Last year at this time, bettors examining the college basketball futures market were focused on determining the size of the gap between Gonzaga and Baylor with the rest of the country. Those two squads dominated, were lauded by media experts and handicappers as the clear favorites and were given relatively short odds to win it all as early as mid-December.
Before Jan. 1, every other team in the country was a relative long shot.
This year the story is much different.
Gonzaga, Duke and Purdue have held the top spot, but not long enough to give bettors the level of confidence they had in the favorites last year. Baylor is there now. But players like Jared Butler, Davion Mitchell and MaCio Teague, who helped win a national championship, are not.
So that means CBB bettors this season can scan the futures board a little more broadly and identify plays based not only in value but ones with higher odds that can be alive in March. This year’s field is wide open, with at least 15 to 20 teams legitimately in play for the Final Four.
That depth should translate into value for teams in this group that have yet to receive the same amount of media attention and betting action as the usual suspects.
Identifying those teams is the best way to attack this futures board.