Truly Terrible Bets

I know I am supposed to be leaving college basketball behind and focus on baseball or the NBA or the NHL or something, but I just can’t let it go quite yet. As I was taking one last look at things before moving on I came across the odds for the 2009 National Championship. Now, there are a lot of ridiculously bad bets out there, but none are any worse than these. They are full of sucker bets. Here are some of the more laughable:

The favorites – There is a three way tie at the top, with UCLA, Duke and North Carolina all at +650. Just think about that for a second. Duke was pretty terrible in the tournament, UCLA is losing Kevin Love and Darren Collison, and North Carolina will likely be without Psycho T and Ty Lawson. In other words, you can invest now on a team with a clear deficiency, and two others that will likely have their hearts ripped out of them, and if you are right then you get less than seven times your money a year from now. Where do I sign up?

Kansas State – The Wildcats are at 30/1. Huh? Michael Beasley is gone, and Bill Walker will quite possibly follow. That means they will start with 90 percent of their offense gone (and I am only partly exaggerating). I’m pretty sure that a team has to make the tournament in order to win it, so I don’t see how this makes any sense at all.

Michigan – My beloved Wolverines are at 100/1. Now my glasses are as rose-colored as they can be regarding my team, but this is absolutely laughable. The team was truly awful last year. John Beilein is only now starting to recruit his players, and he has very little existing talent to build on. As much as I wish it were different, I think that 100/1 more accurately represents their chances of making the tournament, never mind winning it.

Memphis – The should-be-champs are at 12/1. Derrick Rose and Chris Douglas-Roberts are likely gone, Joey Dorsey will graduate, and John Calipari is coveted by the Knicks. You would seriously have to be a moron to make this bet.

Syracuse – This one is bizarre, too. The Orange are at 15/1. Now, Johnny Flynn and Donte Greene are very nice players who will only improve this year (unless Greene stays in the draft – it’s questionable at this point), but the team hasn’t even made the tournament in two years, and none of next year’s recruits are can’t-miss blue chippers. Unless Carmelo Anthony has rediscovered eligibility this just isn’t going to happen.

Texas – The Longhorns are also at 15/1. Unlike everyone else on this list they could actually be decent value. Until the second that D.J. Augustin declares for the draft, that is. If he stays back another year, which seems somewhat unlikely, then this team could be the closest thing to a good bet on the board.

Arizona – The Wildcats underachieved this year, and only some of the problems can be attributed to the bizarre coaching soap opera. That will be remedied next year, but Lute Olson will have to figure out a way to make up for the loss of Jerryd Bayless and Chase Budinger. Olson is a legend, but he’s not good enough to make the 30/1 price attractive.

Florida – Let’s get this straight – the team didn’t make the tournament, the coach told anyone who would listen that he hated his players, and the team is once again going to be young, inexperienced, and full of questions. Does that sound like a team that is worthy of being the fourth choice in the country at 10/1?

UConn – The Huskies are at 15/1. Those odds are too low at the best of times, and will be truly ridiculous if Hasheem Thabeet declares for the draft. A guy that big who blocks shots as well as he does will be very attractive to NBA teams, so the temptation will be high.

Louisville – David Padgett is graduating. So is Juan Palacios. Earl Clark is likely to enter the draft. That’s a lot of holes to fill – too many to justify a 10/1 price.

Texas Tech – Bobby Knight didn’t exactly leave the cupboards full, and the Pat Knight era didn’t exactly get off to a running start. Sure, they are one of the longer prices on the board at 75/1, but does that really even come remotely close to reflecting the chances of a championship? Maybe if you add a couple of zeros.

The Field – You can bet every team not listed at 12/1 odds. Sounds like a bargain. Except that they list 57 teams including virtually every major conference contender and some mid-major contenders like BYU and Gonzaga. Unless you think that this is Stephen Curry’s year, or that Tubby Smith is going to perform a miracle in his second year at Minnesota, this is as bad as a bet can be.

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  1. At first glance West Virginia at 15-1, Purdue at 30-1, and Wisconsin at 40-1 look like some of the better future bets. I do agree with the bookmakers on Duke though, they should be the favorites.

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