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The Prodigal Sons of College Basketball Sports Betting

Your team could have gone from college basketball betting favorite to NCAA basketball betting underdog – and vice versa – depending on which players decided to not to walk down the Yellow Brick Road and instead returned to school.

 Arizona Wildcats

The Wildcats lost Pac-12 All-Freshman team and First-team All-Pac-12 Lauri Markkanen and, more importantly, the charismatic enigma that is Chance Comanche, but Allonzo Trier never even considered declaring for the draft. Trier was the 2017 Pac 12 Most Outstanding Player even though he missed 19 games due to a suspension.

North Carolina

The Tar Heels pretty much rebounded their way to the NCAA national championship, which is why the departures of big men Kennedy Meeks and Tony Bradley are such a blow to the school’s chances of repeating – especially Bradley, who was expected to have more of an starting role next season. Add – or subtract – to 2017 ACC Player of the Year Justin Jackson and the Heels are in deep trouble.

Oregon Ducks

Jordan Bell, Dillon Brooks and Tyler Dorsey all declared for the draft but at least had the decency to sign agents immediately, so as to give their former head coach Dana Altman time to start looking for replacements such as Elijah Brown who transferred from New Mexico, where he averaged 18.8 points per game.

Michigan State Spartans

Big Ten Freshman of the Year Miles Bridge’s decision to remain in East Lansing arguably and single-handedly turned MSU into the college basketball sports betting favorites to win the 2018 NCAA tournament championship. Josh Langford and Nick Ward will return as well and be joined by five-star recruit Jaren Jackson Jr.

Kentucky Wildcats

The Wildcats are second on the NCAA basketball betting oddsboards even though Hamidou Diallo – of whom draft scouts said he could have been first round pick in the draft in spite of playing a grand total of zero games – almost gave John Calipari a heart attack by waiting until Wednesday’s midnight deadline to announce his return. Conversely, De’Aaron Fox, Malik Monk, Bam Adebayo, and Isaiah Briscoe all gave notice well in advance of their moving on to the greener pastures of the NBA.

UCLA Bruins

The Bruins are an example of a combination of planning and luck. On the one hand, they knew Lonzo Ball, T.J. Leaf and Ike Anigbogu would leave sooner than later, and recruited accordingly. On the other, they had no substitutes for Thomas Welsh or guard Aaron Holiday, but luckily for UCLA both decided to further their educations.


The Cougars’ NCAA basketball betting weren’t that good to begin with, and then they lost their best player Eric Mika. The center is not expected to set the NBA on fire, so he could have done head coach Dave Rose a solid and stay for his junior year. However, Mika is living life on the fast lane; married at 22 and having already served as a missionary for two years. As a result, BYU has lost his 20.3 points and 9.2 rebounds per game as well as much of its college basketball sports betting stock.