College Hoops Futures Bets Are Up — A First In PA

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When the college basketball season opened a year ago, there was nowhere in Pennsylvania to place a legal wager.

What a difference a year makes, as most NCAA schools open their seasons Tuesday or Wednesday. The vast majority of the state’s casinos, plus two off-track betting sites in Philadelphia, have a sportsbook where you can bet in person on college hoops, plus any other professional sport imaginable.

And with the launch this week of DraftKings’ online site in Pennsylvania, there are now six different apps that can be downloaded for sports betting.

That gives various options to place “futures” wagers tied to the 2019-20 NCAA basketball season for those who don’t mind having some of their money tied up for the next five months. The upside is that with a single futures wager placed at season’s outset, you’ve got action in at least a small way tied to the outcome of every game without needing to stop and analyze each contest and place a new bet before tipoff.

Mich St., Duke rank as national title favorites

For those with broad interest in the sport nationally, each site has odds on the top contenders to emerge as NCAA champions in April, and they don’t all agree on the favorite.

Michigan State is favored by FanDuel at 7/1 and FOX Bet at 7.5/1, and both sites follow with Kentucky at 8/1 and Duke at 9/1.

DraftKings’ Pennsylvania site was not yet available at the time this article was written, but it will presumably be the same as DraftKings’ odds in New Jersey, which favor Duke at 8/1, with Michigan State just behind at 9/1.

Three different Pennsylvania apps (Parx, BetRivers, and PlaySugarHouse) all use the same odds supplied by Kambi, and those all have Duke and Kentucky each at 8/1, followed by Michigan State and North Carolina, both at 9/1.

When it comes to Pennsylvania teams, it is only Villanova (ranked No. 10 in AP’s preseason poll) that is given much chance of cutting down the nets in April at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. They can be bet at 22/1 on FanDuel, while the rest place the Wildcats at 20/1.

If you like to bet long shots …

Most NCAA schools are such long shots that you can’t even bet on them (sorry Duquesne). And we’re not sure it would be wise to bet any hard-earned dollars on the following to be NCAA champs, but you can do so if you just can’t help yourself:

Penn State at 120/1 via DraftKings and Kambi sites.

Pitt at 150/1 from FanDuel.

Penn at 210/1 from FanDuel.

Temple at 250/1 from FanDuel, DraftKings, and Kambi sites.

Some sites place odds on teams reaching the Final Four, with Villanova +425 at both DraftKings and the three Kambi-tied sites. Kambi has Penn State at 29/1 to reach the Final Four and it and DraftKings have Temple at 60/1

As for conference title hopes …

Some of the online sportsbooks also list odds of winning league titles, at least for the major basketball conferences.

FanDuel and DraftKings both have Villanova at +150, or 1.5/1, to win the Big East.

Temple is listed 28/1 to win the American Athletic Conference by DraftKings and 35/1 by FanDuel.

Penn State is 25/1 to win the Big 10, according to DraftKings, and 35/1, says FanDuel.

DraftKings has Pitt 50/1 to take the Atlantic Coast Conference title and FanDuel has the Panthers 55/1.

DraftKings offers the most over/under bets

Over/under bets on regular season win totals are always among the most popular futures bets in any sport, though the sites are somewhat limited in offering them for college hoops. Villanova can be bet over/under 23.5 wins at both FanDuel and DraftKings, but only the latter offers options on a wide number of Division 1 programs instead of just the top schools.

So assuming DraftKings in Pennsylvania will offer what it does in New Jersey, here are the o/u numbers available on schools within the state in addition to ‘Nova:

Penn State: 17.5

Temple: 16.5

Penn: 16.5

Pitt: 16

LaSalle: 14.5

Drexel: 14

St. Joseph’s: 12

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Gary Rotstein

Gary is a longtime journalist, having spent three decades covering gambling, state government, and other issues for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, in addition to stints as managing editor of the Bedford (Pa.) Gazette and as a reporter for United Press International and the Middletown (Conn.) Press.

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