Think Christmas snuck up on you fast? College basketball conference play in the major leagues is just around the corner, with conference competition begin December 27.
With most schools rounding out their non-conference schedules this week, now is the best time to shop conference title futures odds. There is a lot of value still on the board, with plenty of programs capable of shocking their league and winning the outright title.
Here’s a look at the best value bets in each of the six major conferences.
North Carolina -189
Florida State +1,200
Best value: Virginia +1,800
Tony Bennett has created a monster in Virginia – a big, bad defensive monster. In a league dominated by scoring, the Cavaliers have the ability to lock down an opponents’ top player while thriving off turnovers. Virginia could be the best two-way team in the ACC.
Best value: Georgetown/Pittsburgh +800
The depth of the Big East makes just about any of the top teams a solid wager. The Hoyas have grown up in a hurry, ranking among the Top 50 in both points for and against. The Panthers haven’t reached their pinnacle yet, being slowed by injuries and the loss of Khem Birch. But Pitt just keeps on filling those holes and could be a major player when the roster finally settles in.
Ohio State -233
Michigan State +700
Best value: Michigan +1,000
While other conference rivals grab headlines, the Wolverines steadily improve with every game. They have a terrific defense and good scoring depth. John Beilein has been fine tuning this team for Big Ten play, fixing its shooting woes and tightening up the turnover problems.
Best value: Baylor +350
It’s a short price on the Bears, but they're well worth it. Baylor could be the most exciting team to watch in college basketball, scoring 80 points per game – a lot of those buckets coming above the rim. The Bears also have a pro-ready talent in forward Perry Jones, who is not only the best player in the Big 12 but maybe the country.
Best value: Mississippi State +1,500
The Bulldogs are the outcasts of the SEC, looked upon as street ballers with bad attitudes. That’s the same reason why MSU is a great bet to win the conference title. The Bulldogs have just as much talent as their conference counterparts. As long as Renardo Sidney can stay out of his own head, Mississippi State will continue to rub opponents the wrong way. Game of the Year alert: MSU at Baylor on Dec. 28.
Best value: Washington +500
The Pac-12 is college basketball’s Rubix Cube. Any number of teams could make a run to the outright league title. But, if you’re looking for a deal, the Huskies are priced at a modest +500. They’ve been terrible in non-conference play, facing a tough schedule that featured Duke, St. Louis, Marquette, Nevada, and San Diego State. Washington will be ready for the soft Pac-12 slate and returns 7-footer Aziz N'Diaye this week.
Odds provided by SportsInteraction.com.