College basketball recruit Marvin Bagley III announced on SportsCenter Monday night he will be playing for the Duke Blue Devils this season. Bagley’s eligibility still has to get the green light from the NCAA and that can’t be done until his final high school transcript is submitted.
Offshore sportsbooks opened Duke at +1000 but the price now ranges from +400 to +650 depending on where you look. The Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas had the Blue Devils as co-favorites to win the 2018 college basketball championship with Kentucky at +700, and changed them to sole holders of the pole position at +300 after Bagley’s announcement, and for good reason.
ESPN college basketball reporter Jeff Borzello says Bagley will be the top pick in this year’s NBA draft and he would have been the top pick if he had been eligible for the 2017 draft. ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, formerly of Draft Express, still has Michael Porter going No. 1 in his latest 2018 mock draft.
Bagley joins an already loaded Duke freshmen class which includes the top overall point guard Trevon Duval, the best shooting guard recruit Gary Trent Jr. and the chief power forward prospect Wendell Carter. Toss in senior guard and second-team All-American Grayson Allen and you’ve got yourself the best starting five in college hoops this season.
This will be the third time in the last four years Duke enters the season with the No. 1 recruiting class. The Blue Devils won the national championship in 2015 led by freshmen Tyus Jones and Jahlil Okafor. Duke was bounced in the Round of 32 last season, despite entering the tournament as favorites, and lost in the Sweet Sixteen in 2016.
Being the preseason favorites to win the national championship is nothing new for coach Mike Krzyzewski. The chart below shows the Blue Devils recruiting class, preseason odds to win the national championship and their end result sorted by season.
*Odds courtesy of SportsOddsHistory.com.
Duke isn’t the only team seeing its preseason odds on the move. The Missouri Tigers went from +30,000 back in April to +4000 after Michael Porter committed to the program.
The top contenders besides Duke to cut down the nets on championship Monday are Kentucky (+800), Michigan State (+1000), Arizona (+1200) and Kansas (+1200).