When I last wrote a post back in mid-May on who oddsmakers liked to win college basketball's 2010-11 national championship, Duke, Michigan State and Purdue were clear favorites.
Vegas still likes the Blue Devils and Spartans as we start the new season, but the picture behind them has changed dramatically.
Purdue has slipped from 12-1 odds to 20-1 as a result of Robbie Hummel's season-ending knee injury. Kansas State has soared to 12-1 after prognosticators anointed the Wildcats Big 12 favorites. And Kentucky (10-1) and North Carolina (18-1) have also risen, perhaps because of the promise of their talented freshmen and perhaps because of the wagers made by their rabid fan bases.
The most curious odds come farther down the chart.
Why is Louisville a 28-1 shot when there's a better chance of the Cardinals missing the tournament altogether than making a Final Four? And what's with UCLA rising to a 35-1 shot on the heels of a disastrous 14-18 season? And maybe most curiously, how is Big Ten doormat Michigan even listed on here at all considering the Wolverines have been a non-factor for more than a decade and would be lucky to avoid the bottom two spots in their conference this season?
Of course, this doesn't necessarily mean oddsmakers believe these teams will be better than prognosticators think this season. More likely, it just means more money will be wagered on recognizable teams like Louisville and UCLA than under-the-radar programs like Missouri or West Virginia.
Consider this post the second installment in a series on how Vegas views the national title picture. I'll check in a few more times leading up to the NCAA tournament and update the chart accordingly to reflect how the odds for the above teams have changed.
- Michigan State
- Robbie Hummel