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College Basketball: Updated Futures

Aaron Gordon and the top-ranked Arizona Wildcats are also top on the futures list.

Aaron Gordon and the top-ranked Arizona Wildcats are also top on the futures list.

After climbing to the top of the Associated Press poll, No. 1 Arizona has emerged as the bookmakers’ pick to win a national title.

The latest college basketball futures list sees the unbeaten Wildcats (13-0) with odds of 6/1 to win a national championship, marking the first time the team has topped the list this season. The school opened the year with 16/1 odds of winning it all, good enough for sixth in the country.

With quality wins over Duke, Michigan and San Diego State, Sean Miller’s side has avoided any slipups early in the season and will enter Pac-12 play on January 2 looking down at the rest of the conference, as well as the rest of the nation.

The Wildcats sit narrowly ahead of No. 5 Michigan State (10-1) on the futures list.

The Spartans have impressed most onlookers this season with their experience and grittiness, while the backcourt combo of Keith Appling and Gary Harris – averaging a combined 32.7 points and 7.7 assists per game – has been the engine that has kept Tom Izzo’s side motoring.

The Spartans spent three weeks in the AP top spot before falling to a then-unranked North Carolina side, and bookmakers still like the side going forward. The Spartans, who opened the season with 9/1 odds of winning the title, are currently listed at 13/2.

After, relatively speaking, subpar starts to the season, No. 16 Kansas (8-3) and No. 18 Kentucky (9-3) have stumbled down the AP poll in recent weeks but bookmakers, and bettors, are hardly put off.

With all the talk entering the season about one-and-done freshmen Andrew Wiggins and Julius Randle, the Jayhawks and Wildcats have struggled to find a firm footing. Still, all three losses for both teams have come against quality opposition and given time to gel, these teams have enough talent to be a major threat come March Madness.

Both teams currently sit joint-third on the futures list with 7/1 odds, slightly down on those numbers they began the season with; the Wildcats were 7/2 and the Jayhawks 6/1.

No. 6 Louisville (11-1) also has a share of that third spot with 7/1 odds.

The defending champions have just one loss on the docket, a 93-84 loss to North Carolina on November 24. It’s been plain sailing since but the Cardinals haven’t exactly faced that much adversity. That will change on Saturday when the team travels to Kentucky.

With a soft schedule to start the year, and with the newly-orchestrated American Athletic Conference an uncertain commodity, it’s hard to determine how good the Cardinals are at this time. But as long as they are champions, they’ll be popular with the bookmakers.

No. 7 Oklahoma State (11-1) currently sits in sixth-place on the college basketball futures list.

The high-scoring Cowboys have impressed so far this season, which is reflected in the school seeing its odds slashed from 20/1 to 8/1 since the beginning of the campaign.

Marcus Smart, averaging 18 points per game, is having a terrific sophomore season, while the Pokes as a team could be the class of the Big 12, although Kansas is sure to have something to say about that. The first meeting between the sides on January 18 is already looking like essential viewing.

No. 9 Duke (9-2) and No. 3 Ohio State (12-0) have both been assessed 12/1 odds of winning the title. For the Blue Devils this represents a drop from 9/1 ahead of the season while the Buckeyes have climbed up from 20/1.

No. 2 Syracuse (11-0) has used a fairly light schedule to climb the AP rankings but bookmakers aren’t yet sold on the Orange, assigning Jim Boeheim’s side 14/1 odds of winning the championship. That’s an improvement on the 25/1 odds that the Orange began the year with, but it’ll take some quality wins to impress the odds makers.

Syracuse will get a chance to impress in Saturday’s matchup with No. 8 Villanova (11-0), another unbeaten side looking to make a statement. At 33/1, the Wildcats are currently outside of the futures top 10, but that could easily change with a win at the Carrier Dome.

The college basketball futures top 10 is rounded out by No. 19 North Carolina (8-3).

The Tar Heels have been a conundrum early in the year, dismissing quality opponents like Louisville, Michigan State and Kentucky, but falling to minnows like Belmont and UAB. The school’s status as an elite program will keep it high in the bookmakers’ expectations, but the team will need to put in consistent performances if it’s to climb the list. The Tar Heels are currently 16/1 to win a title.

Outside of the top 10, No. 4 Wisconsin (12-0) is 18/1; No. 10 Wichita State (12-0) is 33/1; No. 12 Oregon (11-0) is 50/1; and No. 14 Iowa State (11-0) is 66/1. Each of those sides is unbeaten.

Toledo (11-0), college basketball’s remaining unbeaten side, doesn’t appear on the list.

Click here for a look at the complete college basketball futures list.

College basketball returns from its Christmas break on Friday. Odds and trends for the day’s games will be available here once they are released.

20131226_NCAAB_futuresFor the latest College Basketball team prop bets, click here.

For the latest College Basketball player prop bets, click here.

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