Burke: Why timing matters most with college basketball futures


I filled in with Jeff Parles last night on VSiN’s BetCenter and we had a lot of fun talking about numerous topics, but one that stood out to me was the talk we had about Baylor vs. Kansas and the futures market implications of the big win by the Jayhawks. Kansas was around 14/1 to win the NCAA Tournament at most shops, but the line is down to 12/1 now after the 24-point beatdown of the Bears.

A lot of astute bettors will try to put together a portfolio of teams as the season goes along to have a lot of different futures bets, hoping that the teams end up in different regions and there are a lot of ways to make a profit. Others will just try to pick out a few teams that fit the bill and hope they win it all.


If you liked Kansas, the time to bet them was prior to the Baylor game because the price has now dropped. By looking ahead at the schedule, you can speculate a little bit as to whether or not it is a good time to bet on a team to win it all.

Here are a couple examples of games this week and how to apply this concept:

Auburn at Arkansas – Arkansas is 80/1 at BetMGM and 55/1 at DraftKings (shop around!) going into Tuesday’s game against an Auburn team that has struggled to perform well on the road. If you’ve been eyeing an Arkansas future, now isn’t a bad time to take the leap. If the Razorbacks lose, they were supposed to (projected line around Auburn -3). If they win, that is a huge, signature victory that strengthens Arkansas’s profile and may lead to a jump of at least two seed lines, barring a collapse the rest of the way.

If Arkansas wins, the 80/1 price probably becomes 66/1 or something like that, given how BetMGM prices the futures. If Arkansas doesn’t, I don’t think much changes. If you like the Razorbacks anyway, I’d consider betting a future now because you’ll lose some line equity if they win.

If Auburn loses, I’m not sure it matters much for their futures price in the grand scheme of things. Books won’t have much incentive to move their odds as one of the best teams in the country.

Illinois at Purdue – This is a similar setup, but with two teams that already have fairly short prices. If Illinois wins at Purdue, the 25/1 at DraftKings probably looks more like the 20/1 at BetMGM. If Purdue wins at home, their 11/1 at DraftKings may go to 10/1 like it is at BetMGM. There is greater equity in floating an Illinois future because that price is sure to move with a win, whereas Purdue’s price may not.

If you’ve been eyeing futures bets, try to catch them before a team has a chance to make a big splash when you can get as good of a number as possible.