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Following an unsatisfying end to the 2019-20 college basketball season, we await news of how the upcoming campaign may look. As the major professional sports leagues continue to work out the kinks associated with their respective returns, we're finding value in college basketball futures as a bit of a distraction.
With so much uncertainty surrounding the upcoming slate, it's better to fade the favorites and look for value further down the board. Here are some long shots (30-1 or longer) to target with a few months remaining before the season.
|San Diego State||+6000|
Odds courtesy of theScore Bet
This price could be a reaction to Luka Garza declaring for the NBA draft. You should pounce on it, as this Iowa team will profile as a clear top-10 squad with maybe the best offense in the country when Garza inevitably returns.
The Hawkeyes were a top-five offense in 2019-20 and return all five starters, as well as former starter Jordan Bohannon, who missed nearly all of last year with an injury and should bolster Iowa's backcourt this season. With strong guard play around Garza, this team will be nearly impossible to stop.
Tennessee deserves far more respect in the betting market after a season that was plagued by injuries, inexperience, and one of the shortest benches in the country. None of those should be an issue in the upcoming campaign, as the Vols return four starters and bring in two five-star guards in Jaden Springer and Keon Johnson.
Add transfers Victor Bailey Jr. (Oregon) and E.J. Anosike (Sacred Heart) to the mix, and Rick Barnes will have too much talent for his own good. This group is bursting with upside and should be among the deepest title contenders. Getting 40-1 odds is a bargain for a borderline top-10 team.
Betting title odds is all about upside, and few teams have the potential of West Virginia, which flirted with a top-10 ranking last year and toppled No. 1 Baylor in its final game of the season. The Mountaineers return three-quarters of their rotation from a year ago and rank second overall in T-Rank's 2020-21 projections, featuring a top-five offense and defense.
I'm not entirely sold on the offense, but this team will again be a nightmare to play, with Derek Culver and Oscar Tshiebwe anchoring an elite and physically exhausting defense. Bob Huggins' teams always have plenty of opportunities on offense, and there's title potential in this group if it can capitalize on more of those chances this year.
Injuries beset Texas midway through last season, but Shaka Smart's group still ripped off five straight wins toward the end of the campaign behind a top-25 defense and aggressive outside shooting. Now, the Longhorns will be the most experienced team in the country, returning all 12 scholarship players from 2019-20 and adding five-star recruit Greg Brown to address a weakness at power forward.
The Longhorns are tied for the 30th-longest odds in the country but are ranked third in T-Rank's projections for next year. That's probably a bit strong, but it hints at Texas' upside barring injuries, making this 60-1 price an absolute steal.
C Jackson Cowart is a betting writer for theScore. He's an award-winning journalist with stops at The Charlotte Observer, The San Diego Union-Tribune, The Times Herald-Record, and BetChicago. He's also a proud graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, and his love of sweet tea is rivaled only by that of a juicy prop bet. Find him on Twitter @CJacksonCowart.