College basketball men’s and women’s championship futures to consider from the T Shoe Index as of December 8


T Shoe Index men’s and women’s CBB futures bets to consider

It’s the first week of December. Some teams have barely played a handful of games, but what’s to stop us from seeing how those early trends could be actionable on some futures bets? As I mentioned in my introductory college basketball piece, my TSI ratings are 100% on-court data from this season; meaning, there are no recruiting rankings or “program status” bumps in the ratings. It’s purely opponent-adjusted basketball data. 


The other note to mention here is that, unlike my football projections, I do not do season-long projections for basketball due to the time constraint of doing so for over 300 teams, so there won’t be any win totals bets coming from me, but the game-to-game power ratings should give us enough of an analytical perspective to make informed bets. The numbers have been good in the early going, as my men’s basketball bets have gone a respectable 14-12 so far, while women’s bets have been scoring hot at 19-5 out of the gates. 

Considering those factors, let’s look at where my power ratings indicate we might find some value in the current futures markets.

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Men’s Championship Futures

I admittedly do not play a ton of futures on any sport, because there’s less science to it and I’m an obsessively precise kind of guy; however, when considering futures bets for my portfolio, I’m way more inclined to take some long shots that I can throw a few bucks on that isn’t necessarily setting my money on fire. That being said, the first team that jumps out to me on the men’s side of things is the BYU Cougars

While their average opponent power rating is below average, their performances in those games have them sitting atop my ratings as we sit here in the first week of December. You can currently get the Cougs at +6000 on DraftKings to win the title, and while I don’t expect them to be my top power-rated team come season’s end, nor do I consider them the best team, the early power rating is at least an indication they’re a team to keep an eye on and worth nibbling on for a longshot title bet. 

Another team of interest to me is the Houston Cougars, currently with +1600 odds to win the title. Apparently I’m #TeamCougars now? Houston has my top-rated defense so far, and is my No. 4 overall power rated team. That’s a good enough recipe for me to consider them as net-cutters in April. 

Women’s Championship Futures

Women’s basketball tends to be a little more chalky than men’s, as the talent is often consolidated among the top few programs in the country. So, for a women’s championship future bet, I’m more open to the idea of betting a more obvious contender than the longshots we can optimistically look at for men’s basketball. I’ll be honest, South Carolina is head and shoulders above the pack so far this season from a power rating perspective. In fact, their current +51 rating would be the best I’ve seen since the late 2000s (that’s as far back as I have women’s ratings, for now) if it holds, although I don’t expect them to be *that* dominant for an entire season; but, who am I to question Dawn Staley’s greatness? 

The problem is, SC sits as the favorite right now at +400, which is why I’m going to pass on them right now in hopes they slip up along the way and we can grab something like +750 or so on them. 

An interesting team with a realistic chance to compete with the elites is UCLA, whom I have power-rated No. 5 overall right now, and they sit with the sixth-best odds to win the title at +1400. 

Another team worth mentioning here is Texas. The Longhorns are currently No. 2 in my power ratings, but have just the tenth best odds to win the championship at +2000, so that’s probably as long(horns) of a shot as I’m willing to take on the women’s side of the hardwood. 

BYU +6000 (Men’s)
Houston +1600 (Men’s)
UCLA +1400 (Women’s)
Texas +2000 (Women’s)