The Kentucky Wildcats are again the favorite to win the college basketball national title after last year’s disappointing season, which resulted in the team not even making the NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats were unable to overcome multiple injuries, poor play from their guards, and an overall lack of leadership and youth. The team will look to correct the failures of last season and the disappointing fact that they were unable to defend their national title in the postseason tournament. Kentucky and the always-crafty John Calipari had a very good recruiting offseason and have a talented core of young freshmen and returning players.
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Let’s take a closer look at the Kentucky Wildcats and figure out just how good they will be this upcoming season.
National title odds
The Wildcats are the solid favorite to win next year’s national title and are getting 5/1 odds as compared to the Kansas Jayhawks at 8/1 and Michigan St Spartans at 10/1. Kentucky has always been known for its recruiting prowess, but this year the team really hit the jackpot as coach John Calipari was able to convince six McDonald’s All-Americans to play for him. The early word from most college basketball experts is that Kentucky might have a juggernaut on its hands. The last time the Wildcats won a national title they went 38-2 during the 2011-12 season and won every NCAA Tournament game by no less than eight points. The college basketball season is always difficult to predict, but there is excellent value on the Wildcats at +500. The team might just have a monster season.
The Wildcats managed to sign six of the best high school basketball players in the nation, and according to experts have at least eight NBA-caliber players on the squad. The team will consist of a roster loaded with talent that includes: the Harrison twins—Aaron and Andrew, Alex Poythress, and James Young. The team will also have to split time at the center position where they have two very talented big men in Dakari Johnson and Willie Cauley-Stein. As a casual NCAA basketball fan, you probably do not know these names, but the only thing you need to take away is that the team is loaded at every position, and its biggest concern will be finding playing time for all this talent.
Offseason reports have stated that the team already has a lot of chemistry and that Calipari is working with a group that is eager to learn. Last season the Wildcats were a horrible against the spread team as they finished the year with a 11-19 ATS record as opposed to a 21-12 straight up record. The Wildcats were also a poor ATS team two seasons ago when they won the national title. Large spreads and high-volume betting from the general public are probably two of the factors for Kentucky being such a poor betting team over the last two years. And the unfortunate truth is that trend will probably continue into this season no matter how good the team ends up being. So, even if there is not much value on Kentucky as a favorite, there is an excellent chance that they will win this year’s national title and cash on their +500 futures wager.
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