With the college basketball season literally just around the corner, every major media outlet has weighed in on their preseason rankings. Kansas is the consensus number 1 team according to most of those outlets with Kentucky, Gonzaga, Duke, Virginia and UNC all factoring into the argument. Do those preseason rankings actually equate to what the oddsmakers are thinking? Is Duke under ranked? The betting odds according to MyBookie have the Blue Devils with the best odds to win.
I caught up with MyBookie’s head oddsmaker David Strauss who pointed out that:
“Although most preseason polls have Duke listed as the consensus #4 team in the nation, bettors feel differently as the action heading in to the tip has heavily favored Duke. It’s no real surprise as the hype about Zion Williamson has reached a fever pitch as he’s played throughout the preseason. Duke opened at 7/1 odds to win the title and were quickly forced down to 9/2. As with all of our markets, we adjust to the action coming in, and as it has heavily favored Duke they moved to the top of the list to cut down the nets in March”
Clearly most Duke fans would rather fly under the radar but with Duke having a marquee matchup against the Wildcats of Kentucky to begin the 2018-2019 campaign that may not be possible. I asked whether a win or a loss in this initial game would change the feeling towards Duke as a potential national champion to which Strauss remarked, “The more AP Top 25 teams that Duke can beat, the better their odds will become. One of the biggest influences on the odds is the Top 25 poll that is released on Mondays, as most sharp bettors use this as an indicator of when the odds on a team are worth betting. With Duke currently sitting at #4 behind Kansas, Kentucky and Gonzaga, there is plenty of room for Duke to become an even bigger favorite. Especially if Kansas, Kentucky or Gonzaga lose to a lower ranked team.”