It is early in the college basketball season. Very early. People who aren't fans of the sport - or at least not fans until after football season ends - can misunderstand just how little things truly matter until conference season starts for all but the truly elite teams. With that in mind, though, it is never too early to take a look the studs and duds from a betting perspective of the season up to this point:
Kansas State (5-0 ATS): The Wildcats are off to a solid start. There have been cupcake games, of course - it is still early season college basketball. They won outright as underdogs at Georgia last time out, though, and covered the spread in their lone loss, which was to North Carolina on a neutral court. No shame in that. Things will come crashing down eventually as the realities of a brutal conference schedule hit them, but for now they are rolling.
Central Florida (5-0 ATS): This team is just 3-3 against a weak schedule, but they have covered the spread each time they have been an underdog this year - even though they have yet to win in that situation. Of course, with the hiring of former Oregon offensive coordinator Scott Frost to coach the football team you can be sure that no one on campus cares about basketball right now.
West Virginia (4-0 ATS): As I write this the Mountaineers are just hours away from an epic battle with their neighbors from Virginia. It should be a great game and a big test for a squad that hasn't been tested so far - they have played basically no one. I don't really care who a team plays as long as they cover spreads, though, and they have certainly done that. In their last game they were favored by just 2.5 points against San Diego State and won by 22.
Oklahoma (4-0 ATS): Unlike some teams here, the Sooners have actually played a pretty good schedule. They are unbeaten with wins at Memphis, at home against Wisconsin, and over Villanova on a neutral court. Not a bad start at all. Is Blake Griffin still eligible or something?
USC (6-2-1 ATS): The team has gotten off to a solid start, with wins and covers against Wichita State, New Mexico and UCSB. They are 7-2 straight up. Don't get too excited that Andy Enfield is turning things around in his third season with the Trojans. He started out 6-3 last year but finished off the season with 15 losses in his last 18 games.
Michigan State (6-2 ATS): It's not really a surprise that the Spartans are a pretty good team yet again. They are undefeated through nine games, including wins over Louisville and Kansas to their credit. They didn't quite cover against Louisville - winning by just four as six-point favorites - and fell just short of the cover by Boise State, too.
Kentucky (2-6 ATS): In their third game of the year Kentucky won and covered against Duke. Then things fell off the rails for bettors. They went on to fail to cover their next five games, capped by their loss at UCLA last time out. It hasn't been ideal for bettors, but it rarely is for a team as public and successful as Kentucky.
Georgia (1-5 ATS): The Bulldogs have lost three of their six games and failed to cover five times. They haven't covered in their last four games. No mystery to their issues here - they just aren't very good at basketball.
LSU (0-4 ATS): Ben Simmons is a ridiculous talent who, if anything, is outpacing the massive hype surrounding him. His statistical performances have been insane. He's just not good enough to cover spreads, it turns out. They are 4-3 straight up, but that's against a weak schedule. Their three losses came in consecutive games.
Texas (1-5 ATS): Shaka Smart is a very good coach and a strong long-term hire at Texas. It's just going to take a while for him to get things rolling like he would like. Their lone cover came against Washington - a team which, oddly, they have already played twice this season.
Wisconsin (3-6 ATS): There is drama around whether this will be coach Bo Ryan's last season in Madison or not. The way the team has gotten out of the gate, though, he may be ready to go no matter who winds up replacing him. They are a disappointing 6-3 straight up and have failed to cover in three of those wins. The positive factor, though, is that they have two nice wins and covers in their last two games.
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