With mostly all of the money on the Kentucky Wildcats 5/4 to win it all in March Madness, there's a ton of value if the Wildcats are upset. Let's take a look at some of the different options.
There is no value in the Kentucky Wildcats at 5/4 and that's a lot of pressure on their squad when the odds makers are basically giving them the National Title. Without looking for value, I would bet against them as there are teams that can beat them on any given night. If Duke played Kentucky 10 times, are the odds makers telling me that Kentucky would win all 10 games?
The more highly touted that Kentucky is, the longer the odds on the Blue Devils and that's fine for me as the Blue Devils sport a nice combination of freshman and experienced players, led by the best player in college basketball in Jahlil Okafor. Quite frankly, I don't think that anyone on Kentucky can stop the #1 recruit in the nation in Okafor as he's lived up to the hype.
It's only been 10 games, but the Blue Devils are 10-0, ranked number 2 in the nation, and have played some very good teams. Thus far, Okafor is shooting 65.2 % from the field while averaging 17.4 points and 8.9 rebounds per game. With guys like Tyus Jones and Quinn Cook feeding Okafor the basketball, he's been unstoppable. Duke also has the leadership of the senior Cook and this team contains great value at 15/2 odds to win the national championship as they approach inter-conference play. They would be my NCAA basketball pick to win it all.
I'm going to go past the Arizona's and Gonzaga's of the world and head for Jay Wright's Villanova Wildcats. This is a team with a stifling defense that can be a sneaky underdog that can go very far and possibly achieve the ultimate goal. They remind me of the Wisconsin teams of the past few years with their great defense and I think that this is a team with a better offense than those Wisky teams.
Villanova remains undefeated at 12-0, have played some tough out of conference schools in VCU, Michigan, Temple, and Syracuse and have come out on the winning end. Villanova also plays in a Big East Conference that has been taken apart, which will make it easier for them in inter-conference play. This is a deep squad that plays as a team with no definitive go to guy. One night, Darrun Hilliard II may lead the way and the next game, a player like JayVaugnhn Pinkston will take control of the offense. They're a deep rebounding team and very well coached. The odds are appealing as they sit in the top 10.
To say that Virginia has a great defense is an understatement. They're coming off of a 76-27 victory over one of the Ivy League's best in the Harvard Crimson. I know that the Ivy League is a cut below the ACC, but that's a beat down.
Virginia has done this all season long. The Cavaliers have only allowed one opponent more than 60 points in a game and in that game they defeated the Maryland Terrapins, 76-65. My only concern is that they haven't had the toughest schedule. As long as Justin Anderson, who has great size for a guard, continues to keep producing offensively, I'm confident that the Cavaliers will be a tough team to beat.
No Respect Lottery Special: St. John's- 100/1
People are used the Red Storm being a powerhouse of the 1980's and being just a mere average team in the 2000's. If you look at the rankings, St. John's is ranked higher than North Carolina yet the Tarheels are 28/1 in future NCAA Basketball odds. This tells us that the Tarheels are a really poor bet where futures are concerned and the 17th ranked Red Storm are an outright steal at 100/1!
I either like a team with major starpower with a player like Jahlil Okafor or a team with a good defense. In St. John's case, D'Angelo Harrison has been an offensive threat for his entire career with the Johnnie's. I say this after he's coming off of possibly his worst performance of the season, but I'm not worried as this is a team with great depth an Harrison will provide 20 points on almost any given the night, no matter the setting and no matter the opponent.
St. John's has already had a tussle with a top 10 team in Gonzaga and were defeated 73-66. Gonzaga is a team that I don't worry about because they never produce in the NCAA Tournament while they're a great regular season team. We are also talking about value and the odds makers have given St. John's 0 credit and they deserve much more.