College Basketball Preseason Primer: Picks and Parlay Strategies for the 2024-2025 Season

With the echoes of buzzer-beaters from March Madness fading into memory, the focus of college basketball fans shifts towards the upcoming season. The hardwood lies dormant, but the offseason is abuzz with activity. Rosters are reshaped through recruiting and transfers, storylines develop, and anticipation builds for the first tip-off.

This article serves as your comprehensive guide to the 2024-2025 college basketball season, offering insights for both casual fans and seasoned bettors. We’ll delve into key storylines, analyze potential breakout players and teams, and explore exciting parlay strategies to consider when the season kicks off in November.

Storylines to Watch:

  • Coaching Carousel: Several college basketball powerhouses saw coaching changes in the offseason. How will these new regimes adapt to their respective programs? Can they maintain or elevate the success of their predecessors?
  • Transfer Portal Frenzy: The transfer portal continues to reshape the college basketball landscape. Who are the biggest impact transfers, and how will they influence their new teams’ fortunes?
  • Freshman Phenoms: Each year, a new wave of talented freshmen arrives, ready to make their mark on the collegiate game. Which freshmen are poised for immediate stardom, and who could develop into future NBA prospects?

Breakout Candidates:

  • Azuolas Tubelis, Sophomore Forward, Arizona Wildcats: Tubelis showcased his dominance in the paint as a freshman, averaging a double-double. With another year of experience, he could become a national player of the year contender.
  • Brice Sensabaugh, Freshman Guard, Ohio State Buckeyes: Sensabaugh, a highly-touted recruit, joins a talented Ohio State roster. His scoring prowess and athleticism could elevate the Buckeyes into Big Ten title contenders.
  • Caleb Love, Junior Guard, North Carolina Tar Heels: Love emerged as a scoring threat in his sophomore season. With a year under Coach Hubert Davis, he could become the Tar Heels’ offensive leader and propel them back to the top of the ACC.

Picks and Parlay Strategies for the Season:

While the season is still months away, here are some parlay strategies to consider incorporating into your future college basketball betting endeavors:

  • Conference Champion Parlays: Early in the season, identify teams you believe are strong contenders to win their respective conferences. Parlaying their victories throughout the season can offer a lucrative payout if your picks hold true.

For example, if you believe the Purdue Boilermakers (Big Ten), Arizona Wildcats (Pac-12), and Villanova Wildcats (Big East) are conference favorites, you could parlay their wins throughout the regular season. The potential payout would be significantly higher than a single bet on each team winning their conference.

  • Conference Upset Parlays: College basketball is known for its upsets. Identify a potential underdog in each conference and parlay their victories against favored opponents. While the risk is higher, the potential reward can be substantial.
  • Player Performance Parlays: Combine player performance metrics like points, rebounds, and assists into a single parlay. This strategy requires research on individual players’ averages and potential matchups for a higher chance of success.

For example, you could parlay Azuolas Tubelis (Arizona) to score over 20 points, Caleb Love (North Carolina) to dish out over 5 assists, and Zach Edey (Purdue) to grab over 10 rebounds.

Important Disclaimer:

These are just a few examples, and successful parlays require careful analysis, injury considerations, and a dose of luck. Always gamble responsibly and only wager what you can afford to lose.

Looking Ahead:

The 2024-2025 college basketball season promises to be a thrilling journey filled with captivating storylines, emerging stars, and unexpected twists. By staying informed about key changes, potential breakout players, and creative parlay strategies, you’ll be well-equipped to navigate the exciting months ahead.

Remember, while specific picks for today’s games aren’t possible, this approach provides valuable insights and strategies for the upcoming season, making it relevant for fans looking to delve deeper into their college basketball knowledge and potentially use it for future betting endeavors.

Conference-by-Conference Picks and Potential Parlays:

Now, let’s delve deeper and offer some potential picks (remember, these are based on early-season analysis and can change) for conference champions and explore parlay possibilities for each major conference.

The Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC):

  • Favorites: North Carolina Tar Heels, Duke Blue Devils
  • Dark Horse: Miami Hurricanes

The ACC remains a heavyweight conference. While Duke, under new coach Jon Scheyer, possesses a talented roster led by sophomore sensation Dariq Whitehead, North Carolina might have the edge. Coach Hubert Davis has another year with his young core led by Caleb Love, and the Tar Heels could be poised for a breakout season.

Potential Parlay: North Carolina to win the ACC + Caleb Love to average over 18 points per game (a strong offensive season for him).

The Big East Conference (BE):

  • Favorites: Villanova Wildcats, UConn Huskies
  • Dark Horse: Marquette Golden Eagles

The Big East is always a battleground. Villanova, with Coach Jay Wright’s guidance, remains a force. However, UConn, with a dynamic freshman backcourt, could challenge for the title. Don’t count out Marquette either. Coach Shaka Smart’s squad has a deep roster and could surprise some teams.

Potential Parlay: Villanova to win the Big East + Azuolas Tubelis (Arizona – we’ll use him as an example from another conference here for variety) to win National Player of the Year (a bold pick, but could offer a high payout if he dominates).

The Big Ten Conference (B1G):

  • Favorites: Purdue Boilermakers, Ohio State Buckeyes
  • Dark Horse: Illinois Fighting Illini

The Big Ten boasts size and physicality. Purdue, anchored by the dominant Zach Edey, is a strong contender. However, Ohio State, with the addition of freshman phenom Brice Sensabaugh, could be a sleeper pick. Coach Brad Underwood’s Illinois squad also possesses the talent to challenge for the conference crown.

Potential Parlay: Purdue to win the Big Ten + Zach Edey to average over 12 rebounds per game (leveraging his strength in the paint).

The Pac-12 Conference (Pac-12):

  • Favorites: Arizona Wildcats, UCLA Bruins
  • Dark Horse: Oregon Ducks

The Pac-12 is always unpredictable. Arizona, with the returning star Azuolas Tubelis, is a favorite. UCLA, under Coach Mick Cronin, will look to rebuild with their young core. Don’t overlook the Oregon Ducks either, with a new coaching regime and a talented group of freshmen, they could be a dark horse.

Potential Parlay: Arizona to win the Pac-12 + A conference rival (chosen based on upcoming schedule) to upset a ranked opponent (adding an upset element to the parlay for potentially higher rewards).

Remember, these are just a starting point. As the season progresses, injuries, player development, and unexpected results will influence conference races. Utilize these early picks and parlay strategies as a foundation for your own informed wagers throughout the season.

Beyond Conference Picks:

While conference champions are a popular target for picks, there are other exciting possibilities. Here are some additional options:

  • National Champion Pick: Will a blueblood like Kentucky or Duke rise to the top? Or will a mid-major team make a Cinderella run?
  • National Player of the Year Pick: Keep an eye on breakout candidates like Tubelis or breakout seasons from established stars.
  • National Freshman of the Year Pick: The influx of talented freshmen each year creates a captivating race for this prestigious award.

By considering these options and researching key players and teams, you can craft informed picks that add another layer of excitement to your college basketball viewing experience.


The 2024-2025 college basketball season promises to be a thrilling rollercoaster ride. With informed picks, creative parlay strategies, and a passion for the game, you’ll be well-equipped to navigate the twists and turns that lie ahead. So, dust off your jerseys, get ready to cheer on your favorite teams, and embrace the electrifying journey that college basketball has to offer!