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The future is now, so here are some college basketball betting ideas

For the uninitiated: Tuesday is a holy day of sports obligation across the country. Time to blare Handel's Hallelujah Chorus and welcome the beginning of college basketball season.

The TV menu is positively delicious. ESPN has one of the top women's games of the season at 5 p.m. (No. 1 South Carolina vs. No. 5 N.C. State) followed by the Kansas/Michigan State and Duke/Kentucky men's doubleheader. The UConn men open vs. Central Connecticut at 6:30 on FS1.

Ah, but this, remember, is a gambling column. Hence, there is a wonderful opportunity to partake of perhaps gambling's most fun endeavor: futures.

That means bet on who you'll think will win the national championship. If you get it right, you might be able to rent a wing of Fort Knox.

Futures odds are like fertilizer. All over the place. I'm using the odds on the Vegas Insider web site. But you can bet these anywhere.

The following numbers are based on a $100 bet. Scale them up or down based on your wager.

Example: Vegas Insider has Gonzaga (gone-zagger, as Jim Calhoun used to say) as the "favorite" to win the national title at +600. That means a $100 bet wins you $600. A $1,000 bet wins you $6,000.

Here are some other interesting numbers:

Duke is +1,400 ($100 to make $1,400). Might the Blue Devils be inspired by Coach K's final season?

Purdue is +1,400. The Boilers aren't college hoops royalty. But they will contend in the Big 10 with arguably the country's best big man in Trevion Williams. They're my pick to win it all.

UConn is +5,000. No, really. A $100 bet on State U wins you $5,000. C'mon. What do you have to lose besides what you'd normally spend at Starbucks in a week?

Syracuse is +6,600. What if Buddy Boeheim gets hot in March?

Notre Dame is +10,000. Note: Notre Dame coach Mike Brey is a really good guy and not awash in the same sanctimony as many of his colleagues on that icky campus.

Boston College is +42,859. Not sure how they arrived at that number. But what if the Eagles' superior IQ level finally matches their play on the court?

You get the idea. Go bet your future today.

Here are our football best bets for the week:

• Chuck Banning: Oregon (-6.5 at Washington). Chuck says: "There's been plenty of chatter in UConn Twitter circles about making Joe Moorhead an offer he can't refuse to return as the new head coach. Don't hold your breath, but his offense is fun to watch. Ducks will put up 50 again."

• Ned Griffen: Buffalo (-14.5 at Jacksonville). Ned says: "I'm hell bent on winning one of these outrageous spreads."

• Vickie Fulkerson: at Baltimore (-5.5 over Vikings). Vickie says: "The Vikings lost last week despite the comforts of home to Dallas and immortal backup quarterback Cooper Rush. At Baltimore? I don't see this happening."

• Dave Davis: Patriots (-3.5 at Carolina). Dave says: "Tom Brady has proven that he can win without Bill Belichick. But, you know what? Belichick looks like he's getting this thing turned around a lot quicker than people thought he would. Love him or hate him. The man is a great coach."

• Gavin Keefe: Michigan State (-3 at Purdue). Gavin says: "After striking out on my last two best bet picks in the NFL, I'm going to try college. Let's go with Michigan State. No particular reason. I remember enjoying visiting East Lansing during a UConn basketball trip in 2000. The Huskies had a rough game, losing 85-66. My highlight was walking by Muhammad Ali, who attended the game, in the hallway. Talk about awestruck."

• Mikey D: North Carolina (-2.5 at home vs. No. 9 Wake Forest). Remember: bet lines, not games. This line is absurd. Wake is undefeated and playing for everything. Carolina is 4-4. The wiseguys are begging John Q. Public to bet Wake here. The undefeated No. 9 team in the country is an underdog to a .500 team? Makes no sense. That's why you bet Carolina.

• Bonus best bet: Purdue (+3 at home vs. No. 3 Michigan State). Again, who in their right mind bets Purdue here? The love fest for Michigan State rolls on after the win over Michigan last week. The Spartans, playing for a playoff spot, only have to win by 3 at halfway decent Purdue? They'll be betting Michigan State with both hands. That means you bet Purdue.

This is the opinion of Day sports columnist Mike DiMauro


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