The Texas futures bet right now for them to win the title is at 8:1. This is for the consensus No. 2 team in the nation right now, just behind Kansas. And speaking of the Jayhawks, in comparison, the NCAA basketball odds on them right now is 3:1. So depending on your take on the two teams, the Longhorns present a better risk/return proposition than even the beast of the Big 12.
But should you take this bet, if you can still find it? After all, it’s pretty early in the season, even if Texas as jumped out to a 5-0 start. The experts seem to think so, the team even earned a No. 1 vote so far.
Here’s the case for Texas being the best team in the country. Damien James at guard and Dexter Pittman at center. James is currently average a double-double of points and rebounds, and Pittman is contributing about 15 points per game himself.
The case against? Varez Ward’s knee injury is going to hurt severely, and not only him. The sophomore wasn’t adding a huge serving of offense, but he was leading the team with steals and cementing depth on the team before he hit the floor earlier this week. Now Texas hasn’t played since he went down, but their next test is against 2-2 USC, who’s average almost 16 points per game less than Texas’ impressive 80.
But nobody cares about USC right now. We want to know how Texas basketball stacks up against the Jawhawks. We’ll have to wait until Feb. 8 for that matchup, so for now we’re relegated to comparing the two on paper…or….digitally. Kansas is averaging an astounding 92 points per game, and outscoring their opponents by almost 40, proving that they’re taking care of business at both ends of the floor. They’re scary talented, they can run with anyone, and they’re dangerous at any stretch of a game. Plus they’re supremely confident right now, something that won’t come back down to earth until (or if) they lose their first game.
And no, it’s not just a two-team race, even in December. Nova, Purdue and Kentucky are making waves, but I don’t think they have enough firepower to take a shot at either Big 12 team right now.
In a head-to-head matchup, Kansas would have to focus on containing Pittman, as they’re weaker at center than Texas. But you look at the lineups and realize KU has 4 players average double-digits right now, and that’s just too much for any team to account for on a given night.
So Texas at 8:1 looks like a nice bet, and it may very well prove to be a winner, but when the one team above them is Kansas, I can’t endorse sinking a large sum of money in the idea that Texas will walk away as champs in March.