With Hunter Dickinson’s official return to Michigan, sportsbooks list the Wolverines as one of the favorites to win the 2021-2022 national title.
At DraftKings MI Sportsbook, only Gonzaga (+700) has better odds than Michigan (+800) to win it all.
Michigan online sports betting could see a boost during the college basketball season and especially with March Madness. The Michigan gambling market has been off to a strong start since launching in late January.
Dickinson, who was named All-Big Ten second team and the conference’s freshman of the year, initially planned to stay in the NBA Draft. But being further down on teams’ projected draft boards and the chance to compete for a national title were among the key factors that led to him returning to Ann Arbor.
“I’ve always said from the start that I didn’t want to be a mid-to-late second-round pick,” Dickinson told the media on Wednesday. “I just wanted to stay true to myself and stay true to what I was saying from the beginning: That I wanted to be a first-round pick. Coming back, if that’s what I’ve got to do, then that’s what I’ve got to do.”
“I think just the combination of where NBA teams had me slotted to get drafted and then also the combination of being able to experience a normal year at Michigan, those two things were probably the biggest influencers for me and things that ultimately led to my decision to come back for another year.”
Dickinson averaged 14.1 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 26 minutes per game while making 61% of his shot attempts. The 7-foot center was one of the premier low-post players in the country and relied on his left hook inside. But the NBA has more of a space-and-pace style compared to the NCAA, and teams want to see Dickinson exhibit the ability to shoot outside and defend screens on the perimeter. Last season Dickinson didn’t make a 3-pointer.
“(Teams) wanted to see me shoot the ball how I was shooting the ball in their workouts for an entire NCAA season,” Dickinson said about the feedback he received. “They wanted to see more reps from me out there, just to continue to show the ability to switch on ball screens and stuff like that and continue to use my right hand. Those would probably be the top three things that I heard.”
Dickinson worked out for the Oklahoma City Thunder and Sacramento Kings. He mentioned he discussed possible workouts with other teams following the G League camp but declined after he was planning to return to Michigan.
Despite losing projected lottery selection Franz Wagner and projected second-round picks Isaiah Livers and Chaundee Brown, Michigan is at the top of the futures market thanks to its No. 1 recruiting class. Caleb Houstan is projected to be a top 10 pick in next year’s draft, while Moussa Diabate and Kobe Bufkin were also McDonald’s All-Americans along with Houstan. Frankie Collins was also the No. 36 recruit in the 2022 class.
Michigan Odds to Make the Final Four
Betting markets remain limited with the season months away, but one other future DraftKings has listed is making the Final Four. Michigan also has the second-best odds in that category at +175. Gonzaga (+150), Kansas (+200) and Villanova (+200) are the other leading favorites.
Dickinson could end up as one of the sports betting favorites to win the John R. Wooden Award, given to the nation’s top college basketball player. Iowa center Luka Garza earned the award last season.
The upcoming college basketball campaign will be the first full season with online sports betting in Michigan. On Jan. 22, the state launched its mobile sports wagering and MI internet casino betting platforms.