Panning For Late Nuggets of Gold in NCAAB Futures Market

Kevin Stott

Monday, February 26, 2018 5:21 PM UTC

Monday, Feb. 26, 2018 5:21 PM UTC

The NCAA Tournament isn't too far away. There will be 68 teams entering the Hoops Dome o’ Death, with only one emerging as champion.

College Basketball: Division I Championship Futures OddsHandful of Teams Can Make Legitimate Run

It seems we will be seeing a much more wide-open field for this year’s tournament, with 20 or so teams capable of making a decent run. Why? Some of the bigger perennial powers such as Villanova, Michigan State and Duke have already proven they can be beaten and don’t look as dominant away from home as they did in years past.

So who looks they will be the hardest team to oust from the tourney? That might be top-ranked Virginia (+650 to win championship on the college basketball odds board at BetOnline), which has had the best scoring defense all season and regularly holds opponents to less than 20 points in the first half. But we’ve this movie before, with the Cavaliers (26-2 SU, 18-6-1 ATS) playing lockdown D headed into March Madness and then getting upset by Florida (2017) or Syracuse (2016).

A team from east of the Mississippi River has won the title the past nine years. Kansas (2008) is the last school west of Big Muddy to be crowned champions and, at their current 12/1 odds, the Jayhawks are worth a look with your NCAAB picks. Defending champions North Carolina (14/1) also fits that bill, and the Tar Heels will enter the NCAA Tournament with the highest expectations, one of the best coaches ever in Roy Williams and that elite ACC pedigree.

March Madness tips off March 13. The Final Four will be played at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, on March 31 (semifinals) and April 2 (championship game).

Futures Book Odds

Here are the latest numbers from BetOnline:

Michigan State Spartans +450

Villanova Wildcats +450

Virginia Cavaliers +650

Duke Blue Devils +700

Purdue Boilermakers +800

Kansas Jayhawks +1200

North Carolina Tar Heels +1400

Wichita State Shockers +1400

Cincinnati Bearcats +2000

Ohio State Buckeyes +2000

Tennessee Volunteers +2000

Texas Tech Red Raiders +2000

Xavier Musketeers +2000

West Virginia Mountaineers +2500

Arizona Wildcats +2500

Florida Gators +2500

Gonzaga Bulldogs +2500

Michigan Wolverines +2800

Auburn Tigers +3300

Alabama Crimson Tide +4000

Missouri Tigers +4000

Oklahoma Sooners +4000

Texas A&M Aggies +4000

Clemson Tigers +5000

Kentucky Wildcats +5000

Rhode Island Rams +5000

Saint Mary’s Gaels +5000

Arizona State Sun Devils +6600

Baylor Bears +6600

Seton Hall Pirates +6600

UCLA Bruins +6600

Arkansas Razorbacks +8000

Creighton Bluejays +8000

FSU Seminoles +8000

N.C. State Wolfpack +8000

USC Trojans +8000

Virginia Tech Hokies +8000

Houston Cougars +10000

Louisville Cardinals +10000

Loyola-Chicago Ramblers +10000

Miami-Florida Hurricanes +10000

Nevada Wolf Pack +10000

Texas Longhorns +10000

Butler Bulldogs +12500

Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders +12500

Mississippi State Bulldogs +12500

Penn State Nittany Lions +12500

Notre Dame Fighting Irish +15000

TCU Horned Frogs +15000

St. John’s Red Storm +15000

Syracuse Orange +15000

Georgia Bulldogs +20000

Indiana Hoosiers +20000

Kansas State Wildcats +20000

Memphis Tigers +20000

Providence Friars +20000

LSU Tigers +25000

New Mexico State Aggies +25000

Oklahoma State Cowboys +25000

Vermont Catamounts +25000

Boise State Broncos +50000

College of Charleston Cougars +50000

Florida Gulf Coast Eagles +50000

Harvard Crimson +50000

Rider Broncos +50000

Montana Grizzlies +100000

NC Asheville Bulldogs +100000

Penn Quakers +100000

UCSB Gauchos +100000

Washington Huskies +10000

Winthrop Eagles +10000

Buffalo Bulls +50000

Belmont Bruins +50000

St. Bonaventure Bonnies +50000

South Dakota State Jackrabbits +50000

Nicholls State Colonels +100000

Savannah State Tigers +100000

Toledo Rockets +100000

Several Mid-Range Schools Can Hang In There

The NCAA Tournament has been won by bigger-name schools from elite conferences of late, but this year don't discount some mid-range teams from a bigger conferences or a team from a smaller conference such MVC member Wichita State (14/1), perennial WCC power Gonzaga (25/1) or upstart St. Mary’s (50/1). However, logic dictates that a school from the ACC, Big East, Big 12 or Big Ten will probably be bringing home the bacon to a campus east of the Mississippi River, again.

Which teams that fit that criteria actually have a shot to win it all?

In the Big Ten, Purdue (8/1) is almost as solid as it has ever been, but at +800 the time to back the Boilermakers was in November when they were priced at 40/1. Right now, Michigan (28/1) is playing some really good basketball (W5 straight SU and ATS).

In the Big 12, West Virginia (25/1) has cut its teeth on Kansas (+225 to win Big 12 Tournament), Texas Tech, Kansas State and Baylor, and the Mountaineers (+450 to win Big 12 Tournament) are 3-1 in neutral-site games this season.

Two teams from the SEC worth consideration are Florida (25/1) and Auburn (33/1). The Gators (10/1 to win SEC Tournament) have reached the Elite Eight (2017) and Final Four (2014) in two of the previous four seasons, while the Tigers (+275 to win SEC Tournament) have one of their strongest squads in years and are 7-3 on the road in conference play and are 3-1 at neutral sites.

A good long-shot team to watch? How about Summit League member South Dakota State? At 500/1, the Jackrabbits (25-6 SU, 17-8-0 ATS) seem longer than a long shot, but if they can get by South Dakota (24-7 SU, 16-7-2 ATS) or whoever they play in the conference tournament, their opponents in the NCAA Tournament better be ready.

Free NCAAB Tournament Value-Oriented Futures Book Picks: Kansas 12/1, North Carolina 14/1 (BetOnline)

Free NCAAB Tournament Mid-Range Futures Book Picks: West Virginia 25/1, Florida 25/1, Michigan 28/1, Auburn 33/1 (BetOnline)

Free NCAAB Tournament Long-Shot Futures Book Pick: South Dakota State 500/1 (BetOnline)

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