College Basketball 2020-21 Title Trends Before Season Tips Off

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College basketball is slated to tip off tomorrow, and William Hill bettors have had an entire offseason to wager on which team they think will win the title.

When William Hill originally released its 2020-21 college basketball national championship futures in March, Gonzaga, Duke, Kentucky and Kansas were posted as the 10/1 co-favorites. A day before the season, Gonzaga stands alone atop the board at 7/1.

“Gonzaga’s been one of the most consistent teams over the past decade,” said Nick Bogdanovich, Director of Trading for William Hill US. “They’re so solid every year. We’ve taken some money on them to win it all, so that’s also played a part in why they’re the favorite now.”

Baylor has the second-lowest odds at 10/1, followed by Villanova at 12/1 and Kentucky at 15/1. Duke, Illinois, Iowa and Virginia are all next at 18/1.

“I have a feeling that bettors will be more apt to bet the blue bloods knowing that teams like Duke and Kentucky have all these talented kids in their program,” Bogdanovich said. “Those teams are in much better shape to deal with a star player getting coronavirus. When push comes to shove, a lot of money always ends up on the blue bloods. But usually their prices are lower, so it doesn’t really matter to us much.”

It may be a surprise to some that Illinois is all the way down to 18/1 with the likes of Duke and defending champion Virginia. Illinois has been one of the biggest movers this offseason, as the Illini were first priced at 75/1. Other notable shifts include West Virginia (50/1 to 20/1), Texas Tech (50/1 to 22/1), Rutgers (150/1 to 50/1), Alabama (150/1 to 60/1) and Memphis (150/1 to 30/1).

“It doesn’t take a lot for liability to add up when it’s in the 75, 100 range,” Bogdanovich said. “We moved Illinois and Memphis fast, because who knows how this season is going to shake out. If there’s ever a season to take a long shot, this is the one. Usually when a Kentucky or Duke or someone of that nature wins, it’s good for us. But when it’s a team who started off as a long shot like Illinois or Memphis, those are the ones that sting us.”

Yet, it’s a different team sitting at 18/1 that leads the way in both total number of tickets and total dollars wagered. After opening at 30/1, Iowa is now at its current number thanks to bringing in 17% of the total number of tickets and 14% of the total dollars wagered.

Gonzaga is second in each, attracting 9% and 12% respectively. The only other team to reach the double-digit mark in total dollars wagered is Baylor at 11%. Besides Iowa and Gonzaga, Illinois also ranks in the top 5 in both categories with 4% of the total number of tickets and 6% of the total dollars wagered.

There have been quite a few noteworthy futures bets taken thus far at William Hill as well.

The largest college basketball title future placed at William Hill is one Nevada bettor laying $9,550 on Baylor 14/1 for a total potential payout of $143,250. Additionally, three separate $5,000 wagers were put down on Iowa 18/1 ($95,000 total potential payout), Iowa 20/1 ($105,000 total potential payout) and West Virginia 30/1 ($155,000 total potential payout).

In terms of long shots, a New Jersey bettor went in for $200 on Boise State 2000/1 for a total potential payout of $400,200. The Broncos now reside at 1000/1. Another Nevada bettor placed $2,000 on Memphis 150/1 for a total potential payout of $302,000.

Check out William Hill’s latest odds and trends for 2020-21 college basketball national championship futures below.

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