Basketball season is inching ever-closer to officially tipping off, which means it must be time for the Vegas odds on title contenders to come out. And, lo and behold, here they are, courtesy of Bovada:
Michigan State 9/1
As you can see, the betting favorites contain a lot of the usual suspects; loaded with one of the greatest recruiting classes in hoops history, Kentucky is expected to easily rebound from last year's NIT sojourn. Kansas has their usual stock of blue-chip talents -- and they're bolstered by the addition of Canadian wunderkind Andrew Wiggins, the prohibitive favorite to be the #1 pick in next year's NBA Draft (literally; Bovada has him at -500 to be the top pick). Louisville has their own stable of thoroughbreds, led by Russ Smith, while Duke is reloading with another crop of annoyingly good players and soon-to-be lottery pick Jabari Parker. Michigan State rounds out the top five (and provides the Big Ten with its only representative) by bringing back almost all of last year's key players, including team leaders Gary Harris and Adriean Payne.
Iowa checks in with 50/1 odds to cut down the nets in April, identical odds to the likes of Wisconsin, Georgetown, Creighton, St. Louis, and VCU. That's not too shabby, especially since as recently as a couple of years ago, Iowa'ds odds at winning the title would have been LOL JUST BURN YOUR MONEY NOW. As far as how Iowa's odds compare to their B1G brethren...
Big Ten Odds
Michigan State 9/1
Ohio State 20/1
And as far as Iowa's odds in comparison to some of the other teams on Iowa's schedule (and potential teams on Iowa's schedules):
Notre Dame 100/1
Iowa State 150/1
What's do these odds mean? Not much, although they do play into something that's been becoming increasingly apparent as the preseason polls continue to trickle out: Tennessee could be pretty damn good this year. They might very well be the best (if Iowa doesn't get to play Kansas at the Battle 4 Atlantis event) or second-best (if Iowa does get to play Kansas at the Battle 4 Atlantis event). Regardless, we should probably pump the breaks a little on those visions of Iowa-Kansas in the finals of the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament on Saturday night; assuming Iowa gets by Xavier on Thursday night, Iowa will have a good test on their hands from (likely) Tennessee on Friday evening.
And, finally, Bovada also has odds on winning the Big Ten....
Michigan State 2/1
Ohio State 11/4
Penn State 50/1
Thoughts? Any odds that seem especially out of whack to you? Any you like a whole lot? Hit up the comments.