NCAA Basketball Futures Wager: Purdue to Win the 2024 Championship

by Al McMordie

Saturday, Nov 04, 2023
Back in 2018, the Virginia Cavaliers were seeded #1 in the Men's NCAA basketball tournament, but became the first #1 seeded-team to lose to a #16 seed.  Maryland-Baltimore County was a whopping 20.5-point underdog, but upset the Cavaliers by a staggering 20 points.  That following season, I had Virginia as my futures play at 22-1 odds, as I thought the ignominy of losing to a #16 seed would fuel Tony Bennett's men throughout the season, and catapult them to a National Championship.  Indeed, it was my favorite futures play of any I have made in my 45 years of sports handicapping.  Sure enough, the Cavaliers played great that season, finished with a 29-3 record in the regular season, and were ranked as the #1 team for much of the season.  Not bad value for a 22-1 ticket.  They then finished off the job by winning their six games in the Tourney (and I pressed them every game along the way by playing them on the moneyline).

I thought I would never have another opportunity to take a team on a futures bet that was coming off a loss to a #16 seed.  And that was for two reasons.  First, I didn't think I would see such an upset again in my lifetime (I'm old).  And, second, one not only has to get a #1 seed to lose to a #16 seed, but that team has to also have a reasonable chance to win the following season.  But, lo and behold, the Purdue Boilermakers have given us this opportunity.  They were seeded #1 last year, and got smacked, 63-58, by the 23-point underdog, Fairleigh Dickinson Knights (who almost pulled the trick 38 years earlier when they narrowly lost to #1-seeded Michigan, 59-55).  There was a chance that center Zach Edey would depart for the NBA.  But he elected to return to West Lafayette, and that cemented Purdue as a National Title contender.

Matt Painter's team returns nine of its 10 rotation players from last season.  Only Brandon Newman (6 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 1.1 apg) has departed.  The Boilers will also welcome two new players in Myles Colvin and Lance Jones.  Colvin is a 6'6" freshman guard with NBA potential, while Jones transferred from Southern Illinois, where he poured in 13.8 ppg and pulled down 3.1 boards last season.

I like Painter as a coach (notwithstanding his post-season failures), and believe that Purdue will earn a #1 seed (they're ranked #3 in the preseason poll).  Currently, Purdue is 15-1 at BetMGM.  Take the Boilermakers to win the National Championship.  

Good luck, as always...
Al McMordie

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