NCAA Tournament Betting: The Futures

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With the college basketball regular season winding down, time is running out for teams to qualify for the NCAA Tournament. Let’s take a look at who the oddsmakers deem to be the best bets to win the 2017 NCAA Tournament.

March Madness Favourites

At this moment, five teams are inside 10/1 to win the NCAA Tournament: the Duke Blue Devils (+700), Gonzaga Bulldogs (+700), Kansas Jayhawks (+700), North Carolina Tar Heels (+900) and UCLA Bruins (+900).

The Blue Devils are coming off a buzzer-beating loss at Syracuse but aside from that, they’ve been very competitive this season. Their stacked resume includes wins over Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Rhode Island, and Notre Dame, each of whom was ranked 21st or better at the time of the meeting.

Meanwhile, there’s Gonzaga, who has yet to lose in 29 games this season. But they’ve had a soft schedule, playing only three teams that ranked in the Top 25 – none of whom were ranked higher than 16th at the time. Heading into the NCAA Tournament undefeated doesn’t always translate to success. Just ask the 2015 Kentucky Wildcats.

As usual, Kansas is among the frontrunners. They’ve tied an NCAA record by winning their 13th straight conference title. With only three losses, two of which came from Top 25 teams, Kansas has been able to continue their dominance on the hardcourt.

North Carolina has won 12 of their last 14 contests, including wins over No. 7 Louisville, No. 14 Virginia, No. 20 Notre Dame and No. 9 Florida State. They still have two more games against Top 25 teams (Virginia and Duke), but they’ll be battle tested come Tournament time. They have the same betting odds as UCLA, who are led by freshman sensation Lonzo Ball. He’ll be one of the key players to watch when March Madness rolls around.

Sleepers

This season, several teams are offering good value in the sleepers category, including Villanova (+1000), Kentucky (+1200), Oregon (+1200), Louisville (+1400), Arizona (+1400) and Florida (+2000). Villanova is ranked second, and Arizona, who’s atop the Pac-12,  is ranked fourth – and both offer big payouts.

Another trendy bet is going to be West Virginia (+2800), who’s ranked 12th. However, the popular Ken Pomeroy College Basketball Ratings have them listed as the third-ranked team. They have six losses this season, but on closer examination, their average margin of defeat is 3.7 points, and their biggest loss came by seven. On top of that, three losses were in overtime, so they’ve been very competitive and could be worth a flyer.

With Selection Sunday just 15 days away, it’s time to start studying for the NCAA Tournament.

 

*Odds as of February 24, 2017