Kentucky Basketball Odds: Any Chance John Calipari Is Not Team’s Coach Next Season?

Could Kentucky actually fire John Calipari?


There are more than 350 Division I schools playing college basketball, and probably at least 340 of those would hire John Calipari as its head coach in a second if he came available. Although, let’s be honest, in that most schools nationally can’t afford the $9 million or so he makes per year at Kentucky.

Could Calipari hit the market? No one doubts his ability to recruit, but the Wildcats have hugely underachieved under his watch of late despite having so many future NBA players on the roster. There was no NCAA Tournament in 2020 due to COVID, and maybe Kentucky would have won it as the Cats were 25-6 that season.

UK didn’t sniff the 2021 Big Dance after finishing with a shocking 9-16 record. Last year, Kentucky was a popular Final Four pick as a No. 2 seed, but stunned in the first round by little Saint Peter’s. And then in this year’s Dance, sixth-seeded Kentucky was ousted in Round 2 by Kansas State despite KSU missing its first 13 three-pointers.

UK is 2-5 in its past three postseasons, counting the SEC Tournament. That’s not acceptable. Bovada has a prop on whom the coach for Kentucky next season will be. Let’s break it down.

Could 'Cats Lure Another SEC Coach?

Calipari is the -900 favorite at sports betting sites to remain at the position, and really, where else would the Hall of Famer go where basketball is first and foremost? Texas has all the money in the world, but will always be a football school and probably gives interim coach Rodney Terry the full-time job. Unlike most big-time college coaches, Calipari has no buyout if he want to leave but if fired without cause, the school would owe him in the ballpark of $40 million.

Even for a school in the SEC, $40 million is a lot of money to pay someone not to coach – and then said school has to pay millions more to replace Calipari. He also is set to welcome one of his best-ever recruiting classes to Lexington.

Arkansas’ Eric Musselman and Chicago Bulls head coach Billy Donovan are both +950 to be Kentucky’s coach for the 2023-24 opener. Musselman’s track record with the Hogs speaks for itself, but no doubt, UK is a better gig. Donovan won two national titles at Florida, but has never indicated a desire to return to college.

Alabama’s Nate Oats is +1100, but his SEC program is better than Kentucky’s right now. It just happens to be at a football school. Baylor’s Scott Drew (+1200), UCLA’s Mick Cronin (+1500), former Butler and Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens (+2000), and ex-Villanova two-time national champion coach Jay Wright (+2000) round out the college basketball betting options.

Lou Foulton


Lou Foulton specializes in sports and sports betting writing — when he's not writing about the latest sports props, you can find him watching Monday Night Football or eating pizza.

James Guill

James Guill is a former professional poker player who writes fro about poker, sports, casinos, gaming legislation and the online gambling industry in general. His past experience includes working with IveyPoker, PokerNews, PokerJunkie, Bwin, and the Ongame Network. From 2006-2009 he participated in multiple tournaments including the 37th and 38th World Series of Poker (WSOP). James lives in Virgina and he has a side business where he picks and sells vintage and antique items.

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