College basketball odds: 8 futures bets for next year’s title

By Jason McIntyre
FOX Sports Betting Analyst

What a season! Congrats to Kansas for cutting down the nets. The 2022 NCAA Tournament is over, so you know what that means…it’s time to turn our attention to next season’s odds. Hey, money never sleeps.

We did this exercise last April, and two of the eight teams missed the NCAA Tournament entirely (Maryland and st. Bonaventure). And then Iowa and Kentucky — two teams that were popular picks to make the Final Four — lost in the first round. Purdue and UCLA made the Sweet 16, Arkansas made the Elite Eight, and Duke the Final Four.

Let’s try to nail next year’s winner, so here are my eight favorite futures bets to make now — with odds courtesy of FOX Bet.

Gonzaga Bulldogs: +1300 at FOX Bet (bet $10 to win $140)

After another disappointing March, everyone is sick of the Gonzaga hype. You know how markets work — buy low, sell high.

Even with Chet Holmgren going to the NBA, the Zags will still be loaded. Junior Anton Watson should join Drew Time upfront, and shooter Julian Strawther will likely join the starting lineup with guards Hunter Sallis (an NBA prospect) and Nolan Hickman. Toss in guard Dominick Harris coming off an injury, and the Zags will be one of the four favorites to win before the 2023 tournament begins.

Questions about the strength of their conference will continue to loom. And yes, all of this is contingent upon Timme returning to school and making NIL money instead of giving the NBA a shot.

Kansas Jayhawks: +1000 at FOX Bet (bet $10 to win $110)

Can you ever count out the Jayhawks? Bill Self’s Jayhawks will be back in the mix in 2023, possibly mixing three returning starters with a Top 5 recruiting class.

The swing player will be junior Christian Brown. He’s a fringe 1st round pick, but he could become an All-American if he returns. Jalen Wilson is an underrated forward, and he’ll be helped inside by 6-foot-10, 5-star recruit Ernest Udeh. Local Kansas product Gradey Dick is a high-flying wing who will likely take Ochai Agbaji’s spot.

The question will be guard play, but the Jayhawks should once again be the class of the Big 12.

Creighton Blue Jays: +9000 at FOX Bet (bet $10 to win $910)

The Blue Jays struggled offensively for much of the last season but reached the Big East championship (loss) and pushed Kansas hard in the NCAA tournament despite being down two starters.

Why the optimism? The combination of sophomores Ryan Nembhard and Arthur Kaluma (24 points against Kansas), plus 7-footer Ryan Kalkbrenner might mean the Blue Jays are favorites in the Big East. Trey Alexander had a terrific freshman season (7.4 points per game, 2.5 assists per game).

This team has the feel of a 4- or 5-seed squad that goes into March Madness with the expectations of playing into the second weekend.

Arkansas Razorbacks: +1800 at FOX Bet (bet $10 to win $190)

Eric Musselman continues to work magic on the recruiting front, adding two 5-star recruits that will join a core of Davonte Davis and Jaylin Williams. If Williams bolts for the NBA, the team’s best player will probably be freshman point guard Nick Smith, the highest-rated recruit the program has ever had.

The Razorbacks (28-9) have made the Elite Eight two consecutive years, and 2023 could be the breakthrough year. Arkansas has the second-best recruiting class in the country per Rivals, and they will be the team to beat in the SEC come February.

UCLA Bruins: +1600 at FOX Bet (bet $10 to win $170)

A year after losing in the Final Four, the Bruins didn’t quite reach expectations in 2022, losing a late lead against North Carolina in the Sweet 16.

But, if Mick Cronin gets back Johnny Juzang and Jaime Jaquez, pencil the Bruins in for another March run. Freshman Peyton Watson will slide into the starting lineup, and Jaylen Clark will get more playing time.

One of the best incoming recruits in the country is guard/wing Amari Bailey, a player who is one of the favorites to win Pac-12 freshman of the year.

Alabama Crimson Tide: +2800 at FOX Bet (bet $10 to win $290)

The Tide have two players who will probably test the NBA waters — JD Davison and Jaden Shackelford. And then point guard Jahvon Quinerly has announced his college career is over. Still, Alabama has the makings of a Final Four team.

The Tide have one of the country’s top recruiting classes, with a 5-star recruit in Brandon Miller and three 4-star players. That quartet, the promising combo of rising juniors Darius Miles and Juwan Gary7-footer Charles Bediako and coach Nate Oats make for one of the best teams in the SEC.

Duke Blue Devils: +800 at FOX Bet (bet $10 to win $90)

Coach K is gone, but the talent continues to flow into Durham. They might lose six players from the Final Four team, but the best recruiting class in the country will keep the Blue Devils near the top of the rankings.

They have four incoming 5-star recruits, led by MVP of the McDonald’s All-American game, Dariq Whitehead. He’s joined by center Dereck Lively, 6-foot-10 Kyle Filipowski and forward Mark Mitchell.

The guard position could be an issue, but rising sophomore Jaylen Blakes returns. New coach Jon Scheyer has never been the top dog either, so there will be hurdles.

USC Trojans: +6000 at FOX Bet (bet $10 to win $610)

Coach Andy Enfield had to be disappointed with the loss to Miami in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. It stings even more because he’ll lose two of his best players in Isaiah Mobley and Max Agbonkpolo.

Now, the good news: USC’s defense will be incredible once again inside with 5-star, 7-footer Vincent Iwuckukwu and McDonald’s All-American Kijani Wright. Seniors Boogie Ellis and Drew Peterson are expected to return. The question will be whether Reese Dixon-Waters can build off an impressive end to his freshman year (16 points in the Miami loss) and provide a perimeter punch.

Jason McIntyre is a FOX Sports betting analyst, and he also writes about the NFL and NBA Draft. He joined FS1 in 2016 and has appeared on every show on the network. In 2017, McIntyre began producing gambling content on the NFL, college football and NBA for FOX Sports. He had a gambling podcast for FOX, “Coming Up Winners,” in 2018 and 2019. Before arriving at FOX, he created the website The Big Lead, which he sold in 2010.

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