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2021-22 NCAA Men's College Basketball Betting Futures Primer

Breaking down which teams' championship odds have moved as the NCAA men's basketball season nears.

The time for sports fans to split their time between the gridiron and the hardwood is quickly approaching with the start of the 2021 NCAA Men's college basketball season right around the corner.

Let's dive and take a look at the top contenders and their current odds in the NCAA Championship futures' market!

Check out the latest odds at SI Sportsbook

Kentucky's Keion Brooks, Gonzaga's Drew Timme and Purdue's Jadey Ivey


1. Gonzaga Bulldogs

Opening Odds: +500
Current Odds: +600
Key Departures: Jalen Suggs, Corey Kispert, Joel Ayayi
Key Returning Players: Drew Timme, Andrew Nembhard

The Bulldogs went 30-1 last year with their one notable defeat coming against Baylor on the biggest stage in the national title game.

Gonzaga will have arguably the best frontcourt in the nation with the return of Drew Timme (19.0 points per game (ppg), 7.0 rebounds per game (rpg)) and the addition of Chet Holmgren, who is considered the favorite to be the No. 1 pick in the 2022 Draft.

An early November home matchup with No. 5 Texas will commence a brutal non-conference schedule that also includes tilts with No. 2 UCLA and No. 9 Duke.

We have not witnessed much change in Gonzaga's odds as bettors and oddsmakers are reluctant to over-value Mark Few's club until they see the showdown with UCLA.

Hunter Dickinson, Ochai Agbaji and Johnny Juzang

2. UCLA Bruins
Opening Odds: +1600
Current Odds: +1200
Key Departures: Jules Bernard
Key Returning Players: Johnny Juzang, Tyger Campbell, Jaime Jaquez Jr.

The Bruins return four of five starters, the most notable being star guard Johnny Juzang (16.0 ppg). UCLA adds transfer Myles Johnson as well as the highly touted Peyton Watson. Mark your calendars for Nov. 12 for when Jay Wright brings No. 4 Villanova to Pauley Pavilion for arguably the biggest game of November.

UCLA is a popular public team to back after witnessing the play of Juzang in the NCAA Tournament, thus resulting in a slight drop of their opening odds.

3. Kansas Jayhawks
Opening Odds: +2500
Current Odds: +1200
Key Departures: Marcus Garrett, Tristan Enaruna and Bryce Thompson
Key Returning Players: David McCormack, Ochai Agbaji, Christian Braun, Jalen Wilson

Adding Arizona State transfer Remy Martin (19.1 ppg) gives the Jayhawks the biggest prize in the offseason transfer portal. Kansas lost in the second round of the NCAA tournament to USC, but Martin is a tremendous addition to their backcourt.

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The Jayhawks will have a tough neutral site test in early November against Michigan State in the State Farm Champions Classic at Madison Square Garden.

Kansas, upon landing the services of Martin, witnessed their odds cut in half by oddsmakers but continue to hover in the double-digit range.

Villanova men's basketball player Collin Gillespie calls out play during game

4. Villanova Wildcats
Opening Odds: +2500
Current Odds: +1600
Key Departure: Jeremiah Robinson-Earl
Key Returning Players: Collin Gillespie, Jermaine Samuels, Justin Moore

Wright has the Wildcats positioned for another tremendous season on the Main Line. Villanova’s hope for another championship run last year was virtually over when Collin Gilespie (14.0 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 4.6 assists per game (apg)) was lost for the season with a knee injury. The star point guard, a pre-season Cousy award contender, is back for a fifth season for Villanova and his leadership can not be overlooked.

Villanova has won the Big East regular season title in seven of the last eight seasons, to go along with four conference tournament titles and two national titles (2016, 2018). The Wildcats have one of the hardest schedules ahead of Big East play with matchups against No. 2 UCLA, No. 8 Baylor, No. 18 Tennessee and a showdown with Syracuse.

Wright garners the respect of pro bettors and rightfully so being the best coach in college basketball. However, the current odds of +1600 are too short on a team that plays a brutal non-conference schedule.

Texas Andrew Jones basketball

5. Texas
Opening Odds: +4000
Current Odds: +1000
Key Departures: Jericho Sims, Greg Brown, Kai Jones, Matt Coleman
Key Returning Players: Courtney Ramey, Andrew Jones, Brock Cunningham, Jase Febres

Despite many departures, Texas heads into next season with arguably one of the most complete rosters in the Big 12 thanks to the returns of Andrew Jones (14.6 ppg) and Courtney Ramey (12.2 ppg).

Chris Beard now coaches the Longhorns after leaving Texas Tech, and oddsmakers value his coaching skills. Texas' opening odds of +4000 slashed to +1000. Couple that with Ramey's return and bettors lost a significant amount of value on the Longhorns.


Odds subject to change

Odds subject to change

6. Michigan
Opening Odds: +1200
Current Odds: +1200
Key Departures: Franz Wagner, Isaiah Livers, Mike Smith, Chaundee Brown Jr
Key Returning Players: Hunter Dickinson, Eli Brooks, Brandon Johns

Juwan Howard leads a Michigan squad that returns star center Hunter Dickinson (14.1 ppg, 7.4 rpg) on the frontline, as well as versatile Eli Brooks (9.5 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 3.1 apg) handling the point. The Wolverines have an early test in the Big Ten / ACC Challenge when they face No. 19 North Carolina on Dec. 1.

It's difficult to endorse the Wolverines at +1200 when potentially they may not even be the best team in the Big Ten.  

Purdue Trevion Williams

7. Purdue

Opening Odds: +2000
Current Odds: +2500
Key Departures: None
Key Returning Players: Trevion Williams, Jaden Ivey

Purdue returns a tremendous roster led by star big man Trevion Williams (15.5 ppg, 9.1 rpg) and guard Jaden Ivey (11.1 ppg). The Boilermakers will put that experience to the test in mid-November when they face No. 19 North Carolina and a potential second-round game against No. 18 Tennessee or No. 4 Villanova in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off.

The return of Williams, arguably one of the best big man in the country, offers solid value upon an investment at +2500.

8. Baylor
Opening Odds: +1600
Current Odds: +2500
Key Departures: Jared Butler, Davion Mitchell, MaCio Teague
Key Returning Players: Matthew Mayer

The defending national champions enters 2021 without four of their top five scorers from last season—most notably Jared Butler and Davion Mitchel. Stepping in will be former Arizona Wildcat James Akinjo (15.6 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 5.4 apg), who will be asked to shoulder the offensive attack from the point guard position.

The defending National Champions welcome No. 4 Villanova to Waco on December 4 in one of the best non-conference matchups of 2021.

The National Champions will likely see their odds continue to rise until they prove they can play at an elite level despite losing so much talent from last season.

Mike Krzyzewski and Duke have made the NCAA tournament every season since 1996.

9. Duke
Opening Odds: +1600
Current Odds: +1600
Key Departures: Matthew Hurt, Jalen Johnson, DJ Steward
Key Returning Players: Mark Williams, Wendell Moore

College basketball fans will witness the end of an era in 2021 as legendary coach Mike Krzyzewski will embark on his final season at the helm of Duke Basketball.

Duke welcomes star recruit Paolo Banchero to the Blue Devil frontline to form a formidable duo with Mark Williams.

The Blue Devils will have an early test with No. 10 Kentucky on Nov. 9 in the State Farm Champions Classic at Madison Square Garden.

Speculation is the Blue Devils may be on the 'right' side of calls this season as college basketball wants Krzyzewski to qualify for the Big Dance in his final season.

10. Kentucky
Opening Odds: +2000
Current Odds: +1800
Key Departures: Brandon Boston Jr., Olivier Sarr
Key Returning Players: Davion Mintz, Dontaie Allen, Keion Brooks Jr., Jacob Toppin

Big Blue Nation is still attempting to heal following the devastating death of Terrence Clarke, who died after being involved in a car accident back in April. The freshman guard was set to enter the NBA Draft before his life was tragically taken.

John Calipari will heavily lean on Davion Mintz (11.5 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 3.1 apg), who returns to lead the Kentucky backcourt. A showdown with fellow Blue Blood No. 9 Duke in the Champions Classic on Nov. 9 will be must-watch TV.

The return of Mintz was pivotal to any value on Kentucky this season. However, bettors should demand no less than +3500 in any futures' investments.

Check out the latest odds at SI Sportsbook


Memphis coach Penny Hardaway at a recent practice

12. Memphis
Opening Odds: +8000
Current Odds: +2500

Memphis enters the 2021 season on the heals of beating Mississippi State, 77-64, in championship game of the National Invitational Tournament (NIT) last season. Penny Hardaway's squad returns its top two scorers from last season in Landers Nolley (13.1 ppg) and Deandre Williams (11.7 ppg). The Tigers have caught the attention of bettors in the preseason, dropping their opening odds of +8000 down to +2500.

St. Bonaventure's Kyle Lofton dunks

23. St. Bonaventure
Opening Odds: +30000
Current Odds: +20000

St. Bonaventure is ranked for the first time in 50 years and are prohibitive favorites to win the Atlantic 10 this season. The Bonnies find themselves in the polls for the first time since 1971 after qualifying for the NCAA Tournament last season. 

St. Bonaventure returns five seniors, highlighted by Kyle Lofton (14.4 ppg, 5.5 apg, 3.5 rpg) Jaren Holmes (13.8 ppg, 5.3 rpg) and Osun Osunniyi. (10.7 ppg, 9.4 rpg, 2.9 bpg). Bettors find moonshot odds of +20000 on a team that will be fun to watch.

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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