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NCAAB Futures: Three Long Shots That Offer Tremendous Value

We all know about the Dukes and UNCs of the world – the powerhouse programs that will always recruit the top talent and be a legitimate threat to cut down the nets at the end of the season.  But what about the less heralded programs?

There are always a few teams that shock the college basketball world and make a Cinderella run during March Madness. If you can identify these programs early, then you can find yourself some ridiculously good value. So I took on the endeavor of finding you those teams before anyone else.

First, I needed to define what constitutes a ‘long shot.’ For these purposes, any team with odds of +5000 or more is getting consideration, though there is preference given to teams with even longer odds than that.

So without further ado, here are the best long-shot value bets for the upcoming NCAAB season.

UCLA Bruins - +5000

Both Isaac Hamilton and Bryce Alford return for UCLA – a backcourt combo that combined for 32.9 points, 8.5 assists and 8.0 rebounds per game while shooting over 43 percent from the field in 2015.

In addition to the backcourt – and the bulk of the lineup in general – UCLA had one of the best recruiting classes in the nation. The Bruins recruited Lonzo Ball, T.J. Leaf and Ike Anigbogu – all Top 25 recruits in the country – but it’s Ball who could be special. Ball is a tremendous point guard who excels as a passer and defender. If his weird-looking jumper can correct itself, UCLA could have the scariest backcourt in the nation.

Florida State Seminoles - +15,000

Dwayne Bacon was one of the best freshmen in the country in 2015, as the Seminoles guard averaged 15.8 points and 5.8 assists while shooting .447 from the field. If he can rectify his issues from beyond the arc and bond with Xavier Rathan-Mayes the way he did with Malik Beasley, then Bacon will continue to be dominant.

The biggest issue for FSU the past several seasons has been their defense, but they recruited one of their best defensive players in recent memory. Jonathan Isaac, who was the No. 8 recruit in the country, is a talented face-up defender who has the natural ability to play against the big power forwards in the ACC.

Virginia Tech Hokies - +30,000

Six of the top seven scorers from 2015 are returning this season, as the only notable loss was Jalen Hudson. Zach LeDay has a standout junior year, as he played 30.8 minutes per game while averaging 15.5 points and 7.9 rebounds. The backcourt is also in good shape with Seth Allen and Justin Bibbs running the show.

Virginia Tech also sees their roster bolstered by the return of Ahmed Hill and the addition of JUCO transfer Ty Outlaw. Hill averaged 8.7 points while shooting nearly 40 percent from beyond the arc in his freshman year before missing last season due to a knee surgery. Outlaw averaged 21.8 points while shooting over 50 percent from the field two years ago with Lee College before transferring.

2017 NCAA Tournament Champion

Odds as of September 20 at Bovada

  • Duke +400
  • Kentucky +700
  • Villanova +1000
  • Kansas +1000
  • Arizona +1400
  • Michigan State +1600
  • North Carolina +1600
  • Oregon +1600
  • Wisconsin +1800
  • Louisville +2500
  • Indiana +2500
  • Virginia +2500
  • Syracuse +2500
  • Xavier +3300
  • Connecticut +4000
  • West Virginia +5000
  • Maryland +5000
  • Purdue +5000
  • UCLA +5000
  • Iowa State +6600
  • Miami (FL) +6600
  • Oklahoma +6600
  • Seton Hall +6600
  • Texas +6600
  • Baylor +6600
  • Gonzaga +6600
  • Michigan +6600
  • California +6600
  • NC State +6600
  • Texas A&M +10000
  • Wichita State +10000
  • Florida +10000
  • Iowa +10000
  • SMU +10000
  • Arizona State +10000
  • Butler +10000
  • Cincinnati +10000
  • Georgetown +10000
  • Ohio State +15000
  • Florida State +15000
  • USC +15000
  • Notre Dame +20000
  • Vanderbilt +20000
  • Dayton +20000
  • Virginia Commonwealth +20000
  • San Diego State +20000
  • South Carolina +20000
  • St. Mary's +20000
  • Tennessee +20000
  • Washington +20000
  • UNLV +25000
  • Kansas State +25000
  • Marquette +25000
  • Pittsburgh +25000
  • LSU +30000
  • Mississippi State +30000
  • Colorado +30000
  • Alabama +30000
  • Arkansas +30000
  • Georgia +30000
  • Georgia Tech +30000
  • Illinois +30000
  • Memphis +30000
  • Minnesota +30000
  • Mississippi +30000
  • Oklahoma State +30000
  • Nebraska +30000
  • Virginia Tech +30000
  • Wake Forest +30000
  • BYU +50000
  • Auburn +50000
  • Boise State +50000
  • Clemson +50000
  • Colorado State +50000
  • Oregon State +50000
  • Missouri +50000
  • Stanford +50000
  • Massachusetts +50000
  • Penn State +50000
  • St. Joseph's +50000
  • Temple +50000
  • Boston College +50000
  • TCU +50000
  • Washington State +50000

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The Oregon Ducks could have seen a massive regression from their Elite Eight performance last season, but now it appears like they have one more chance to win it all. Oregon got some wonderful news when Dillon Brooks and Tyler Dorsey both decided to withdraw from the NBA Draft and return to Eugene next season.

Brooks paced the team last season with 16.7 points per game while also finishing second in assists and rebounds per game. More than just statistics, it will be Brooks’ versatility and ability to play multiple spots in the lineup that is a huge boost to Oregon.

Dorsey finished his freshman campaign by averaging 13.4 ppg while shooting over 40 percent from the floor and from beyond the arc. Those numbers would be even better if Dorsey hadn’t hit a mid-season freshman slump that greatly affected his averages.

Joining the two returning pieces will be Kavell Bigby-Williams who won the NJCAA player of the year last season, as the power forward averaged 16.8 ppg and 13.6 rpg for the Gillette Pronghorns.

Between returning stars, the addition of the best JUCO transfer available and a top 15 recruiting class, Oregon could be cutting down the nets in Phoenix.

2017 NCAA Tournament Champion

Odds as of May 25 at Bovada

  • Duke +450
  • Kentucky +650
  • Villanova +850
  • Kansas +1000
  • Louisville +1000
  • Michigan State +1200
  • North Carolina +1200
  • Indiana +2000
  • Oregon +2000
  • Virginia +2000
  • Arizona +2200
  • Wisconsin +2500
  • Xavier +2500
  • West Virginia 2800
  • Connecticut +3300
  • Maryland +3300
  • Purdue +3300
  • Iowa State+4000
  • Miami +4000
  • Oklahoma +5000
  • Seton Hall +5000
  • Syracuse +5000
  • Texas +5000
  • Baylor +6600
  • Gonzaga +6600
  • Michigan +6600
  • Texas A&M +6600
  • UCLA +6600
  • Wichita State +6600
  • Florida +7500
  • Iowa +7500
  • SMU +7500
  • Arizona State +10000
  • Butler +10000
  • California +10000
  • Cincinnati +10000
  • LSU +10000
  • Mississippi State +10000
  • Notre Dame +10000
  • Ohio State +10000
  • Vanderbilt +10000
  • BYU +15000
  • Colorado +15000
  • Dayton +15000
  • Florida State +15000
  • Georgetown +15000
  • USC +15000
  • VCU +15000
  • San Diego State +20000
  • South Carolina +20000
  • St Mary's +20000
  • Tennessee +20000
  • UNLV +20000
  • Alabama +25000
  • Arkansas +25000
  • Auburn +25000
  • Boise State +25000
  • Clemson +25000
  • Colorado State +25000
  • Georgia +25000
  • Georgia Tech +25000
  • Illinois +25000
  • Kansas State +25000
  • Marquette +25000
  • Memphis +25000
  • Minnesota +25000
  • Mississippi +25000
  • Oklahoma State +25000
  • Oregon State +25000
  • Pittsburgh +25000
  • NC State +25000
  • Missouri +30000
  • Nebraska +30000
  • St John's +30000
  • Stanford +30000
  • Virginia Tech +30000
  • Wake Forest +30000
  • Massachusetts +50000
  • Penn State +50000
  • St. Joseph's +50000
  • Temple +50000
  • Washington +50000
  • Boston College +100000
  • St. Johns +100000
  • TCU +100000
  • Washington State +100000

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College basketball is always filled with intrigue and unpredictability — just look at Middle Tennessee’s victory over Michigan State in last season’s March Madness tournament. It’s early and there is innumerable variables that need to be determined before anyone cuts down the nets in Phoenix in 2017, but here are a few teams that you should probably avoid until they prove themselves.

Michigan State (+1200)

Michigan State may have been the most complete team in college basketball last season. The Spartans finished within the top 30 in points, rebounds, shooting percentage, assists and blocks last season, but have a lot of massive holes to fill.

Michigan State has lost Player of the Year runner-up Denzel Valentine, sharpshooter Bryn Forbes, big-bodied Matt Costello and top freshman Deyonta Davis. Those four players — three of which were the team’s three leading scorers last season — combined for 50.4 points and 19.7 rebounds per game.

The Spartans have a few things working in their favor though. Several teams in the Big Ten need to replace incredibly valuable departures and MSU still has Tom Izzo calling the shots.

Maryland Terrapins (+3300)

Maryland has been the Melo Trimble show over the past few seasons, but now the Terrapins must replace him. The starting point guard position looks to be a battle between Jaylen Brantley — who averaged just 8.4 minutes per game last season — and diminutive freshman Anthony Cowan.

Trimble is not the only departing player though, as the Terps may very well lose their entire starting lineup between graduation and the NBA Draft. This team has so many question marks surrounding it next season that backing the team based on their name could be a big mistake.

Oklahoma Sooners (+5000)

The Oklahoma Sooners were one of the most exciting teams in the nation to watch last season thanks to their phenomenal shooting stroke. Much will be made of Buddy Hield’s departure for the NBA during the offseason, and rightfully so. The Sooners will be hard pressed to replace several other seniors as well.

The Sooners have been the model of consistency the past several seasons with Hield, Ryan Spangler, Jordan Woodard and Isaiah Cousins starting over 100 consecutive games together. However, OU will be moving forward without Hield, Spangler and Cousins next season.

There are several young players that could flourish with more floor time, specifically Christian James. The recruit out of Houston played n 34 games last season as a freshman, but only averaged 9.7 minutes per game. If James can live up to his four-star potential then he may help Oklahoma remain relevant, but the Big 12 may be the toughest conference in the country.

2017 NCAA Tournament Champion

Odds as of May 11 at Bovada

  • Duke +450
  • Kentucky +600
  • Villanova +800
  • Kansas +1000
  • Louisville +1000
  • Michigan State +1200
  • North Carolina +1200
  • Indiana +2000
  • Oregon +2000
  • Virginia +2000
  • Arizona +2200
  • Wisconsin +2500
  • Xavier +2500
  • West Virginia +2800
  • Connecticut +3300
  • Maryland +3300
  • Purdue +3300
  • Iowa State +4000
  • Miami (FL) +4000
  • Oklahoma +5000
  • Seton Hall +5000
  • Syracuse +5000
  • Texas +5000
  • Baylor +6600
  • Gonzaga +6600
  • Michigan +6600
  • Texas A&M +6600
  • UCLA +6600
  • Wichita State +6600
  • Florida +7500
  • Iowa +7500
  • SMU +7500
  • Arizona State +10000
  • Butler +10000
  • California +10000
  • Cinncinnat i+10000
  • LSU +10000
  • Mississippi State +10000
  • Notre Dame +10000
  • Ohio State +10000
  • Vanderbilt +10000
  • BYU +15000
  • Colorado +15000
  • Dayton +15000
  • Florida State +15000
  • Georgetown +15000
  • USC +15000
  • Virginia Commonwealth +15000
  • San Diego State +20000
  • South Carolina +20000
  • St Mary's +20000
  • Tennessee +20000
  • UNLV +20000
  • Alabama +25000
  • Arkansas +25000
  • Auburn +25000
  • Boise State +25000
  • Clemson +25000
  • Colorado State +25000
  • Georgia +25000
  • Georgia Tech +25000
  • Illinois +25000
  • Kansas State +25000
  • Marquette +25000
  • Memphis +25000
  • Minnesota +25000
  • Mississippi +25000
  • Oklahoma State +25000
  • Oregon State +25000
  • Pittsburgh +25000
  • Missouri +30000
  • Nebraska +30000
  • St John's +30000
  • Stanford +30000
  • Virginia Tech +30000
  • Wake Forest +30000

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March Madness just ended for another year, but that doesn’t mean you need to wait months until you can wager on next season. Futures have officially hit the board for which team will be cutting down the nets in Phoenix in 2017.

Duke sits atop the opening odds with the Blue Devils being listed as +450 favorites. There is no doubt that Duke will have a talented lineup, which will return their top scorer in Grayson Allen and will see an increased role for Luke Kennard after his stellar freshman campaign. The Blue Devils will be without Brandon Ingram who is off to the NBA, as well as seeing another Plumlee graduate, this time it being Marshall.

The only other teams listed in the triple-digits are Kentucky (+600) and Villanova (+800).

The Wildcats will be saying goodbye to Jamal Murray, Tyler Ulis, Skal Labissiere and Alex Poythress. Though those are difficult holes to fill you can expect returning youngster Isaiah Briscoe and coach John Calipari to weather the storm and give UK another successful season.

Villanova’s futures will likely hinge on the intentions of Josh Hart and Kris Jenkins. Though both players have a year remaining in college, both could opt for the NBA Draft. However, if the two stay in Pennsylvania the Wildcats will return the two most important players in their NCAA Tournament win in 2016.

Obviously there is tons of value this far out. A team like the Texas Longhorns could be an excellent early futures wager. The team flourished in the later half of the season once they started to fully grasp Shaka Smart’s up-tempo style. Not to mention that the Big 12 will likely see a few teams get weaker with Oklahoma, Iowa State and Baylor graduating several key players.

Here is a full list of odds for the field of teams looking to cut down the nets in 2017:

2017 NCAA Tournament Champion

Odds as of April 6 at Bovada

  • Duke +450
  • Kentucky +600
  • Villanova +800
  • Kansas +1000
  • Louisville +1000
  • Michigan State +1200
  • North Carolina +1200
  • Indiana +2000
  • Oregon +2000
  • Virginia +2000
  • Arizona +2200
  • Wisconsin +2500
  • Xavier +2500
  • West Virginia +2800
  • Connecticut +3300
  • Maryland +3300
  • Purdue +3300
  • Iowa State +4000
  • Miami Florida +4000
  • Oklahoma +5000
  • Seton Hall +5000
  • Syracuse +5000
  • Texas +5000
  • Baylor +6000
  • Gonzaga +6600
  • Michigan +6600
  • Texas A&M +6600
  • UCLA +6600
  • Wichita State +6600
  • Florida +7500
  • Iowa +7500
  • SMU +7500
  • Arizona State +10000
  • Butler +10000
  • California +10000
  • Cinncinnati +10000
  • LSU +10000
  • Mississippi State +10000
  • Notre Dame +10000
  • Ohio State +10000
  • Vanderbilt +10000
  • BYU +15000
  • Colorado +15000
  • Dayton +15000
  • Florida State +15000
  • Georgetown +15000
  • USC +15000
  • Virginia Commonwealth +15000
  • San Diego State +20000
  • South Carolina +20000
  • St Mary's CA +20000
  • Tennessee +20000
  • UNLV +20000
  • Alabama +25000
  • Arkansas +25000
  • Auburn +25000
  • Boise State +25000
  • Clemson +25000
  • Colorado State +25000
  • Georgia +25000
  • Georgia Tech +25000
  • Illinois +25000
  • Kansas State +25000
  • Marquette +25000
  • Memphis U +25000
  • Minnesota U +25000
  • Mississippi +25000
  • Oklahoma State +25000
  • Oregon State +25000
  • Pittsburgh +25000
  • Missouri +30000
  • Nebraska +30000
  • St John's +30000
  • Stanford +30000
  • Virginia Tech +30000
  • Wake Forest +30000
  • Massachusetts +50000
  • Penn State +50000
  • St. Joseph's +50000
  • Temple +50000
  • Washington U +50000
  • Boston College +100000
  • St. Johns +100000
  • TCU +100000
  • Washington State +100000

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The 2016 NCAA Tournament has been filled many memorable games, plays, buzzer beaters, players and moments. Sadly, the two Final Four matchups did not feature any of those “shining moments” as both the Villanova Wildcats and North Carolina Tar Heels trounced the opposition en route to the final.

Villanova put a swift end to the Oklahoma Sooners’ campaign with a 95-51 beatdown in the first game Saturday. Josh Hart paced the Wildcats with 23 points and eight boards as his team enters the final as 2.5-point dogs and +145 pups on the futures board.

The second of Saturday’s Final Four games was not any better as the Tar Heels cruised to an 83-66 victory. Brice Johnson scored 16 points and and grabbed nine boards in the win, tightening his grip on the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player award. The Heels get the nod as faves in Monday’s game and are -175 on the futures board.

The matchup between Villanova and North Carolina should provide a lot more excitement than either of the Final Four games. Let’s hope the finale resembles something closer to the posted spread than either of Saturday’s games did.

Odds as of April 3 at Bovada

  • North Carolina -175
  • Villanova +145

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