Free College Basketball Picks: Arizona Wildcats Futures Odds
by George Monroy - 10/18/2013
The Arizona Wildcats are expected to be a major contender to win a national title this season and are receiving the eighth-best odds in the nation. The team is coming off of a solid postseason NCAA Tournament run where they reached the Sweet 16 and were eliminated by the Ohio State Buckeyes in a three-point game that came down to the final few possessions. The Wildcats have not made a Final Four appearance since 2001 and last won a national title in 1997. However, the team has had a steady stream of postseason results over the last 17 years since their last title and has made five Elite Eight appearances and eight Sweet 16 berths during that span.
The Wildcats are expected to be the premier team in the Pac-12 and will be placing an experienced squad on the floor this season. Arizona may be one of those schools that most bettors overlook when thinking about the national title picture, and that might add extra value on their futures odds and game day spreads. Let’s take a closer look at the Arizona Wildcats and figure out just how good they will be this season.
Arizona title odds: +1500
The Wildcats finished last season with a 27-8 record and were ranked Nos. 14 and 21 in the Coaches and AP polls, respectively. The team was eventually seeded sixth in the West Region and had a solid postseason run. Arizona is expected to improve this year and is the favorite to win the Pac-12, according to most college basketball experts. The Wildcats hit the recruiting jackpot when forward Aaron Gordon decided to attend the school. The freshman is already the favorite to win the Pac-12 Player of the Year.
Arizona also added highly-recruited transfer T.J McConnell, who many believe is the best defensive guard in the nation. The team is expected to have a solid lineup that includes former McDonald’s All-America forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. The Wildcats may have lost three of their top four scorers from last season, but they seem to have moved on without missing a beat. Arizona may not be the most talented team in the nation—that label is reserved for Kentucky—but they are near the top of the list. Getting 15/1 on Arizona to win the national title is a solid wager to make, especially since a less-talented Wildcats team was able to make the Sweet 16 last year.
The Wildcats starting line up will be:
T.J. McConnell, point guard
Nick Johnson, shooting guard
Aaron Gordon, small forward/guard
Brandon Ashley, power forward
Kaleb Tarzcewski, center
The team will have room to play around with its rotation and could play small ball and have Gordon start at the power forward position and help move the ball up and down the floor. If Arizona decides to slow down the tempo and play a post-up style then the team will have Ashley start at the power forward position and move Gordon to the wing. The Wildcats believe they are one the most skilled teams in the nation and can match up against any style of basketball their opponents present to them.
Arizona might not be a great ATS team this year. Since they are expected to be a major contender, their spreads will probably be overvalued by the oddsmakers, and the team might have trouble covering them. Last season the Wildcats had a 17-16 ATS record and where a horrendous 4-7 ATS on the road. Betting on college basketball spreads is always a tricky proposition because the well-known teams always have the most overvalued lines. Arizona will be very good this year, but chances are they will not cover many spreads and end the year with a .500 ATS record.
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