Most basketball fans are likely too focused on the NBA playoffs right now to even think about college basketball. However, now may be the time to strike and find some real value among the current national championship odds.
For example, anyone thinking about laying a wager on Baylor Basketball to win it all next year may want to go online and do it right now.
According to one Vegas oddsmaker, the early line on the Baylor Bears to win it all was 500-1 (or +50000). It has since dropped down to 40 to 1 (+4000). The obvious question, of course, would be to wonder why someone should bet on them now when their odds have shortened so much.
Well, because, while they may have gotten pretty short in Vegas, that has not been the case online. As of May 16, at Bovada, Baylor’s odds of winning the 2020 National Championship stood at +10000 (100 to 1). They have since fallen to +6600 (as of March 17 at Bovada; can still be had for +10000 at 888sport.com).
Typically, when a team has odds as high as Baylor did (and still does), they are not viewed as a serious contender; certainly not as someone worth wagering on. But for the odds to shorten as much as they have in Vegas, there must be a significant amount of action.
So—what’s going on? What is that the bettors in Vegas seem to know about Baylor that the rest of the world doesn’t?
Last season, expectations were pretty low for the Bears (9th in conference), but they outperformed them finishing fourth in the Big 12 with a 10-8 conference record (20-14 overall). They were also the most efficient offensive team in the conference.
The Bears are losing two of their better players in Makai Mason and King McClure. But they have some solid players returning in Jared Butler, Mario Kegler, and Tristan Clark (who missed the last 20 games last season due to a knee injury). They also have a couple promising transfers coming in (Davion Mitchell and Macio Teague) who could contribute early on.
It is not hard to see the potential in this roster. They could very easily contend for the Big 12 crown next season and maybe more (if things go their way). However, they do not have the kind of March Madness history you’d want a team you are betting on to have.
Baylor has only made it to the Dance 12 times in program history. But they have gone eight times just since 2008. Of those eight trips, they have made it as far as the Elite Eight only twice (2010 and 2012). In school history, they have made the Final Four twice, the championship game once, and have never been the national champion.
But streaks end all the time. Virginia made it to the Final Four for just the third time in program history this past season and won their first title.
Could Baylor win it all? Eh—maybe. UConn’s odds were +6500 during the preseason when they won back in 2014. Does that mean you should bet on them? Of course not, but if you are, you may want to do it now before the odds get any shorter.