2020–21 College Basketball Betting Preview: Odds, Favorites, Props, and Picks to Cut Down the Nets

SI Gambling analyst Roy Larking sets the stage for sports bettors ready to wager on the 2020-2021 college basketball season.
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The 2020-21 NCAA Division I Men's college basketball season begins with a full slate of games on Wednesday, November 25. Here we preview the season with a look at a variety of prop betting options available at DraftKings Sportsbook.

2020-21 NCAA Basketball Season – How We Got Here

One of the first North American sports affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2019-20 NCCA basketball season was cancelled on March 12, 2020. At that point, the NCAA also cancelled all remaining winter and spring sports. Consequently, the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball March Madness tournament was cancelled for the first time since it was founded back in 1939.

On September 16, 2020, members of the NCAA DI Council moved the start of the 2020-21 season from November 10 to November 25. Teams were allowed to begin practicing on October 14 but all exhibition games and scrimmages were cancelled. The scheduled was reduced, from a maximum of 31 games to 27 contests, and every conference except the Ivy League has agreed to play.

March, 2021 is still a long way off and the 2020-21 NCAA basketball season is certain to have twist, turns and cancellations. As scheduled right now, Selection Sunday is slated for March 14 and March Madness First Four games we be played on March 16-17, 2021. The NCAA is negotiating with the State of Indiana to have the entire tournament played within the Indianapolis metropolitan area.

Bet on College Basketball All Season at DraftKings

NCAA 2020-21 March Madness Championship Futures Odds

With the road to March Madness set to begin, DraftKings have posted futures odds to win the NCAA Basketball National Championship tournament. Winners of two of the last four titles, bookmakers have Villanova (+600) listed as top chalk. Gonzaga (+700) is right behind as second favorite. The Bulldogs enter the season as the No. 1 team in the AP Top 25 rankings for the first time in school history.

Baylor, who captivated the country during a 23-game winning streak last season, has a +900 moneyline. The Bears are tied with the Iowa Hawkeyes as third favorites. After winning the 2019 March Madness tournament, Virginia opens the season as the defending National Champion. The Cavaliers futures line is +900 and they are tied with the Kentucky Wildcats as fourth overall favorites.

Creighton (+2500) is an intriguing longshot. The Bluejays finished at No. 7 in the AP Top 25 rankings with a 24-7 record last year. Creighton enters the season ranked No. 11 and we will find out how good they are when they battle No. 6 Kansas on the road at Allen Fieldhouse on December 8. Six of eight players who played the most minutes for Creighton last year return this season.

Following a run to the Sweet 16 round in 2019, LSU posted a 21-10 record last season. Three of the Tigers top five scorers, Trendon Watford, Javonte Smart and Darius Days, all considered entering the 2020 NBA Draft but have returned to the team. LSU brought in three transfer players who are all 6’ 7” or taller. The Tigers (+4000) moneyline price is worth consideration as a dark horse wager.

Here are the current top 30 favorites on the futures board at DraftKings Sportsbook:

Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook - 11/24/2020

Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook - 11/24/2020

March Madness Odds to Advance to the Final Four

DraftKings offers odds on teams to advance to the March Madness Final Four. The order is similar to the championship favorite list but the prices are reduced on this prop. Receiving a plus moneyline price, Baylor (+125) is my Final Four pick. With four of five starters returning, the Bears are slight chalk to win the Big 12 Conference over Kansas. After sitting out the 2020 season, due to transfer rules, Adam Flager will add scoring punch to the Bears offense. Expect another strong season from the elite Baylor defense that allowed 60.1 PPG last year.

Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook - 11/24/2020

Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook - 11/24/2020

Conference Champion Prop Betting Options

As part of their preseason offers, DraftKings as posted several prop options on which teams will win the various conference championships. Villanova and Creighton are the only Big East teams that enter the season in the AP Top 25. While they lost leading scorer Saddiq Bey to the 2020 NBA Draft, four players who averaged double digit scoring last season return for the Wildcats. Mentioned above, Creighton has a strong returning class as well but the Bluejays appear to be a step behind Villanova. My money is on the Wildcats to win the Big East.

Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook - 11/24/2020

Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook - 11/24/2020

One of the tightest conference races is the Pac-12 as UCLA (+260) and Arizona State (+265) are basically co-favorites. March Madness qualifiers six of last the seven years, including a Sweet 16 appearance in 2019, Oregon (+435) is the third favorite to win the Pac-12. All three teams enter the season in the AP and Coaches Poll Top 25 rankings. The Ducks need to replace G Payton Pritchard (20.5 PPG), who was drafted by the Boston Celtics, and UNLV transfer Amauri Hardy (14.5 PPG) will help fill the void. Take a chance with a bet on the longshot Ducks.

Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook - 11/24/2020

Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook - 11/24/2020

MORE FROM SPORTS ILLUSTRATED

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