March Madness 2022: Take advantage of early betting market


Jan 1, 2003

By Aaron Moore, VSiN

It’s time to play the transition game. That is moving seamlessly from the end of the 2020-21 college basketball season to the 2021-22 futures market that is now open for business.

Before laying any money down for 2022, begin this offseason by determining how you will play the ever expanding futures market. There are multiple ways to do so and I am a believer in creating a dynamic portfolio that includes tickets on multiple teams and making multiple trips to the window throughout the season to take advantage of varying odds.

Having more than a couple of teams in pocket means there will be plenty of losers that eat into potential profits, but it also creates flexibility, hedging and at least the option of an early cashout.

Here’s how you can take advantage of the early college basketball market:

Wait for the transfer dust to settle​

With any college basketball futures payout literally one year away, be ultraconservative in making any futures plays at this juncture. Consider this primarily window-shopping season. Such is the case when there are so many players entering the transfer portal or leaving for the pro ranks. All the roster volatility from the power conferences down to the low majors creates an extra layer of uncertainty when it comes to projecting what will happen next season.

Stay in the middle lane for now​

When you are ready to look over the futures board in the expectation of making a play, attention should go right to the middle and down from there. So early in the offseason, bypass all the short odds at the top.

At this point value comes from zeroing in on the teams bookmakers have initially underestimated. There are a few teams out of the gate that appear to be undervalued by sportsbooks. One is in the Big Ten and likely a result of the conference’s abysmal March showing.

Maryland (25/1) is worthy of a proactive investment. Right now this looks like a legitimate top-10 team.

Syracuse (35/1) has the Boeheims back, which means Jim will have his team peaking in March and Buddy will be in full launch mode. So will his backcourt shooting mate Joe Girard.

St. Bonaventure (50/1) will look to play the role Obi Toppin’s Dayton squad did in 2020 before the tournament was ultimately canceled. That is to emerge from the mid-major Atlantic 10 and be a high-, if not, top-seeded team. The Bonnies have the chance to be that good.

Indiana (35/1) has perhaps the best chance to be the 2022 futures lottery ticket. Their long odds have a lot to do with the uncertainty of first-year head coach Mike Woodson coming back to Bloomington, but the roster, featuring Tracye Jackson-Davis and Pittsburgh-transfer Xavier Johnson, looks pretty good. An odds discrepancy like this among books should get your attention.

Run it back​

The team with the shortest odds starting this offseason as the favorite is the same squad that had that honor all last year. Gonzaga at 6/1 edges out Michigan at 8/1 for the current odds leader. The Zags will lose Corey Kispert and Joel Ayayi, and most likely Jalen Suggs, to the NBA draft. Good chance Drew Timme and Andrew Nembhard do return for another run at a national championship.

The rest of BetMGM’s Top-5 favorites are Baylor (12/1); Duke (12/1); Florida State (12/1). Find room in your futures portfolio for at least one of these teams before winter.
Jun 5, 2020
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