The college basketball season is already two thirds of the way through which means it’s time to look at picks for March Madness.
The last four years have seen a top seed in one of the brackets prevailing with the Duke Blue Devils in 2010, the North Caolina Tar Heels in 2009, the Kansas Jayhawks in 2008 and the Florida Gators in 2007 all entering the tournaments as top seeds in their respective brackets.
If you want to make any money on March Madness odds in the futures market, you need to pick teams that are in a good position to finish in one of the top seeds. With the college basketball betting season already two thirds of the way done, we’re in a good position to look at the March Madness futures for teams that are likely to finish as top teams. In particular, we look for teams that are in position now to qualify as a top team and teams in position to make a late charge and take top spot.
Top Teams Right Now
The Duke Blue Devils may not be the top team in the League, but at +320 they have the best odds. While the Blue Devils are the defending champions, it is hard to justify taking them at this number. The ACC is down this year and they really haven’t proven that much. They do have a win over a number two team Kansas State, but Kansas State has since fallen hard.
They don’t have any big tests on the horizon, so don’t be surprised to see them enter the tournament as one of the top seeded teams which means you can almost book them in the Elite Eight which is a big advantage, but their odds are just too low to justify spending any money in an event as unpredictable as March Madness.
The number one team in the nation, the Ohio State Buckeyes, comes in next at +420. A good case can be made for the top team in the nation. They have overcome a number of tests including overcoming an 18-point deficit against the Minnesota Golden Gophers. They have a number of big tests left, so don’t be surprised to see them lose a game or two, but the competition will be good for them once the spring tournament starts.
The Kansas Jayhawks look tempting at +1000 because of their one-loss record and strong play annually, but they haven’t faced a lot of tests and seem like the best candidate for falling off with three more games against ranked teams.
A better bet is the lone team to beat the Jayhawks, the Texas Longhorns at +2000. The Longhorns have faced more ranked teams and, in most cases, prevailed. They also don’t have any ranked teams left on their schedule which puts them in a pretty good position to take the Big 12.
Teams Making a Late Charge
The Pittsburgh Panthers +2000 are the strong bet to take a top seed from one of the four aforementioned teams. The Panthers have a win over Texas and have played well despite a fairly strong schedule. The biggest challenge for the Panthers will be the Villanova Wildcats who were one of the top teams for most of the season before falling off badly last week. If they get their game back together, they will be a big threat as these two teams have two meetings left.
A strong alternative to the Panthers, depending on how worried you are about Villanova, is the UConn Huskies at +2000 who have already proven themselves against a number of ranked teams, but their remaining schedule is full of pitfalls starting tomorrow with another team that has dropped precipitously, the Syracuse Orange.
Texas is by far the best college basketball bet based on risk and reward. Their path from here to the Elite Eight is the easiest and they have enough wins over quality opposition to believe they have a chance to go all the way once they get there.
UConn and Pittsburgh both pay the same as Texas, but Texas has a much easier path from here forward and represents a better value.
Duke and Ohio State are solid choices, but not worth the investment in my opinion while Kansas still has a lot to prove.