Underrated college basketball teams to bet this season
College basketball season is almost upon us, meaning it's time to get back to betting.
With the AP Poll and KenPom's rankings being released in recent days, bettors are now able to get a proper barometer on how experts see teams across the country.
Here are some of our favorite underrated high-major programs to bet this season.
Oregon (13th in AP poll, 29th in KenPom)
After losing Chris Duarte and Eugene Omoruyi, Oregon may seem overrated entering the season thanks to its inclusion in the AP poll. However, a mix of star power, depth, and internal development could make the Ducks a great team to back.
Having faith in Oregon means believing in point guard Will Richardson. The senior was excellent in 2019-20, averaging 11 points on a 48/47/85 shooting split. But he didn't take a leap forward last season after missing the first 12 games of the campaign. Now that he's the clear leader, look for Richardson to make a push for Pac-12 Player of the Year.
Additionally, coach Dana Altman used the transfer portal to add several high-level pieces, including guards De'Vion Harmon (Oklahoma) and Jacob Young (Rutgers), as well as forward Quincy Guerrier (Syracuse). This is all before mentioning five-star big man Nate Bittle, who should play a role from the jump.
Oregon's core nucleus matches up well against almost any team in college basketball, yet the Ducks are ranked a tier below the elite. Get on them early before Richardson and Co. are no longer a hidden West Coast secret.
Oklahoma State (Honorable Mention in AP poll, 37th in KenPom)
Life without first overall pick Cade Cunningham will make scoring way more difficult for Oklahoma State this season, but that doesn't mean bettors should count out this squad. With senior guard Isaac Likekele defending the point of attack and Memphis transfer Moussa Cisse protecting the paint, the Cowboys will be one of the nation's best defensive teams.
Offensively, the hope is that one of the many breakout candidates on this roster develops into a lead scoring option. Avery Anderson and Rondel Walker are both likely to pick up some of Cunningham's possessions in the backcourt. Forwards Matthew-Alexander Moncrieffe and Kalib Boone could blossom if their respective perimeter games develop. Bryce Thompson, a former five-star recruit, is perhaps the team's biggest wild card after he disappointed as a freshman with Kansas.
The equation is simple with Oklahoma State. The floor is high due to a tenacious defense and a roster loaded with talented athletes, but the ceiling could also skyrocket with so many potential breakout players waiting in the wings.
Arizona (Honorable Mention in AP poll, 47th in KenPom)
Only two of Arizona's six leading scorers from last season return, but those two form what might be the Pac-12's best guard-big combo. Azuolas Tubelis is an elite inside scorer who should command constant double teams down low. The fire to his ice is Canadian Bennedict Mathurin, a hyper-athletic guard and a potential first-rounder who shot 42% from 3-point range last season.
The performance of those around Tubelis and Mathurin will determine whether this team is rightfully ranked in the 40s or will be pushing into the top 25. Pelle Larsson and Kerr Kriisa are international sharpshooters, Christian Koloko and Oumar Ballo are massive defensive anchors, and Justin Kier and Dalen Terry are athletic wings.
The Wildcats having two experienced, known commodities on the floor is a bettor's dream. This shouldn't be a squad that falls flat against inferior competition, making Arizona a team worth targeting all season long.
Texas A&M (NR in AP Poll, 78th in KenPom)
A deep sleeper, Texas A&M hadn't finished above 91st in KenPom's rankings since 2017-18. Yet thanks to an almost entirely new starting five, the Aggies could surprise some folks in the SEC gauntlet this season.
The offense will surely run through Virginia Tech transfer Tyrece Radford and Wyoming transfer Marcus Williams. Both provide the scoring and playmaking chops that have been severely lacking throughout the first two seasons of the Buzz Williams era in College Station.
Defense and athleticism have never been issues for Texas A&M, and coach Williams will have the squad playing hard every night. If Radford and Williams can uplift the offense to an average level, look for this team to play spoiler against some of the upper-tier programs.