Juwan Howard and the Michigan basketball team found themselves in plenty of headlines Monday.
They also found themselves still hanging onto a spot in the top 10. Although, not exactly the one they were hoping for.
The Wolverines ranked No. 10 nationally in percentage of futures bets placed by DraftKings users as of Monday night. Their +10000 odds by far are the highest among the top 10, but 3% of the national handle and 5% of the bets are backing them to cut down the nets on the first Monday in April.
Gonzaga overwhelming favorite to win National title
The rest of the top 10 makes a lot of sense, as it is made up of teams found at the top of the rankings.
Gonzaga has the shortest odds at DraftKings Sportsbook MI (+400) and everywhere else ( being the most favorable number). It also is being heavily bet on by DraftKings users, with 23% of the handle and 15% of the bets. No other team is above 8% in either.
The No. 1 team in the country is followed by Kentucky (8% handle, 7% bets), Purdue (7%, 7%), Duke (7%, 9%), Kansas (7%, 5%), Auburn (6%, 7%), Arizona (4%, 5%), Baylor (4%, 4%) and UCLA (3%, 4%).
UCLA’s odds are closest to Michigan at +2500. The Bruins are also the only team on the list — other than Michigan — outside the Associated Press Top 10. They’re No. 12.
Michigan is well outside the top 25, but opened the season ranked in the top 10 and with odds near +1000.
Sports bettors making their selection in the preseason no doubt play a big role in this. And, perhaps as the odds slipped and the Wolverines began to show signs of life, bettors jumped on board. They did smack Purdue, after all.
But things look much different now.
Michigan basketball firmly on the bubble
The NCAA Tournament is crazy, and with its one-and-done format, any team in the field can make a run.
But those backing Michigan are likely going to have to sweat out Selection Sunday just to have a chance to sweat out their bet during the tournament.
Michigan is 14-11 heading into its final five games of the season, and while many of the computer rankings used in selecting the field look favorably on the Wolverines, bracketologists around the country have them riding the line of in or out.
The majority of brackets listed in the Bracket Matrix include the Wolverines in their projections, as of Tuesday. Nearly all of them have Michigan seeded 10, 11 or 12, either in the play-in games, or just on the safe side of them.
Michigan’s final five games are not easy, as they will face Rutgers, Illinois, Michigan State, Iowa and Ohio State. Fortunately for the Wolverines, the first four are at home.
Unfortunately, they’ll have to play them without Howard on the sidelines, as his actions following the Wisconsin loss Sunday earned him a five-game suspension. They’ll also be without forwards Moussa Diabate and Terrance Williams against Rutgers, as they were each given a one-game suspension for their roles in the fight.
Howard will be back in time for the Big Ten Tournament, which is certain to be very important for the Wolverines’ tournament hopes.