Sports gambling is finally legalized in Connecticut and while you can’t bet on UConn in the state, we came up with our own, imaginary prop bets for the Huskies 2021-22 season.
Paige Bueckers: 20.0 points per game (20.0 last season)
Daniel Connolly: Over. Sure, Bueckers won’t have to score as much as she did last year with a better supporting cast, but she will because she’s just that good. UConn’s added depth will help Bueckers’ assist numbers but she’ll still be their go-to scorer.
Megan Gauer: Under. With the added depth on this season’s team, Bueckers doesn’t need to put up 20 points a night. While we’ll still see some high scoring games from Bueckers, I expect her overall shots to go down, and her assists to go up.
Dan Madigan: Over. I’m not betting against Paige Buckets, even if this team is deeper.
Ian Bethune: No doubt here, I’ll take the under. This team is loaded with depth and the burden isn’t on Paige to score this year. I agree with Megan that her assist numbers will definitely be higher this season. Expect at least one triple-double from Bueckers this season as well.
More starts: Olivia Nelson-Ododa or Dorka Juhász?
Connolly: For as good as Dorka Juhász looked in the exhibition, I don’t see Olivia Nelson-Ododa losing her starting job as a senior. That could be an unnecessary blow to her psyche and confidence. I think Juhász is more than okay with coming off the bench, can still contribute plenty and, if needed, play more minutes than Nelson-Ododa as a reserve, too.
Megan: I’ll be surprised if Olivia Nelson-Ododa comes out of the starting lineup. She’s earned that spot as a senior and, regardless of how good Juhász is, will still be a critical part of the Huskies’ frontcourt. I could see Juhász’ minutes surpassing Nelson-Ododa’s as the season goes on, but I still think Nelson-Ododa will start.
Madigan: I think Nelson-Ododa will get the edge more often than not, but Juhasz will be in the mix. If 3-point shooting remains an issue, Juhasz will get the nod and allow the Huskies to spread out for Bueckers to drive to the rack or kick out to a solid group of shooters in Juhasz, Fudd, Williams and Evina Westbrook.
Ian: The only way ONO comes out of the lineup is if she gets injured. She’s a much improved player and has added some range to her game where she could be an option from three or foul-line extended.
1.5 regular season losses (one last season)
Connolly: I’ll go over. I think UConn loses one of the South Carolina games and the Oregon road trip.
Megan: I’m taking the under here. I expect UConn will drop one of the two expected South Carolina matchups (either in the Battle 4 Atlantis or in Columbia), but don’t expect them to lose to anyone else on the schedule.
Madigan: Under. Both South Carolina games will likely be tight, especially since neither are at home, but I think UConn will have things chugging along by the time they head to Columbia at the end of January. A possible Battle 4 Atlantis matchup might be a loss, though.
Ian: Under. I’ll agree with Megan and Madigan here. I’d expect one of the expected two South Carolina games to be losses. If it happens to be in a potential Battle 4 Atlantis final, that will fuel the Huskies similar to how the Arkansas loss did last season.
5.5 starting lineup combinations (six last season)
Connolly: Hammer the over. UConn had a lot of small, nagging injuries last season and those appear to have continued into the preseason. I think those minor ailments will persistently hamper the Huskies throughout the year, which will result in a lot of different starting lineups. With such a deep rotation, Auriemma will also tinker with the starting five as the season progresses, too.
Megan: I’m going with the under here. It feels like four of the five spots are fairly locked in, and I expect we’ll see some frequent rotation in the final spot between Edwards, Muhl, Fudd, and maybe Juhász. Assuming everyone stays healthy, I don’t see more than five combinations being used.
Madigan: Under. I think Bueckers, Williams, Westbrook and Fudd are locked in as starters. I could see Aaliyah Edwards or Juhasz getting some starts here and there in place of Nelson-Ododa if she starts the season flat.
Ian: I’ll also take the under here. Bueckers, Williams, Westbrook, Nelson-Ododa are locks for every game. I could see Auriemma rotating between Juhász, Fudd, Edwards and Mühl for the fifth spot and it could be matchup dependent in the bigger games.
9.5 players with at least 10 minutes per game (eight last season)
Connolly: Over, just barely. While UConn’s rotation is still unclear, 10 players — Paige Bueckers, Caroline Ducharme, Aaliyah Edwards, Azzi Fudd, Aubrey Griffin, Dorka Juhász, Nika Mühl, Olivia Nelson-Ododa, Evina Westbrook and Christyn Williams — are clearly in Geno’s circle of trust. You can’t tell me one (or more) of those players won’t have an important role this season.
Megan: Over. The depth of this team is one of its greatest strengths. Assuming Aubrey Griffin gets healthy soon, I think the nine players we saw in the first half of the exhibition game and Griffin will all average over 10 minutes.
Madigan: Under. Even though this is maybe the deepest team I can remember on paper, no one loves a short rotation more than Auriemma. I can't see this number being any larger than eight.
Ian: This is a tough one. Madigan makes a great point in that Geno loves him a short rotation. I think what it comes down to is how Fudd and Ducharme play in the early big season games, which will dictate how many minutes players get. With that being said, I'll go under here.
1.5 All-Americans (one last season)
Connolly: Over. Bueckers will be a consensus pick for the second year in a row, Christyn Williams will join her and one of Juhász or Nelson-Ododa will get the nod as well.
Megan: Paige Bueckers is pretty much a lock for one All-American. I also expect that Christyn Williams is going to have an All-American caliber year, and the Huskies will have two on the postseason lists.
Madigan: Over. Bueckers is as close to sure thing as you can find, and I think her close friend Fudd joins her. I could see Williams in the mix too.
Ian: This might be the easiest one to answer. It’s definitely over. Paige Buckets is a lock. Christyn Williams, if she carries over her play from late last year into this season, should be one too. Nelson-Ododa and Edwards are outside possibilities as well.