdue’s championship aspirations will go as far as point guard Jaden Ivey (16.4 ppg) can take them. One interesting development is senior shooting guard Sasha Stefanovic leading the club in scoring in two of the team’s last three wins over Illinois and Northwestern with two 20-plus point games thanks to hitting 11 of 19 (61%) from beyond the arc.
7. UCLA (13-2 SU, 6-8-1 ATS)
Opening Odds: +1600 / Current Odds: +1800
The Bruins have encountered massive COVID-19 issues this season, which has resulted in playing only 15 games thus far. The long layoffs has resulted in UCLA being one of the worst teams for bettors to invest in, posting a 6-8-1 ATS mark. The Bruins will need star guard Johnny Juzang, who ranks second in the Pac 12 in scoring (18.36 ppg), to continue his recent torrid scoring streak of four consecutive 20-plus point games against conference rival Arizona. UCLA will face the Wildcats, who are second in the nation in scoring (88.7 ppg), twice over the next 10 days in two matchups which will likely decide the regular season conference champion. The Bruins welcomed back senior forward Cody Riley (knee) this month and his return to the lineup is needed for a UCLA club with hopes of making a second straight deep run into March. The Bruins odds have risen from +1600 to +1800 over the last month at SI Sportsbook. However, their attractive odds will certainly drop if they can sweep the upcoming series with Arizona.
8. Houston (17-2 SU, 12-7 ATS)
Opening Odds: +3000 / Current Odds: +3000
The Cougars have ripped off nine consecutive wins and lead the American Athletic Conference (AAC) with a perfect 6-0 conference record. Junior guard Marcus Sasser, who had made major strides in each of his three seasons under Kelvin Sampson, was lost for the season in late December with a toe injury after emerging as Houston’s leading scorer (17.7 ppg). Sasser’s injury, combined with the loss of fellow backcourt teammate Tramon Mark (shoulder) for the season, leaves the Cougars down two key players from Houston’s Final Four squad from last season. Senior Kyler Edwards has stepped up in their place leading the team in scoring with 23-plus points in Houston’s most recent victories over Tulsa, Central Florida and East Carolina. Fifth-year senior Josh Carlton has become a force on the block filling up the stat sheet over his last five games, averaging 17.8 points per game, 8.6 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per contest. Although they have 17 wins, oddsmakers at SI Sportsbook are not giving Houston’s resume much respect as they have just one victory over a top-25 team all season, which has resulted in no change from their healthy opening odds of +3000.
9. Duke (15-3 SU, 10-6-2 ATS)
Opening Odds: +1600 / Current Odds: +1000
The Blue Devils, who have been upset by unranked Miami and Florida State over the last several weeks, remain in the top 10 thanks to wins over No. 2 Gonzaga and No. 12 Kentucky. Duke’s power ranking in the national polls does not align with those held by oddsmakers at SI Sportsbook, as Duke is tied with two other teams in the futures market as the second betting choice behind Gonzaga. Freshman sensation Paolo Banchero is the latest superstar for the Blue Devils leading the club in scoring (17.9 ppg) and rebounding (7.9 rpg). Wendell Moore (15.2 ppg) and Trevor Keels (11.9 ppg) are also major contributors for a Duke squad in search of delivering retiring Hall of Fame Mike Krzyzewski his potential sixth National Championship. The Blue Devils are currently the only team in the ACC to be ranked in the Top 25.
10. Michigan State (15-3 SU, 10-7-1 ATS)
Opening Odds: +3000 / Current Odds: +4000
The Spartans have won nine of their last 10 games, but bettors need to proceed with caution in regards to backing the club on an individual game basis as they only sport a pedestrian 5-5 ATS mark over that span. Michigan State, who is 2-2 vs the AP top 25, suffered a bad loss last week, losing at home to unranked Northwestern as 9.5-point favorites. The Spartans hold a small lead in the Big Ten ahead of Wisconsin, Illinois, Ohio State and Purdue. Michigan State will try and carry over the momentum of upsetting No. 11 Wisconsin last week as 3-point road underdogs into Tuesday’s showdown at No. 24 Illinois. Playing in a conference with four other Top 25 teams, oddsmakers simply do not believe this team can emerge unscathed. Bettors can actually find higher odds (+4000) on the Spartans at SI Sportsbook this week as opposed to their opening odds (+3000) offered in the preseason.
Frankie Taddeo is a successful high-stakes fantasy football player who created the first-ever DFS program ever offered in a Las Vegas sportsbook. Frankie is SI Betting’s Senior Analyst and provides his significant experience and resources in the sports betting scene. You can follow Frankie on Twitter @Frankie_Fantasy for his latest betting and fantasy insights from Las Vegas.
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