Wisconsin Badgers (12-1): Bo Ryan finally received the accolades that have long been overdue when his team advanced to the 2014 NCAA Tournament Final Four, catching the attention of sharp bettors planning their NCAA Basketball picks. They just fell short of reaching the final game in a narrow 1-point loss at the hands of Kentucky. However the Badgers return an extremely experienced group this season, and this is reflected in their betting odds. This is a club which will return 5 of its top 6 scorers from a season ago, and will have 3 senior starters, which is a real rarity in the modern era for a team team from a major conference, especially in light of the heights of success they attained a season ago.
Villanova (25-1): I have long contended that Jay Wright is one of the most underrated head coaches in the entire country, and always check out the details on his teams before making my sports picks. The Wildcats won the Big East regular season title a season ago. They defeated Wisconsin-Milwaukee in the 2nd Round of the NCAA Tournament 73-53, and then were knocked off by eventual 2014 national champion Connecticut in their following game. The Wildcats will return 4 of their 5 top scorers from a season ago, led by 6’7 forward JayVaughn Pinkston who averaged 14.1 points and 6.1 rebounds per game a season ago.
North Carolina (15-1): The Tar Heels will be a very dangerous team this season, and at these odds are certainly worth the chance. They will be led by the return of their star point guard Marcus Paige. Roy Williams was also able to land two prized recruits in Justin Jackson and Theo Pinson. They’re clearly a much better value than their fierce rival the Duke Blue Devils who are currently overvalued at 9-1.
Steer Clear of These
Michigan (30-1): The Wolverines have lost way too much from a team that advanced all the way to the “Elite 8” of the NCAA Tournament a season ago. No less than 5 key contributors have departed either by declaring early for the NBA draft, or via graduation.
Syracuse (40-1): Jim Boeheim’s coaching prowess will certainly be tested for this upcoming season. Gone is star point-guard Tyler Ennis who left after a stellar freshmen season and was an NBA 1st round draft choice, in addition to C.J. Fair who was a major contributor in his 4-seasons in the “Orange” uniform, and versatile forward Jeremi Grant who chose to pass up his senior year for an opportunity to play at the next level. They do bring in a very good freshmen recruiting class. However, with no established leader this isn’t going to be a vintage Syracuse team.