Final Four Odds from DraftKings Show Michigan St., Kentucky Favored to Make Atlanta Next April
Posted on: July 31, 2019, 10:18h.
Last updated on: August 1, 2019, 12:41h.
As the calendar turns to August, we are getting closer to the start of football. However, before we start looking at who might win the college football title – I think we all know who will likely end up playing for it – let’s take a look at a sport that won’t tip off for another three months: college basketball.
In case you missed it, DraftKings sportsbook posted odds Tuesday on what teams will end up in Atlanta in the NCAA Tournament’s Final Four next April. The four favorites are Kentucky and Michigan State, both of whom have the lowest odds at +125, Duke at +175, and defending national champion Virginia at +200.
Kentucky and Michigan State play each other in the season opener on Nov. 5 in New York. While UK is known for typically reloading each year with a star-studded freshman class, the Wildcats will have several experienced players returning, led by point guard Ashton Hagans, who started in 30 of the Cats 37 games last year.
Meanwhile, the Spartans, who reached the Four Four last season, will be led by senior guard Cassius Winston, who averaged 18.8 points a game last season and earned Big Ten Player of the Year honors.
Duke loses a ton, most notably Zion Williamson and R.J. Barrett. However, coach Mike Krzyzewski has recruited four of the top 30 players in the class of 2019 to come to Durham for the upcoming season, so the Blue Devils look to be deep and talented once again.
The Cavaliers lose a good chunk of the championship-winning squad, but they still have several weapons at their disposal. Mamadi Diakite can be an inside presence for UVa, and Kihei Clark, who stepped up big as a freshman reserve during the tournament run, will likely start at point guard.
Under the Radar Teams
On its Playbook blog, DraftKings made special notice of the team its handicappers made the sixth selection: Memphis at +325. The Tigers landed the top recruiting class in the nation for the upcoming season, led by top-ranked recruit James Wiseman.
The Tigers haven’t made the tournament since 2014, but in his second season as head coach, Penny Hardaway is clearly on a mission to bring them back into the fold,” the blog noted.
Another team to keep an eye on is Baylor, currently priced at an attractive +1900 just to make the Final Four. The Bears, considered by some to be a preseason top 10 team, return four starters, including Tristan Clark. The junior forward was on pace for a nice season and led the NCAA in field goal shooting last year before a knee injury ended his season in January.
On the same day DraftKings dropped its odds, veteran college basketball reporter Andy Katz gave his preseason Final Four prediction on NCAA.com.
Katz likes Michigan State, which he thinks could start the season as the No. 1 team in the country. Joining the Spartans are Kansas (+225), Florida (+425), and Louisville (+625).
All three of Katz’ other selections are deep teams returning several core pieces from last year’s squads.
Florida also landed power forward Kerry Blackshear Jr. from Virginia Tech to provide an inside presence. Kansas returns three starters and will finally get to play Silvio De Sousa after he sat out last season due to questions about his recruitment. Louisville features a solid recruiting class and six key returning contributors to be what could be the deepest team in the county. Among the returnees is swingman Jordan Nwora, who Katz believes could be the top player in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Other Final Four odds to note are Gonzaga and North Carolina (+375), Villanova (+425), last year’s runner-up Texas Tech (+550), and Maryland and Texas (+900).
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