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NCAAB Futures: Why Is Nobody Paying Attention To Arizona?

Lost among the usual blue blood powerhouses and the exciting high-tempo offenses that television networks adore has been the Arizona Wildcats. Coach Sean Miller has taken a group of young players and molded them into a team ranked in the top 30 nationally in scoring differential, rebounding rate and points allowed.

With the Wildcats sitting atop the Pac-12 as of this writing, one needs to wonder just what Arizona will need to do in order to get people to pay attention.

Arizona has two losses, but neither of them were what could be considered bad, as they lost to Butler and Gonzaga by a combined 11 points. Yes, those two games were easily the stiffest competition Arizona has faced all season, but this young core of players should learn and grow from those early season losses long before the one-and-done style of March Madness.

The freshman trio of Lauri Markkanen, Rawle Alkins and Kobi Simmons has quietly developed into one of the best in the nation. The three youngsters are averaging a combined 39.9 points and 15.1 rebounds per game while shooting 45.1 from the floor. These three could get even better with starting point guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright returning to the lineup.

Jackson-Cartwright is a diminutive true point guard who excels at keeping the ball safe and getting the first pass off to the right player. His return from injury could potentially force Simmons to move to the shooting guard position, which should allow him to utilize his best asset, which is his jumper.

The Pac-12 will feature a brutal slate of games for a young Arizona team, but that should be the true litmus test of the Wildcats. Arizona’s defensive scheme will allow the team to hide some of the issues its younger players may have through conference play, but don’t expect any of those struggles to continue into March.

Arizona still has a steep hill to climb in order to cut down the nets but, if you see this team getting better throughout the season, you may not find better value than right now.

2017 NCAA Tournament Champion

Odds as of January 10 at Bovada

  • UCLA +500
  • Duke +525
  • Kentucky +550
  • Kansas +1200
  • North Carolina +1200
  • Villanova +1200
  • Baylor +1400
  • West Virginia +1800
  • Indiana +2200
  • Gonzaga +2200
  • Oregon +2200
  • Wisconsin +2500
  • Louisville +2500
  • Florida State +2500
  • Virginia +3300
  • Creighton +3300
  • Purdue +3300
  • Michigan State +4000
  • Arizona +4000
  • Butler +4000
  • Syracuse +5000
  • Xavier +5000
  • St. Mary's +6600
  • Wichita State +7500
  • Notre Dame +7500
  • NC State +10000
  • Florida +10000
  • Virginia Tech +10000
  • Cincinnati +10000
  • Michigan +12500
  • South Carolina +12500
  • Rhode Island +15000
  • Oklahoma State +15000
  • USC +15000
  • Georgetown +20000
  • Texas A&M +20000
  • Iowa State +20000
  • Clemson +20000
  • California +20000
  • Maryland +20000
  • Seton Hall +30000
  • Ohio State +30000
  • Washington +30000
  • Connecticut +30000
  • Miami (FL) +30000
  • Colorado +30000
  • SMU +30000
  • BYU +30000
  • Marquette +30000
  • Kansas State +30000
  • Dayton +30000
  • Pittsburgh +30000
  • Arkansas +30000
  • San Diego State +50000
  • VCU +50000
  • Illinois +50000
  • Alabama +50000
  • Oklahoma +100000

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Baylor is fourth in the nation, according to the Associated Press. The Bears opened the season with 12 consecutive wins by an average of 20.9 points per game. They also have four wins over then-ranked opponents.

If we only look at the four games against ranked opponents, Baylor has an average scoring margin of plus-12.5 while holding opponents to 36.8 percent from the floor. 

Despite all of this, the Bears are +2500 to win the national championship. That has them tied for the 10th-best odds in the country, which includes being tied with an Oregon team they defeated 66-49.

Barring a collapse of epic proportions, Baylor should at least finish second in the Big 12 and easily clinch a bid into the NCAA tournament. Any opponent facing Baylor during March will be in for a battle, as the Bears’ top seven scorers are at least juniors, which means they were with the program during their Sweet 16 run in 2014 and their unceremonious early exit in 2015. This experience has been important over the past several years, as veteran-laden teams have traditionally done well in the tournament.

Once again, Duke remains the favorite, according to books, with the Blue Devils sitting at +400. There are plenty of returning names on the Duke roster with Luke Kennard, Grayson Allen and Amile Jefferson leading the way. However, it has been Jayson Tatum who has really been the star, as the freshman has averaged 15.4 points and 7.6 rebounds in his first five games since joining the lineup following foot injury.

2017 NCAA Tournament Champion

Odds as of December 27 at Bovada

  • Duke +400
  • UCLA +500
  • Kentucky +700
  • Kansas +900
  • North Carolina +1000
  • Villanova +1200
  • Indiana +1800
  • Louisville +2000
  • Gonzaga +2200
  • Wisconsin +2500
  • Oregon +2500
  • Baylor +2500
  • Syracuse +2800
  • Virginia +2800
  • Michigan State +3300
  • Creighton +4000
  • West Virginia +4000
  • Xavier +4000
  • Arizona +5000
  • St. Mary's +5000
  • Wichita State +6600
  • Purdue +6600
  • Notre Dame +7500
  • NC State +7500
  • South Carolina +10000
  • Virginia Tech +10000
  • Michigan +10000
  • Florida +10000
  • Texas A&M +10000
  • Rhode Island +10000
  • Butler +10000
  • Oklahoma State +12500
  • Ohio State +12500
  • Florida State +12500
  • Georgetown +15000
  • Iowa State +20000
  • Connecticut +20000
  • Washington +20000
  • Cincinnati +20000
  • Clemson +20000
  • USC +20000
  • California +20000
  • Miami (FL) +25000
  • Colorado +25000
  • SMU +25000
  • Seton Hall +25000
  • Texas +30000
  • BYU +30000
  • Arkansas +30000
  • Marquette +30000
  • Oklahoma +30000
  • Maryland +30000
  • Kansas State +30000
  • Dayton +30000
  • San Diego State +50000
  • VCU +50000
  • Pittsburgh +50000
  • Nebraska +50000
  • Alabama +50000
  • Illinois +50000

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UCLA came into the season with high hopes, but some tempered expectations with several freshmen stepping into the starting lineup. But these youngsters have been a big reason why the Bruins have opened the season 10-0, including a massive victory over a then No. 1 ranked Kentucky team.

Lonzo Ball has stepped into the starting point guard position and has instantly cemented himself as one of the best point men in the country. Ball is averaging 15.0 points, 8.8 assists and 5.2 rebounds while shooting 56 percent from the field through the first month of the college basketball season. Ball’s impressive play has also allowed senior Bryce Alford to catch and shoot, which he is much better at than off the dribble.

Although T.J. Leaf was a five-star recruit, Ball’s arrival in LA overshadowed Leaf’s arrival but the 6’10” small forward has been a phenomenal shooter. Leaf is averaging 17.6 points while shooting 67.9 percent from the floor and 50 percent from beyond the arc.

UCLA’s combination of youth and experience has made the Bruins one of the best teams in the nation and has caused the value on their futures odds to dwindle. Opening the season, the Bruins were +5000 but that number had plummeted to +800 – the fourth-best – as of Monday.

Unsurprisingly, Duke remains atop the odds at +450. The Blue Devils opened the season 10-1 with the one loss coming at the last second to a then No. 7 Kansas squad. The scariest part of Duke’s start? The Blue Devils have done so almost entirely without any of their highly recruited freshmen. Both Jayson Tatum and Marques Bolden didn’t play until the eighth game while star recruit Harry Giles likely won’t play until the conference schedule starts.

2017 NCAA Tournament Champion

Odds as of December 12 at Bovada

  • Duke +450
  • Kentucky +650
  • UNC +750
  • UCLA +800
  • Kansas +900
  • Villanova +1400
  • Indiana +1600
  • Syracuse +2200
  • Wisconsin +2200
  • Baylor +2200
  • Oregon +2500
  • Virginia +2800
  • Gonzaga +3300
  • Xavier +3300
  • Michigan State +3300
  • Louisville +3300
  • Creighton +3300
  • Arizona +5000
  • NC State +5000
  • Wichita State +5000
  • West Virginia +5000
  • Purdue +6600
  • Michigan +6600
  • St. Mary's +6600
  • South Carolina +7500
  • Rhode Island +7500
  • Butler +10000
  • Iowa State +10000
  • Florida +10000
  • Notre Dame +10000
  • Ohio State +10000
  • Florida State +12500
  • Connecticut +12500
  • Washington +12500
  • Georgetown +15000
  • Seton Hall +15000
  • Oklahoma +15000
  • Cincinnati +15000
  • Maryland +15000
  • Texas A&M +15000
  • California +15000
  • Oklahoma State +15000
  • Texas +20000
  • Miami +20000
  • Virginia Tech +20000
  • Colorado +20000
  • Clemson +20000
  • SMU +20000
  • USC +20000
  • San Diego State +20000
  • BYU +25000
  • VCU +25000
  • Auburn +25000
  • Vanderbilt +25000
  • Marquette +30000
  • Kansas State +30000
  • Dayton +30000
  • UNLV +30000
  • Temple +30000
  • Pittsburgh +50000
  • Nebraska +50000
  • Iowa +50000
  • Alabama +50000
  • Illinois +50000

-------------------------------

Despite dropping from first to fifth in the rankings, the Duke Blue Devils remain the favorites to win the NCAA tournament. The biggest reason Duke fell was due to a tough 77-75 loss to Kansas on a final-second jumper from Frank Mason. If you remove that loss, the Blue Devils are outscoring opponents by 25.0 points per game, which includes a 10-point victory over a ranked Rhode Island squad.

Duke now sits at +500 to win the Madness per Bovada, but Kentucky (+600), Kansas (+700) and UNC (+700) are all close behind.

Kentucky vaulted to the top of the rankings thanks to a perfect 4-0 record, which includes a 69-48 victory over then 13th-ranked Michigan State. The freshman duo of Malik Monk and De’Aaron Fox has been the best in the nation, with the tandem averaging 31.1 points per game.

Kansas opened the season with a tough overtime loss to Indiana, but has since gone undefeated, including the previously mentioned victory over Duke. Many expected Mason to be the key piece of the Jayhawks offense, but nobody expected the guard to average 21.6 points while shooting over 50 percent from the field.

UNC has basically steamrolled its opposition and has yet to face a real challenge. The Tar Heels have an average scoring margin of plus-29.3 points. But the easy wins are likely over, as they face Wisconsin and Indiana in their next two games and a date with Kentucky is just around the corner.

2017 NCAA Tournament Champion

Odds as of November 23 at Bovada

  • Duke +500
  • Kentucky +600
  • Kansas +700
  • North Carolina +700
  • Syracuse +1200
  • Villanova +1400
  • Indiana +1800
  • Wisconsin +1800
  • Oregon +2000
  • Virginia +2500
  • Arizona +2800
  • Michigan State +3300
  • Xavier +3300
  • Louisville +3300
  • UCLA +4000
  • NC State +4000
  • Purdue +4000
  • Texas +5000
  • Connecticut +5000
  • Gonzaga +5000
  • Maryland +7500
  • West Virginia +7500
  • St. Mary’s +7500
  • Creighton +7500
  • California +10000
  • Iowa State +10000
  • Michigan +10000
  • Florida +10000
  • Baylor +10000
  • Washington +10000
  • SMU +10000
  • Rhode Island +10000
  • Georgetown +10000
  • Miami (FL) +15000
  • Oklahoma +15000
  • Texas A&M +15000
  • Iowa +15000
  • Seton Hall +15000
  • Florida State +15000
  • USC +15000
  • Wichita State +15000
  • Butler +15000
  • Cincinnati +20000
  • Ohio State +20000
  • Arizona State +20000
  • Notre Dame +20000
  • Vanderbilt +20000
  • VCU +20000
  • San Diego State +20000
  • South Carolina +20000
  • Tennessee +20000
  • Kansas State +20000
  • Marquette +20000
  • Pittsburgh +20000
  • Mississippi State +20000
  • Arkansas +25000
  • Dayton +30000
  • UNLV +30000
  • Colorado +30000
  • Alabama +30000
  • Georgia +30000
  • Georgia Tech +30000
  • Illinois +30000
  • Memphis +30000
  • Minnesota +30000
  • Mississippi +30000
  • Oklahoma State +30000
  • Nebraska +30000
  • St. John’s +30000
  • Virginia Tech +30000
  • Wake Forest +30000
  • Auburn +30000
  • LSU +50000
  • BYU +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
  • Valparaiso +50000

-------------------------------

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. He 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 FSU 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 the Seminoles 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 its 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 November 3 at Bovada

  • Duke +350
  • Kansas +900
  • Kentucky +900
  • Arizona +1400
  • Oregon +1400
  • North Carolina +1600
  • Wisconsin +1600
  • Villanova +2000
  • Michigan State +2000
  • Syracuse +2000
  • Indiana +3300
  • Virginia +3300
  • Louisville +3300
  • Xavier +4000
  • Connecticut +4000
  • Texas +4000
  • Purdue +5000
  • UCLA +5000
  • Gonzaga +5000
  • West Virginia +6600
  • Maryland +6600
  • Iowa State +6600
  • California +6600
  • NC State +6600
  • Miami (FL) +7500
  • Oklahoma +7500
  • Texas A&M +10000
  • Florida +10000
  • Iowa +10000
  • Michigan +10000
  • Seton Hall +15000
  • Baylor +15000
  • Wichita State +15000
  • Butler +15000
  • Cincinnati +15000
  • Georgetown +15000
  • Ohio State +15000
  • Florida State +15000
  • USC +15000
  • Arizona State +20000
  • 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
  • SMU +25000
  • Kansas State +25000
  • Marquette +25000
  • Pittsburgh +25000
  • Mississippi State +25000
  • Arkansas +25000
  • UNLV +30000
  • Colorado +30000
  • Alabama +30000
  • Georgia +30000
  • Georgia Tech +30000
  • Illinois +30000
  • Memphis +30000
  • Minnesota +30000
  • Mississippi +30000
  • Oklahoma State +30000
  • Nebraska +30000
  • St. John's +30000
  • Virginia Tech +30000
  • Wake Forest +30000
  • LSU +50000
  • 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
  • Valparaiso +50000

-------------------------------

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

-------------------------------

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

-------------------------------

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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