College basketball has finally arrived! While the DraftKings Sportsbook offers a tremendous amount of futures plays in the CBB market, regular season conference winners is probably my favorite. Betting a conference winner often involves a conference championship game, which leaves open the reality of the better team dropping a conference tournament game. In these bets, we’re simply betting on the team to land the No. 1 seed in their conference tournament, and I have a lot of confidence in a couple of these plays.
I’ll give you the full analysis on this play, but you can also convince someone this is a good play with just one sentence — St. Bonaventure won the A-10 regular season and conference tournament last season, and now returns all five starters.
Diving a little deeper, all five of those starters are seniors, and all five of them averaged double figures in points per game last season. Three of them will be starting for the Bonnies for the fourth straight year. Kyle Lofton, one of those four-year starters, is the PG and leader of this squad, coming off averages of 14.4 points and 5.5 assists. Osun Osunniyi essentially averaged a double-double, along with three blocks per game. He’s one of the most feared rim protectors in the country. Dominick Welch is the sharpshooter of the crew, while Jaren Holmes and Jalen Adaway round out the trio of wings that play aroun Lofton and Osunniyi.
But this team even went out and added depth in the transfer market. Karim Coulibaly was a starter at Pittsburgh last season and is added to the frontcourt. Former Wake Forrest product Quadry Adams transfers in to become a bench piece in the backcourt. A couple of JUCO products should also be really nice bench pieces as well.
This team held its opponents to 61 points per game last season ,and should only be better and deeper on both sides of the ball. The A-10 has a couple of other decent pieces, but for the most part, it would take some serious injuries or COVID issues for me to see this team not sitting atop the conference standings.
The gap is so massive here that I’m making this my largest futures wager — five units.
Villanova won the Big East regular season title last season, and returns plenty of crucial pieces in what feels like a pretty thin conference (at least by Big East standards). The Wildcats won the Big East regular season by three games last season, going 9-0 at home in the process.
While they take on a big test on Friday night at UCLA, a game I like the other side of, this is the type of game that prepares you early in the season. Collin Gillespie returns off a serious knee injury, and while he may need time to get right, he should be hitting his stride by conference play. Jermaine Samuels is also returning as a big piece of the puzzle, while Justin Moore and Caleb Daniels also project as key contributors once again.
When you look down the list of teams in the Big East, ‘Nova has a pretty sizable edge. I expect that edge to be clear when we see the conference standings in March. I’m betting this one for three units.
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