NCAA Basketball Betting: 2014 Underrated and Overrated Teams

LT Profits Sports Group

Friday, June 20, 2014 4:00 AM GMT

The NCAA Basketball season is five months away, but it is never too early for Futures. Here is an early look at underrated teams worth small wagers and overrated teams to avoid.

While we have not yet reached the official beginning of summer and the 2014-15 NCAA Basketball season does not begin for nearly five months, Futures Odds to win the NCAA Basketball Championship are already starting to pop up, and this may be the perfect time for us to evaluate who the underrated and overrated teams in the country are as we attempt to assist you with your NCAA Basketball picks!

That’s is correct, 5 Dimes has already released future odds for many NCAA Basketball teams and now may actually be the best time to jump on some of these odds. That is because, just as in all other sports, the opening future odds are usually at their softest point as these odds will only sharpen up and get tighter as the 2014-15 season draws closer. Therefore, if you do not mind tying up some of your money for a while, now is the best time to find value for astute bettors.

After pouring over the current future prices and doing our research, we feel we have found five underrated teams that are probably worth small wagers at this time with some of them at monstrous odds. Even if some of these teams do not win it all, their odds could present great hedging opportunities if they advance as far as we expect in the 2015 NCAA Basketball Tournament.

We also feel that we have found five overrated teams that we do not expect to live up to expectations. Besides ignoring these teams on the current futures, they could also make nice fades against the spread early in the season once the season tips off in November.

So with no further ado, here are our five underrated and five overrated teams for the 2014-15 season, with the current odds from 5 Dimes in parentheses.

Underrated
Virginia (+3500): The Cavaliers won both the regular season ACC Championship and the ACC Tournament last season on the strength of one of the best defenses in the country, and that defense got them as far as the Sweet 16 where they gave Michigan State all that it can handle before falling 61-59. Well, the good news now is that five of the eight regular players in the Virginia rotation are back, so the defense should be just as impenetrable. Also, the offense has a chance to be better if Mike Tobey, a 6-foot-11, 250-poind center with excellent skills, progresses as expected in his third year in Coach Tony Bennett’s program.

Ohio State Buckeyes (+6000): Sure the Buckeyes lost Aaron Craft following a disappointing 2013-14 campaign, but they may have added a much needed shooting guard as freshman D'Angelo Russell could find himself in the right position to have immediate success. The Buckeyes could also get improved offense via the transfer of Anthony Lee from Temple and with Shannon Scott, who is a much better perimeter shooter than Craft ever was, moving into his full-time point guard duties. The pieces seem to be in place for a surprising year based on these great odds.

SMU Mustangs (+3300): The Mustangs were one win away from the NCAA Tournament last season and the biggest snub by the selection committee this past March, as they were actually ranked in the Top 25 nationally as of Selection Sunday! SMU then went on to reach the NIT Championship Game where it narrowly fell to Minnesota 65-63. Now, they still have a legendary coach in Larry Brown and an all-conference guard in Nic Moore, but it is a new face that could not only allow the Mustangs to finally crash the Big Dance but also make a run in it in top-five recruit Emmanuel Mudiay!

Utah Utes (+17500): The Utes went 2-8 last season in games decided by five points or less including 0-3 in overtime games. And yet they still finished 21-12, but they came that close to a huge year and they are now one year wiser and return their star point guard Delon Wright, who could finally get some national recognition if the Utes improve as much as we expect in 2014-15. And considering the huge 175/1 odds attached to Utah, there could be some nice hedging available after just one NCAA Tournament win, which is quite doable.

Harvard Crimson (+12500): Harvard could succeed Wichita State this season as the best team in the country not from a major conference. Yes, they dominated the underwhelming Ivy League last season and should do so once again this year, but the Crimson should have quieted the skeptics by beating Cincinnati and nearly upsetting Michigan State in the Big Dance. That tournament introduced the country to point guard Siyani Chambers after the then sophomore was named the 2013 Ivy League Rookie of the Year. Chambers was named the Minnesota Mr. Basketball in 2012 and he has major conference talent as he returns for his junior year. His skills alone at probably the most important position in college basketball makes the 125/1 odds worth the chance.

Overrated
Wichita State Shockers (+3000): The Shockers were America’s Darlings last year as after pushing Louisville in the 2013 Final Four, they went undefeated during the regular season and Missouri Valley Conference Tournament in 2013-14 and won their first NCAA Tournament game before losing a nail-biter to the eventual national finalists from Kentucky in the third round. Now, while Wichita State returns its great backcourt trio of Fred VanVleet, Ron Baker and Tekele Cotton, it must replace the entire starting frontcourt, and the Shockers have very little depth across the board this year. An increased reliance on freshmen should make them more vulnerable to upsets, and just one of those could be enough to make Wichita State an afterthought playing in a weak conference.

Villanova Wildcats (+3000): The Wildcats lived and died with the three-point shot last season and now their best three-point shooter James Bell has moved on. Villanova may need to re-invent itself by hoping for bigger post presences from JayVaughn Pinkston and Daniel Ochefu, but neither of those players showed any consistency last year and unfortunately that may not change this season as the Cats look to rely on them a bit more. All in all, 30/1 just seems like too short a price for what we feel is a Paper Tiger that will not fulfill its preseason Top 10 ranking.

Louisville Cardinals (+3000): Many experts felt that the Cardinals were under-seeded as a four-seed last year as they may have been playing the best basketball in the country at the time the Big Dance began, although the selection committee felt some form of vindication when Louisville lost to eighth seeded Kentucky in the Sweet 16. Now however, guard Russ Smith has moved on, and while the good news is that Montrezl Harrell decided to return, the bad news is that he does not appear to have much support in the front court as of now, where four freshmen and the offensively challenged Mangok Mathiang and Akoy Agau will all be battling for playing time. That is just too many holes to accept these 30/1 odds.

Texas Longhorns (+3300): These relatively low odds reflect the optimism in Austin this year as the Longhorns return their entire starting five from a freshman-laden team and also add two top prospects. While that is all well and good, Texas was not really a good shooting team last season, in fact ranking 262nd in the country in effective shooting percentage, as the Horns compensated for that with great offensive rebounding, scoring 191 put-back buckets last year for almost 11 points per game. But Texas will not sneak up on anyone this season and opponents now know that if they can simply box out, the Longhorns will have a tough time scoring. Again, these odds are simply too short for a team that may very well have overachieved last year.

San Diego State Aztecs (+6500): The Aztecs are almost always one of the more highly regarded mid-majors in the country and they have always fizzled once the NCAA Tournament begins. In fact, the Mountain West Conference as a whole has lost a lot of respect just over the last two years. San Diego State’s biggest weakness last season was scoring, and now the school loses All-American point guard Xavier Thames. Sure, the defense will probably still be stout, but we have no idea where the points will come from now, and you have to at least have a little bit of offense to advance in the tournament. And yet the Aztecs will probably still be highly hyped as usual.