We’re now 10(!) days away from the official start of practice for the 2017-18 college basketball season. Last week we were treated to the official release of the Big East basketball schedule that kicks off in late December and carries us through the first weekend in March. You’ve probably already read some previews of the Big East from other publications, but what you probably haven’t seen is a Big East gambling preview. Bully for you because you’ve stumbled onto exactly that here at BECB! I’m going to be using odds from this site that starts off by saying “any discussion about the 2017-18 basketball season has to begin with the Big East.” Oh, I like that. See, ESPN. Not quite so requiem-ey now! But I digress.
2018-18 Big East Odds & Props
Favorite to Win the Big East: Villanova 7/3
No real surprise there. Villanova has gone 63-9 the last 4 seasons in Big East play. They have either won the regular season title in each of those 4 seasons. The Wildcats return point guard Jalen Brunson and wing Mikal Bridges, plus they get back the services of Phil Booth who missed all but 3 games last season due to a knee injury and redshirt freshman Omari Spellman will make his debut after being ruled as a partial qualifer last season. Expect Villanova to continue to be the favorite until they don’t get the job done.
Least Favorite to Win the Big East: Georgetown 50/1
Again, no real surprise. The Hoyas are coming off a bad stretch of seasons that resulted in the separation of John Thompson III from the head coaching position. Patrick Ewing returns to campus as the head coach and the legendary big man has his massive hands full to rebuild the roster and talent base at Georgetown. The Hoyas are playing one of the worst non-conference schedules in American history this season, but they won’t be able to hide from Big East play.
Best Value to Win the Big East: Providence 11/1
The Friars return everyone from last season’s team that won their final six Big East contests to close out the regular season 10-8 and in 4th place after tiebreakers. They also add a top-40 recruit in Makai Ashton-Langford, a top-75 big man in Nate Watson and reports from Friartown indicate Emmitt Holt and Rodney Bullock have improved. That’s good enough for me to throw down a few shekles at 11/1.
Over/Under Big East Teams in the 2018 NCAA Tournament: 5.5
The league sent 7 teams to the Big Dance last season. The seasons before that saw 5, 6 and 4 teams, respectively, get invites to the Tournament. I think Providence, Seton Hall, Villanova and Xavier are virtual locks to make it in 2018. I think two from the group of Butler, Creighton and Marquette get in, so I’ll take the over.
Favorite to Win Big East Player of the Year: Jalen Brunson (Villanova) 4/1
The best player on the best team tends to win these things, but that hasn’t always been the case in recent Big East history with Kris Dunn winning the award twice while the Friars finished 4th in 2015 and 5th in 2016. While Brunson may very well end up being the best player on the best team, I’m not sold he wins the POY like his teammate Josh Hart did a season ago. 4/1 shows you that he isn’t a clear-cut runaway and for that reason, I’d rather plunk some coin down on a better value...
Best Value to Win Big East Player of the Year: Trevon Bluiett 9/1
Bluiett was arguably the league’s best player last season before being slowed and ultimately missing some time with a bum ankle. Bluiett led the league in 3-point field goals last season, finished 7th in total rebounds and led the league in minutes played per game. He gets to the line, shoots it from deep and is a matchup nightmare. Before having a bad shooting game in the Elite 8 against National Runner-Up Gonzaga, Bluiett averaged 25.0 ppg and shot 48% from beyond the arc in wins over Maryland, Florida State and Arizona.