It’s only November, the college basketball season has just started, but it’s never too early for March Madness craze. It conquers us all at one point or another, and now we approach a new campaign to crown a new champion. As far as the 2019-20 season is concerned, the Michigan State Spartans enter as the preseason No. 1 in the polls, and sportsbooks across the United States agree with the voters about Tom Izzo’s boys cutting down the nets at the end of this season.
According to online sportsbook BetOnline, Michigan State takes the top spot on the oddsboard at +650, and if they accomplish this feat, it will be their third national championship in program history.
After the Spartans, the Kentucky Wildcats then make an appearance to take the No. 2 spot at +750 odds, with the Duke Blue Devils, Kansas Jayhawks and Memphis Tigers all in a three-way tie for third place at +1000 odds — that also rounds out the top five for us. The Virginia Cavaliers, North Carolina Tar Heels and Louisville Cardinals kick off the rest of the top 10 for us with another three-way draw for sixth at +1400 odds. In the ninth position, the Florida Gators take that tally at +1600 odds, and the Villanova Wildcats end off the top 10 list at +2000.
Let’s go over some of the favorites to win the 2019-20 NCAA College Basketball national championship, review their chances, and then afterwards, I’ll be giving you my betting prediction (and long shot pick) for who I have as the last team standing in March Madness. Who do you think will win the national title? After you read and get your advice from me, you can then place your bets over at one of the top March Madness betting sites for who you have as your NCAA College Basketball national champion.
Essentially, there are three reasons why the Michigan State Spartans have the respect of the sportsbooks and are placed as the favorite to win this season’s national championship: 1. Last season, the Spartans would make a run all the way to the Final Four, and they are returning three starting players from that team. That in itself is scary. 2. One of those starters is Cassius Winston, an All-American point guard. And 3. They have Tom Izzo, a legendary head coach and is easily ranked in at least the top five when it comes to the best active coaches.
When it comes to the Big Ten, the Spartans will easily be the force of the conference, and this is especially true when you consider that power programs such as Michigan, Wisconsin, Purdue and Indiana will take a bit of a decline this season. When you look at the preseason rankings, you’ll see that there’s only one other team besides Michigan State that’s placed in the top 25, and that’s Purdue in the 23rd position. With all of these programs as well, none of them would manage to pull in a five-star recruit, and that’s going to be felt this season with the number of seniors that was lost by each program, which also means less-experienced players from those schools.
Though, you could make the same argument when it comes to Michigan State. Before this past offseason, the Spartans would bring in a five-star recruit for four consecutive years, but they would fail to do so this time around. On top of that, they would also take losses in the form of seniors Matt McQuaid and Nick Ward, who were vital to MSU’s Final Four run last season.
The Michigan State Spartans are looking for their first national championship since 2001. I understand that Michigan State makes deep runs in the NCAA Tournament, but they do find it hard to get over the hump to win the title. Me personally, I have no faith in Izzo and Co. to claim the national championship this season, and at +650 odds, that’s way overvalued with minimal profitability. I understand what the voters and oddsmakers are saying, but I’m keeping my money away — I suggest you do the same.
When you talk about the recruiting trail, the four schools who get the most prestigious pieces every offseason are the Duke Blue Devils, North Carolina Tar Heels, Kansas Jayhawks and Kentucky Wildcats. What makes these schools so special is their NBA connections to make them a “pipeline” to the league, which brings professional caliber players to these schools year in and year out. And what this also has done, and for multiple seasons now, has created a “one-and-done” culture where players go to these schools for one year and then dip to the NBA — this due to the league’s rule of having to play at least one year of college basketball before they can be eligible for the draft. Duke, North Carolina, Kansas and Kentucky in particular have all been successful in embracing this and why they have NBA-type players on a consistent basis.
With that being said, however, this year’s recruiting classes for each blue blood school isn’t exactly as strong as offseasons in the past. When you look at all of the recruits, a lot of the big players who have the potential to win national championships wouldn’t go to the blue blood programs like in history, instead opting for less prestigious ones in terms of college basketball. Just look at some of the top recruits from the most recent class:
As you see, seven out of the top 10 players would go to programs outside of the blue bloods.
Just last year, however, a blue blood in Duke University was able to land the top three recruits from the 2018 class: Zion Williamson, RJ Barrett and Cam Reddish. However, here in 2019, they were forced to settle for Matthew Hurt and Vernon Carey. Their talent won’t be elite this season, but it’ll certainly have them among the top teams in the ACC and possibly a decent run in the NCAA Tournament. As far as winning the national championship is concerned though, I’m not sure if I have faith in this year’s Blue Devils and their +1000 tag.
North Carolina, on the other hand, would land a top-notch point guard in Cole Anthony, and Anthony will be able to accomplish two things: 1. Be a top five pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. And 2. Be able to replace their lost point guard Coby White. For the most part, the Tar Heels are looking like a great team and should certainly be among the elites, especially considering they would lose only White and Cam Johnson in the offseason. Recruiting went well for UNC, not only grabbing Anthony, but also getting another five-star recruit with Armando Bacot. I’m expecting a great season from North Carolina, and if I were you, I would take advantage of their +1400 odds. There’s a lot of value there, especially for a team with this caliber, and I do expect that number to lower as the season progresses. Take advantage while you can.
Last season, the Big 12 conference would crown a new champion for the first time since the 2003-04 season. Every year before then, it’s always been the Kansas Jayhawks winning the championship, and it’s looking like they can grab back the conference with how their current team is set up. They’re bringing back the majority of their roster from last season, and the recruiting trail would go well for the Jayhawks landing a solid number of recruits at a four-star level. All of that sounds great and everything, but Kansas faces a major problem, one so big that it could get them banned temporarily from the NCAA Tournament, and that’s from both recruiting and academic violations. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of punishment exactly the NCAA will lay down on the Kansas program.
With all of this uncertainty surrounding the Jayhawks right now and considering that they were a flat-out dismal team on the road last season, I have no faith in this team in a national championship bet.
Just check out this horrific statistic: In the Jayhawks last 10 away games going into the big dance last season, they would suffer seven defeats. They have superior talent, but there’s too much negativity to put any kind of serious money into Kansas and their +1000 figure.
When you’re looking at betting options for value and profitability, you certainly have to take a look at the Memphis Tigers and Oregon Ducks. The Tigers are placed at +1000 odds, while the Ducks are sitting at +3500.
Ever since Penny Hardaway arrived at Memphis to take the head coaching job, the program has been on a constant up, due to both his coaching and how successful he is on the recruiting trail. Over the offseason, he would land not one five-star recruit, but two of them in Precious Achiuwa and James Wiseman. And that’s not all. Surrounding their two top athletes is a numerous amount of four-star recruits that they have to fill out the rest of the roster. Needless to say, the Tigers are pretty loaded. As a matter of fact, their recruiting class was so great that it put them in a position to rank as the No. 1 class in the nation. When you grab the elite talent, you put yourself in a great spot to make a far run in the NCAA Tournament, and that’s exactly what Memphis has done.
The other option is the Oregon Ducks, they also did fantastic on the recruiting trail, picking up two five-star recruits in N’Faly Dante and CJ Walker. With the talent that the Ducks have, they have the potential to steamroll their way all the way to the Pac-12 championship. Last season, Oregon would accomplish a Sweet 16 berth and would nearly take out the Virginia Cavaliers, the eventual national champions. When you look at how great their point guard situation is right now with Payton Pritchard at the helm, take a gander at their transfers that have came to the team and look at their top-notch recruiting class, the Ducks have the potential to make another solid run in the NCAA Tournament, possibly even getting as deep as the Elite Eight.
North Carolina had an interesting offseason. They would lose a solid amount of talent to the NBA and outgoing transfers, but they would also bring in some hefty student-athletes as well. The recruiting trail would go really well for UNC, pulling in both five-star point guard Cole Anthony and a five-star center in Armando Bacot. With their other recruits, they would nab Anthony Harris (four-star) and Jeremiah Francis (three-star), and would also get Justin Pierce and Christian Keeling with incoming transfers. As far as their returning players are concerned, they bring back Sterling Manley, Brandon Robinson, Leaky Black, and Garrison Brooks — all key players. They also return Brandon Huffman. In other words, the North Carolina Tar Heels are looking pretty loaded and poised for a run in the 2020 NCAA Tournament.
When you first glance at the odds, you notice that they’re all the way down the board in a tie for sixth place valued at +1400. What this means to me is absolute profitability, and like I’ve already mentioned, I only expect that tag to decrease as the season goes along.
The North Carolina Tar Heels will be a great basketball team here in 2019-20, and they’ll certainly be in a position to win the national championship in March.
With them being the blue blood program that they are, being a blue blood that still did great on the recruiting trail, this season’s team being loaded with talent and Roy Williams (three national championships) being an iconic head coach, you’ve certainly got to rock with the Tar Heels to win the big dance. Those +1400 odds are just too juicy to pass up. Give me North Carolina.
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