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On the first day of the 2019-20 NCAA men’s basketball season, Michigan State is a slight Division I national championship favorite over Kansas and Kentucky.
The Spartans are the +550 favorites at the Caesars Sportsbook (bet $100 to win $550), with the Jayhawks and Wildcats trailing closely behind at +600.
Michigan State, which opened as the No. 1 team in the Associated Press’ Top 25 poll, will have an opportunity Tuesday night to further cement itself as the country’s best team. Tom Izzo’s squad plays Kentucky at New York’s Madison Square Garden in one of the year’s most highly anticipated matchups.
Xavier Tillman and reigning Big Ten Player of the Year Cassius Winston return from last year’s Spartans team, which won 32 games and reached the Final Four. Izzo has the pieces necessary to capture his second title, although Joshua Langford is out indefinitely with a foot injury.
Among the early contenders, no team is a bigger wild card than Memphis.
The Tigers won 22 games in Penny Hardaway’s first season as head coach, and the 48-year-old’s biggest success came on the recruiting trail as he assembled the No. 1 class in 247Sports’ composite rankings. The group includes James Wiseman and Precious Achiuwa, who were ranked first and 15th, respectively.
The 15-year NBA guard has shown he can sell prep stars on the general direction of the program. Now it’s up to the former Memphis basketball legend to show he can make the most of that talent on the floor.
The Tigers’ first test comes Nov. 12 when they play No. 15 Oregon in Portland.
Now, it has broken down Kansas vs. Duke. We can tell you it’s leaning under, but it’s also generated an extremely strong against the spread pick, saying one side of the spread cashes in nearly 70 percent of simulations. It’s only available at SportsLine.
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