Considering the 2014-15 NCAA Basketball season tips off this weekend, now might be a good time to get down on some NCAAB futures bets. Here's a quick look at a few futures possibilities, and their NCAA championship odds, that caught our attention while browsing the various betting boards.
They Don't Have to Win it All for Us to Profit
Our guess is we're probably not going to find a whole lot of futures betting value on the preseason top 10 or so. Many of the “usual suspects,” like Kentucky, Arizona, North Carolina, Kansas and Duke, are once again ranked highly, and priced accordingly on NCAA championship boards. We prefer to look for value among some of the longer shots, before the oddsmakers and/or the betting public catches on.
We also believe we don't necessarily have to bet the team that eventually wins the tournament to make money. We like to take chances on longshots, then hedge our futures bets when/if those teams begin to get close to the Final Four.
Head to SBR's NCAA Basketball picks page for divisional previews & team stats.
Florida State +22000 at 5Dimes
The Seminoles missed the NCAA tournament last year, but return four starters from a team that went 9-9 in the ACC, 22-14 overall and reached the semifinals of the NIT. They did lose a couple of key players, but they're still deep, big, play good defense and shoot the ball well. We're also fans of Coach Hamilton. It won't come as any surprise to us when FSU reaches the Sweet 16, and at odds of more than 200/1 they're definitely worth a futures bet.
Louisville +3500 at 5Dimes
The Cardinals are actually ranked in the top 10 as the season begins, but that price is too tempting to pass up. The 'Ville returns four starters from a team that went 31-6 and made the Sweet 16 last year, and moving to the ACC will only toughen them up for another NCAA tournament run. The Cardinals play great defense, and take good care of the ball. They won't have the offensive punch of last season, when they averaged 81 points per game, and they'll have to work some youngsters into the rotation, but Coach Pitino knows what he's doing. Louisville should be in good position come March.
Villanova +3500 at 5Dimes
The Wildcats have four starters back from a team that won 29 games last year before bowing out in the third round of the Big Dance. They lost their leading scorer, but have the people in place to pick up the slack. Villanova will again feature an excellent backcourt, and we all know how important good guard play is come tournament time.
Oklahoma 66/1 at Bovada
The Sooners also have four starters back, from a team that went 23-10 overall, 12-6 in Big 12 play. They lost their first game in the tournament for the second straight season, but that might just make them all that more hungry. OU returns its entire backcourt, and the Big 12's leading rebounder. And we like Coach Kruger's style of play. The Sooners will return to the Big Dance, and if they can advance past the first weekend we should be able to make some money at those futures NCAA Basketball odds.
Texas +4000 at 5Dimes
The Longhorns won 24 games last year, went 11-7 in the Big 12 and made it to the third round of the NCAA tournament, and now return the entire team for another run. They also added one of the top recruits in the country, 6-11 Myles Turner, a good shooter and a shot-blocker. Texas is a monster on the boards, at both ends of the court, and deep; this team, at 40/1, has a nice chance of making the Elite Eight.
Other Likely Betting Candidates
Nebraska made the tournament last year for the first time since 1998, and now returns all five starters for another go. The 'Huskers are getting 100/1 at Bovada.
Utah hasn't made the tournament since 2009, but returns four starters from a team that went 21-12 overall, 9-9 in a tough Pac-12. The Utes can be bet at 200/1 at Bovada.
Finally, Colorado returns four starters from a team that went 23-12 last year, 10-8 in the Pac-12 and made the tournament for the second season in a row. The Buffs have been knocked out of the tournament in their first game the last two seasons, but like Oklahoma those losses might provide the mental fuel for a run. And at a price of +22000 at 5Dimes we could turn a nifty profit if CU gets past the first weekend of the Dance.