Now that the 2017 NCAA Tournament is officially underway, more and more props are hitting the betting market, so let's turn our focus on finding value and maximizing our chances to win during March Madness.
This time of the year in the NCAA Basketball season is known as March Madness for a reason. Things are not supposed to go as expected and brackets will get busted on a daily basis, so bettors have to think outside the box and find the best plays so they can stay in the mix throughout the Final Four.
That's where prop bets come in. With that in mind, let's look at March Madness specials for the top teams, based on how far they can make it in the NCAA Tournament and how well they will fare compared to other teams.
At Bovada and BetOnline, you can bet on whether Arizona, Duke, Gonzaga, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, North Carolina and Villanova will make the Sweet 16 or not. BetOnline also offers To Make Sweet 16 odds for Oregon and UCLA, as well as To Make Final 4 March Madness odds for Arizona, Duke, Gonzaga, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, North Carolina, Oregon, UCLA and Villanova. You can also place March Madness picks on which teams will reach the NCAA Tournament Final and you will also find Head to Head props between several teams to bet on who will progress furthest.
To Make Sweet 16
Duke is playing at a high level right now, winning four games in four days to claim the ACC Tournament last week. Their quality wins against Louisville, North Carolina and Notre Dame put them in the conversation for a No. 1 seed but having a No. 2 seed in the East Region actually set up a decent path that could see them reach the Elite Eight, at least.
March Madness Pick: Duke To Make Sweet 16 - Yes -350
To Make Final 4
It won't be easy for the defending National Champions to make it far in this year's NCAA Tournament. Villanova's path is filled with potential roadblocks, including a clash with Virginia, a team they barely beat 61-59 in January, as well as games against Florida, Duke and Baylor.
Baylor in particular could be a threat to Villanova because the Wildcats don't have as much size and that could make them vulnerable. It's hard to go against Villanova because they have almost the same roster that won it all last year but Baylor poses a matchup problem because of their size inside.
March Madness Pick: Villanova To Make Final 4 - No -210
To Reach NCAA Tournament Final
North Carolina has a veteran team that was seconds away from winning the National Championship last year and they have Justin Jackson, who has been one of the best players in the nation. The Tar Heels are the No. 1 seed in the South and they have many players who can score efficiently and they're great on the offensive glass. North Carolina might have lost against Duke in the ACC Tournament semifinals but they're a deep team with plenty of guard play, shooting, lenght and rebounding and their path to the Final 4 is easy. At +240 March Madness odds to reach the NCAA Tournament Final, North Carolina is a pick with decent betting value.
March Madness Pick: North Carolina To Reach NCAA Tournament Final - Yes +240
Who Will Progress Furthest? Duke vs. UCLA
Can the UCLA offense help them get far in the NCAA Tournament? Their offense, led by freshman point guard Lonzo Ball, is explosive and they're a deep team but their shots were not falling in the Pac-12 Tournament and if they maintain their recent form, they might not reach the Sweet 16.
Duke on the other hand is playing terrific basketball at the right time, they're loaded with talent and they have a favorable path to the Final Four considering that they're a No. 2 seed. The Blue Devils score 80.7 points per game and their recent run showed that they're tough to stop so I see them getting farther than UCLA.