NCAA Futures: Purdue is the +700 ‘chalk’

NCAA Futures: Purdue is the +700 ‘chalk’

As we head into the first weekend of February, FanDuel has Purdue (20-2 straight up, 13-8-1 against the spread) listed as the +700 ‘chalk’ to win the 2024 NCAA Tournament.

The Boilermakers, who became the only the second #1 seed in NCAA Tournament history to lose in the opening round when they were shocked by Fairleigh Dickinson last year, will take a six-game winning streak into Madison to face Wisconsin at 1:00 p.m. Eastern on Sunday. They’re ranked #2 in both the NET rankings and at KenPom.

According to KenPom, Matt Painter’s team will be favored by at least eight points in seven of its last nine games. The lone exceptions are one-point favorite roles for Purdue in road games at Wisconsin and at Illinois. The Badgers will get another shot at the Boilermakers in the regular-season finale at Mackey Arena.

There are seven teams who have odds inside of 20/1 at FanDuel. Those schools are UConn (+850), Houston (+850), North Carolina (14/1), Tennessee (14/1), Arizona (16/1), Auburn (16/1) and Alabama (20/1).

Dan Hurley’s team has a solid chance at repeating as national champions. UConn (19-2 SU, 12-9 ATS) is ranked #3 at KenPom and #4 in the NET rankings.

Like Purdue, KenPom has the Huskies forecasted as favorites in their final 10 regular-season games. However, they’re only one-point favorites in road games at Creighton (Feb. 20) and at Marquette (March 6).

UConn could get tested in Saturday’s game at St. John’s. The Huskies actually face Marquette twice, hosting the Golden Eagles on Feb. 17.

Dan Hurley’s team is ranked #3 nationally in offensive efficiency and #23 in defensive efficiency at KenPom. The ‘over’ has hit in back-to-back games for the Huskies and is on a 6-2 run to improve to 11-9-1 overall.

Houston (19-2 SU, 11-9-1 ATS) lost its first two Big 12 road games in its initial season in the league after moving over from the American Athletic Conference, but the Cougars have bounced back to win five straight games.

They currently own a one-half game lead over Iowa St. and Texas Tech in the Big 12 standings. Kelvin Sampson’s bunch is 6-2 in Big 12 play, while Kansas and TCU are merely one game behind at 5-3 in conference action.

Houston is ranked #1 in both the NET rankings and at KenPom. The Cougars are 7-2 in nine games against KenPom Top-50 competition, including neutral-court scalps of #40 Utah, #26 Dayton and #46 Texas A&M. They own road wins at #39 Xavier, #9 BYU and #35 Texas, in addition to a home victory over #27 Texas Tech.

Eight of UH’s next 10 games are against KenPom Top-50 opponents, including two dates with Kansas that start with Saturday’s trip to Allen Fieldhouse.

North Carolina (17-4 SU, 12-8-1 ATS) has a 1.5-game advantage over Duke in the ACC standings going into their first scrap of the year Saturday in Chapel Hill. The Tar Heels fell victim to the look-ahead spot in Tuesday’s 74-73 loss at Ga. Tech.

The Yellow Jackets ended UNC’s 10-game winning streak. Duke (16-4 SU, 10-10 ATS) is 7-2 in ACC play, losing at Ga. Tech and at home vs. Pitt. The Blue Devils have won three straight games, but they’re mired in a 2-5 ATS slide.

Tennessee (15-5 SU, 8-11-1 ATS) had its four-game winning streak snapped Tuesday in a 63-59 home loss to South Carolina as a 14-point home favorite. That leaves the Volunteers in bounce-back mode ahead of Saturday’s night’s slugfest at Kentucky.

Rich Barnes and John Calipari saw their respective squads fall victim to look-ahead situations this week. Kentucky allowed a late lead to get away at home Wednesday vs. Florida.

The Gators’ Walter Clayton Jr. buried a tying trey with three seconds remaining to force overtime. Then in the extra session, Clayton hit another big triple and UF captured a 94-91 win at Rupp Arena as a 7.5-point road underdog.

Arizona (16-5 SU, 14-7 ATS) had neutral-court losses to Purdue and FAU in non-conference play, but it’s three recent Pac-12 road setbacks that are a bit concerning. The Wildcats lost 100-82 as 12.5-point road ‘chalk’ at Stanford on New Year’s Eve.

They’ve also lost at Washington St. (73-70) as nine-point road favorites and at Oregon St. (83-80) as 18.5-point favorites. Nevertheless, Arizona is still #4 at KenPom with five wins over Top-25 foes.

Tommy Lloyd’s team has home wins over #11 Wisconsin and #25 Colorado, in addition to a road win at #12 Duke and neutral-court victories over #8 Alabama and #17 Michigan St.

Auburn (17-4 SU, 13-6-2 ATS) avoided a three-game losing streak by thumping Vanderbilt 81-54 on Wednesday as an 18-point home favorite. Bruce Pearl’s team had lost at Alabama and at Mississippi St. last week. The Tigers will get challenged again Saturday at Ole Miss, where the Rebels will be looking to avenge an 82-59 loss at Auburn last month.

Alabama (15-6 SU, 12-8-1 ATS) is on a three-game winning streak that’s given it sole possession of first place in the SEC. The Crimson Tide, which is a +185 favorite to win the SEC regular-season title at FanDuel, will take a 7-1 league record into Saturday’s home game vs. Mississippi St.

Duke, Kentucky, Iowa St. and Wisconsin share 25/1 odds to win the 2024 NCAA Tournament. Then there’s Marquette and Kansas at 30/1, followed by Illinois (35/1), Baylor (40/1), Creighton (45/1) and BYU (50/1).

The next-shortest odds belong to Michigan St. (55/1), FAU (60/1), TCU (75/1), New Mexico (75/1) and Dayton (75/1). Eight teams – Gonzaga, San Diego St., Northwestern, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Mississippi St., Colorado and Utah – are sporting 90/1 odds.

There are nine teams who share 100/1 odds, and that group includes Ole Miss, Cincinnati, Nebraska, Utah St., Texas, St. John’s, Oregon, Colorado St. and Texas A&M.

I own future tickets on UConn (12/1), FAU (45/1) and Clemson (70/1). As the odds are today (2/2/24), I believe the teams with the most value are Kansas (30/1), Illinois (35/1), Creighton (45/1) and FAU (60/1).

The Blue Jays lost a 57-56 heartbreaker to San Diego St., the eventual runner-up, in the Elite Eight of last year’s Tournament. Likewise, the Owls lost to the Aztecs by one point on a buzzer beater at the Final Four.

KU also lost by one to Arkansas in the Round of 32 last season.

FanDuel has Purdue star center Zach Edey as the enormous -750 favorite to win the Wooden Award, which goes to the nation’s premier player every year. The 7-foot-4 Edey is averaging 23.4 points, 11.6 rebounds and 2.3 blocked shots per game.

The next-shortest odds belong to UNC’s RJ Davis (20/1), Tennessee’s Dalton Knecht (30/1) and KU’s Hunter Dickinson (30/1).