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NCAAB Futures: Best And Worst Value Entering the Season

We all know by now just how crazy college basketball is. Predicting at the start of the season who is going to be cutting down the nets is nearly impossible with all the madness. However, that does not mean that bettors should completely ignore the futures markets.

With the season getting underway, bettors should be looking for the teams just outside the national media spotlight that can provide excellent value before tournament time. Or, in the case of some teams, deciding that now is not the time to jump on the bandwagon simply because the value is not there.

With that in mind, here are a few of the best and worst value bets entering the college basketball season.

Best: Cincinnati Bearcats +3300

Cincinnati is not exactly the sexiest pick on the board, as we know that Mick Cronin’s team is always going to play sound defense and look to wear down opponents. However, this iteration of the Bearcats might represent the best offense Cronin has ever had during his tenure with the team.

With the likes of Jacob Evans, Cane Broome, Justin Jenifer and Jarron Cumberland, Cincinnati finally has the shooting to stretch the floor and help out its elite defense. Of course, the bigs will make this team run but when you combine them with a new, legit shooting threat, then Cincy becomes a lot more dangerous.

Worst: Mizzou Tigers +1600

Mizzou has a combined 27 wins over the past three seasons, yet has odds similar to teams such as Kansas and Wichita State. Why? Michael Porter.

Porter possesses a rare skill set that includes elite size, athleticism and shooting despite his young age. He was easily one of the top three recruits in the nation and will be one of the top picks in the upcoming NBA draft. However, recent history has proven that a top recruit going to a middling program does not guarantee success – just look at LSU with Ben Simmons and Washington with Markelle Fultz.

Mizzou’s recruiting class is better than the teams that were just mentioned but can a team that is likely led by three freshmen – not coached by John Calipari – win it all? I don’t think so.

Best: UCLA Bruins +5000

Yes, this team was absolutely gutted from last season. Gone are the likes of Lonzo Ball and TJ Leaf but coach Steve Alford has quickly restocked the cupboard with elite recruits. Jaylen Hands and Kris Wilkes were both ranked in the top 25 recruits in the nation and top five at their position. Both Hands and Wilkes are athletic, explosive players who work well with the ball in their hands while being underrated facilitators.

In addition, UCLA also brings back Aaron Holiday and Thomas Welsh. Holiday was arguably the best sixth man in basketball last season and should excel with more playing time flanked by two terrifying weapons. Though Welsh isn’t the sexiest player, he locks down the paint and offers size that few can contend with.

Worst: Texas Longhorns +2800

Once again, a much-hyped prospect gets a team overvalued. Mohamed Bamba is a massive human being who will become a dominant force defensively but there are still plenty of questions surrounding his offensive game. He will be an easy target down low and will score a lot off the lob but is that enough?

Texas won 11 games last season and watched its top two scorers depart. Coach Shaka Smart reloaded with five freshmen and a transfer but is this team somehow infinitely better than last year’s? I don’t think. Yes, they are better but not go from 11 wins to national champions better.

2018 NCAA Tournament Champion

Odds as of November 13 at Bovada

  • Duke +400
  • Michigan State +400
  • Arizona +600
  • Kentucky +800
  • Kansas +1600
  • Missouri +1600
  • USC +2000
  • Wichita State +2000
  • Villanova +2200
  • Florida +2200
  • North Carolina +2500
  • Texas +2800
  • Louisville +3300
  • Purdue +3300
  • Cincinnati +3300
  • Texas A&M +3300
  • Xavier +4000
  • UCLA +5000
  • West Virginia +5000
  • Notre Dame +5000
  • Minnesota +6600
  • Michigan +6600
  • Gonzaga +6600
  • Oregon +6600
  • Miami (FL) +6600
  • Alabama +6600
  • St. Mary's +6600
  • Virginia +7500
  • TCU +7500
  • Seton Hall +7500
  • Northwestern +7500
  • Baylor +10000
  • Wisconsin +10000
  • Syracuse +10000
  • Oklahoma +10000
  • Maryland +10000
  • Providence +10000
  • Butler +15000
  • Connecticut +15000
  • Illinois +15000
  • Indiana +20000
  • Creighton +20000
  • Iowa State +20000
  • Vanderbilt +20000
  • Auburn +20000
  • Arkansas +20000
  • San Diego State +20000
  • Virginia Tech +20000
  • Iowa +20000
  • Florida State +25000
  • Rhode Island +25000
  • SMU +30000
  • UNLV +30000
  • South Carolina +30000
  • Marquette +30000
  • Utah +30000
  • VCU +30000
  • Georgia +30000
  • Stanford +30000
  • BYU +30000
  • Ohio State +30000
  • Arizona State +30000
  • Penn State +30000
  • Wake Forest +30000
  • Georgetown +50000
  • Cal +50000
  • Clemson +50000
  • Colorado +50000
  • Dayton +50000
  • Kansas State +50000
  • Ole Miss +50000
  • Mississippi State +50000
  • Tennessee +50000
  • Oklahoma State +50000
  • Texas Tech +50000
  • NC State +50000
  • Pitt +50000
  • Boise State +50000
  • Boston College +50000
  • Colorado State +50000
  • Harvard +50000
  • Memphis +50000
  • LSU +50000
  • Northern Iowa +50000
  • Oregon State +50000
  • Washington State +50000
  • Washington +50000

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Louisville head basketball coach Rick Pitino has officially been fired. This is following the shocking news that the school is under federal investigation regarding fraud and corruption.

An Adidas executive and four college basketball assistant coaches, among others, were charged on September 26 with using hundreds of thousands of dollars to entice high school recruits to attend certain universities. Though the FBI did not implicate Louisville directly, interim university president Gregory Postel announced that the school was under investigation.

This investigation proved to be the straw that broke the camel’s back for Pitino in Louisville. During Pitino’s tenure at Louisville, which lasted over 15 years, he testified in a federal extortion trial against a woman he admitted to having sex with and was investigated by the NCAA regarding a highly publicized escort scandal – ultimately leading to the coach being punished for “failure to monitor.”

No matter how you feel about Pitino on a personal level, there is little doubt he is one of the greatest college coaches in history. The 65-year-old is the only college coach to ever win the national championship with two different schools and has amassed seven Final Four appearances.

Louisville’s basketball team will unquestionably take a hit for the upcoming season. Aside from the actual X’s and O’s perspective, the program’s top two recruits, Anfernee Simons and Courtney Ramey, have pulled their commitments from the school in light of the scandal. In addition, the NCAA has allowed players to transfer from a program in certain circumstances without losing any eligibility.

Pitino assistant coach David Padgett has been named the acting coach of the basketball team for the time being. The 32-year-old has never been a head coach of a basketball team at any level, as the former Louisville player joined the coaching staff of IUPUI only two years after graduating. 

Before the charges and subsequent coaching changes, Louisville was +1800 to +2200 to win the national championship. After some time of the futures being removed, Louisville suffered only a minor drop to +2500 to cut the nets down. 

2018 NCAA Tournament Champion

Odds as of October 19 at Bovada

  • Duke +400
  • Michigan State +600
  • Kentucky +750
  • Arizona +900
  • Kansas +1600
  • Missouri +1600
  • North Carolina +2000
  • Wichita State +2000
  • Louisville +2500
  • USC +2500
  • Texas +2500
  • Villanova +2800
  • Florida +3300
  • UCLA +4000
  • Minnesota +5000
  • Michigan +5000
  • Gonzaga +5000
  • Virginia +6600
  • Oregon +6600
  • West Virginia +6600
  • Butler +6600
  • Miami (FL) +6600
  • Alabama +6600
  • Purdue +6600
  • St. Mary's +6600
  • Notre Dame +6600
  • Indiana +7500
  • Baylor +7500
  • Wisconsin +7500
  • Xavier +7500
  • TCU +7500
  • Florida State +7500
  • Oklahoma +10000
  • Cincinnati +10000
  • Creighton +10000
  • Seton Hall +10000
  • Connecticut +10000
  • SMU +10000
  • Iowa State +10000
  • Vanderbilt +10000
  • Maryland +10000
  • Syracuse +10000
  • UNLV +10000
  • Auburn +10000
  • South Carolina +15000
  • Arkansas +15000
  • Illinois +15000
  • Marquette +15000
  • Northwestern +15000
  • San Diego State +15000
  • Texas A&M +15000
  • Utah +15000
  • VCU +15000
  • Virginia Tech +15000
  • Georgetown +15000
  • Georgia +20000
  • Providence +25000
  • Stanford +25000
  • Iowa +25000
  • California +30000
  • BYU +30000
  • Ohio State +30000
  • Arizona State +30000
  • Clemson +30000
  • Colorado +30000
  • Dayton +30000
  • Kansas State +30000
  • Mississippi +30000
  • Mississippi State +30000
  • Rhode Island +30000
  • Tennessee +30000
  • Oklahoma State +30000
  • Penn State +30000
  • Texas Tech +30000
  • Wake Forest +30000
  • NC State +50000
  • Pittsburgh +50000
  • Boise State +50000
  • Boston College +50000
  • Colorado State +50000
  • Harvard +50000
  • LSU +50000
  • Memphis +50000
  • Northern Iowa +50000
  • Oregon State +50000
  • Washington State +50000
  • Washington +50000

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The nation’s top recruit is going to Durham. Marvin Bagley chose Duke over several other suitors after he decided to reclassify for the 2017 class, which means he will be eligible for the 2018 NBA draft.

Bagley will be an immediate asset for the Blue Devils, as he brings a massive frame, smooth ball-handling and scoring ability to the team. He will almost certainly step into the starting lineup and show his athleticism by beating opposing big men off the bounce.

Bagley also gives Duke some stellar depth, as the frontcourt will now have Bagley, Wendell Carter (another prized recruit) and Marques Bolden. When you combine that frontcourt with five-star recruit Trevon Duval at the point and all-American Grayson Allen, Duke is a scary team for anyone to defend.

Now that Bagley will be playing at Cameron Indoor Stadium, the Blue Devils find themselves as the +500 fave to win the national championship this season. Before the commitment, Duke sat second behind a quietly stacked Michigan State squad.

2018 NCAA Tournament Champion

Odds as of August 15 at Bovada

  • Duke +500
  • Michigan State +650
  • Arizona +800
  • Kentucky +900
  • Kansas +1600
  • North Carolina +2000
  • Louisville +2000
  • Missouri +2000
  • Wichita State +2500
  • USC +2500
  • Villanova +2800
  • Texas +2800
  • Florida +3300
  • Michigan +3300
  • Gonzaga +4000
  • UCLA +4000
  • Oregon +4000
  • West Virginia +5000
  • Butler +5000
  • Miami (FL) +5000
  • Virginia +6600
  • Alabama +5000
  • Indiana +6600
  • St. Mary's +6600
  • Purdue +5000
  • Notre Dame +6600
  • Baylor +6600
  • Wisconsin +6600
  • Xavier +6600
  • Minnesota +7500
  • Florida State +7500
  • TCU +10000
  • Oklahoma +10000
  • Cincinnati +10000
  • Creighton +10000
  • Seton Hall +10000
  • Connecticut +10000
  • SMU +10000
  • Iowa State +10000
  • Vanderbilt +10000
  • Maryland +10000
  • Syracuse +10000
  • Auburn +10000
  • South Carolina +15000
  • Arkansas +15000
  • Illinois +15000
  • Marquette +15000
  • Northwestern +15000
  • San Diego State +15000
  • Texas A&M +15000
  • Utah +15000
  • VCU +15000
  • Virginia Tech +15000
  • Georgetown +15000
  • Georgia +20000
  • Providence +25000
  • Stanford +25000
  • Iowa +25000
  • California +30000
  • BYU +30000
  • Ohio State +30000
  • Arizona State +30000
  • Clemson +30000
  • Colorado +30000
  • Dayton +30000
  • Kansas State +30000
  • Mississippi +30000
  • Mississippi State +30000
  • Rhode Island +30000
  • Tennessee +30000
  • Oklahoma State +30000
  • Penn State +30000
  • Texas Tech +30000
  • Wake Forest +30000
  • NC State +50000
  • Pittsburgh +50000
  • Boise State +50000
  • Boston College +50000
  • Colorado State +50000
  • Harvard +50000
  • LSU +50000
  • Memphis +50000
  • Northern Iowa +50000
  • Oregon State +50000
  • UNLV +10000
  • Washington State +50000
  • Washington +50000

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When it comes to dominant college basketball programs, USC isn’t exactly the first name that comes to mind. Sure, the Trojans are usually solid and have made the NCAA tournament each of the past two seasons but they have not made an Elite Eight in over 15 years and haven’t been to the Final Four since 1954.

Maybe, just maybe, this is the USC squad to finally win the school’s first national title. It may seem crazy but this team made it to the Round of 32 last season and will be returning their top eight scorers. The team got lucky when leading scorer Bennie Boatwright decided not to enter the NBA draft and leading rebounder Chimezie Metu didn’t even entertain the idea. 

On top of returning the bulk of a lineup that posted a 26-10 record last season, despite Boatwright missing 17 games, the team is welcoming Duke transfer Derryck Thornton and five-star recruit Chuck O’Bannon.

Thornton was a five-star recruit coming out of high school and averaged 7.1 points and 2.6 assists in his time with Duke two seasons ago; he had to sit out last season due to transfer rules. O’Bannon bucked family tradition and headed to Southern Cali – his father and uncle both played at UCLA. The youngest O’Bannon has the prototypical size, athleticism and scoring ability to immediately become a bucket-getter for USC as a freshman.

On paper, USC has every tool at its disposal to finally win the big one. A freshman who could be a deadly scorer in both iso or in transition, an experienced group of players who have plenty of familiarity with the tournament and a squad that doesn’t foul. There will need to be some strides made on the defensive end of the floor but the Trojans should be able to score their way into the tourney, at the very least. And once you’re in the madness, anything can happen. 

2018 NCAA Tournament Champion

Odds as of July 10 at Bovada

  • Michigan State +650
  • Duke +700
  • Arizona +800
  • Kentucky +900
  • Kansas +1600
  • North Carolina +1800
  • Louisville +1800
  • Missouri +1800
  • Texas +2000
  • Wichita State +2200
  • Villanova +2500
  • Gonzaga +2500
  • Florida +2500
  • Michigan +2800
  • UCLA +2800
  • Oregon +3300
  • West Virginia +3300
  • USC +3300
  • Butler +4000
  • Indiana +5000
  • Virginia +5000
  • Miami (FL) +5000
  • Notre Dame +5000
  • St. Mary's +5000
  • Purdue +5000
  • Xavier +5000
  • Florida State +6600
  • Baylor +6600
  • Alabama +6600
  • Wisconsin +6600
  • Oklahoma +7500
  • Cincinnati +7500
  • Minnesota +7500
  • Creighton +10000
  • Seton Hall +10000
  • Connecticut +10000
  • SMU +10000
  • Iowa State +10000
  • Vanderbilt +10000
  • Maryland +10000
  • TCU +10000
  • Syracuse +10000
  • South Carolina +15000
  • Arkansas +15000
  • Illinois +15000
  • Marquette +15000
  • Northwestern +15000
  • San Diego State +15000
  • Texas A&M +15000
  • Utah +15000
  • VCU +15000
  • Virginia Tech +15000
  • Georgetown +15000
  • Providence +20000
  • Georgia +20000
  • Stanford +25000
  • Auburn +25000
  • California +25000
  • Iowa +25000
  • BYU +30000
  • Ohio State +30000
  • Arizona State +30000
  • Clemson +30000
  • Colorado +30000
  • Dayton +30000
  • Kansas State +30000
  • Mississippi +30000
  • Mississippi State +30000
  • Rhode Island +30000
  • Tennessee +30000
  • Oklahoma State +30000
  • Penn State +30000
  • Texas Tech +30000
  • Wake Forest +30000
  • NC State +50000
  • Pittsburgh +50000
  • Boise State +50000
  • Boston College +50000
  • Colorado State +50000
  • Harvard +50000
  • LSU +50000
  • Memphis +50000
  • Northern Iowa +50000
  • Oregon State +50000
  • UNLV +50000
  • Washington State +50000
  • Washington +50000

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

Miles Bridges is returning to East Lansing next season. The surefire lottery pick turned down millions in order to return to Michigan State and try to help claim a national championship for the Spartans. The high-profile return has boosted Michigan State’s profile and has made the Spartans the favorites to cut down the nets next year.

The six-foot-seven forward averaged 16.9 points during his freshman campaign, which is the most by a Spartans first-year player since Magic Johnson. It’s not just Bridges who makes this team a national title contender, though. Four of Michigan State’s top five scorers were freshmen last season and all will be on the team again this upcoming campaign. The young core suffered through plenty of growing pains during their first season together but those should be a thing of the past.

When you add to that young core a couple of high-profile forward recruits, there is a chance that this Michigan State squad has more pure talent than Tom Izzo has ever had in his coaching career.

Of course, the other teams nipping at Michigan State’s heels are the typical programs. Kentucky has the second-best odds at +1100 with UNC, Duke and Louisville all coming in at +1200.

2018 NCAA Tournament Champion

Odds as of April 17 at Bovada

  • Michigan State +800
  • Kentucky +1100
  • North Carolina 1200
  • Duke +1200
  • Louisville +1200
  • Kansas +1400
  • Gonzaga +1400
  • Villanova +1400
  • Arizona +1600
  • Michigan +2500
  • Indiana +2500
  • Wichita State +2500
  • Florida +2500
  • UCLA +2500
  • Butler +2800
  • West Virginia +2800
  • Missouri +2800
  • Virginia +3300
  • Florida State +4000
  • Oklahoma +4000
  • Oregon +4000
  • Baylor +4000
  • Miami (FL) +5000
  • Notre Dame +5000
  • St. Mary's +5000
  • Purdue +5000
  • USC +5000
  • Seton Hall +6600
  • Alabama +6600
  • Connecticut +7500
  • Iowa State +7500
  • Vanderbilt +7500
  • Wisconsin +7500
  • Xavier +7500
  • Cincinnati +7500
  • Creighton +7500
  • Minnesota +7500
  • SMU +7500
  • Maryland +10000
  • Arkansas +10000
  • Illinois +10000
  • Marquette +10000
  • Northwestern +10000
  • San Diego State +10000
  • South Carolina +10000
  • Syracuse +10000
  • Texas A&M +10000
  • Utah +10000
  • VCU +10000
  • Virginia Tech +10000
  • Georgetown +15000
  • BYU +20000
  • Ohio State +20000
  • Providence +20000
  • TCU +20000
  • Stanford +20000
  • Arizona State +25000
  • Auburn +25000
  • California +25000
  • Clemson +25000
  • Colorado +25000
  • Dayton +25000
  • Georgia +25000
  • Iowa +25000
  • Kansas State +25000
  • Mississippi +25000
  • Mississippi State +25000
  • Rhode Island +25000
  • Tennessee +25000
  • Texas +25000
  • Oklahoma State +30000
  • Penn State +30000
  • Texas Tech +30000
  • Wake Forest +30000
  • NC State +50000
  • Pittsburgh +50000
  • Boise State +50000
  • Boston College +50000
  • Colorado State +50000
  • Harvard +50000
  • LSU +50000
  • Memphis +50000
  • Northern Iowa +50000
  • Oregon State +50000
  • UNLV +50000
  • Washington State +50000
  • Washington +50000

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The college basketball season just ended but that is not going to stop fans from looking forward to next season. The wheel keeps on turning and so do the odds, as books have already released their futures for the 2018 national champions.

Kentucky is listed as the early +1000 favorite according to Bovada. Sure, Malik Monk, De’Aaron Fox and Bam Adebayo will be playing in the NBA next season but John Calipari faces that type of issue every year. The Wildcats have already signed five five-star recruits and are in the conversation to nab a couple more. There is a notable lack of depth in the backcourt but highly touted recruit Hamidou Diallo has the ability to replace Monk and Wenyen Gabriel will get more minutes after flashing his talent during his freshman campaign.

Following Kentucky is fellow blue blood UNC (+1200). The Tar Heels will need to replace the paint presence of Kennedy Meeks and Isaiah Hicks. That was a major concern about a month ago but Luke Maye proved that he is capable of being a starter in the frontcourt during the tourney. UNC does look like it will lack some serious size but has a glut of talent at the guard position between returning players and recruits.

One team certainly worth an early look is Wichita State. This is a Shockers team that ended the season 31-5 overall, made the second round of March Madness and will be returning every single starter next year. It won’t be as easy for Wichita State playing in the AAC compared to the Missouri Valley Conference. However, Gregg Marshall is a wizard of a coach and the depth of this team is undeniable.

2018 NCAA Tournament Champion

Odds as of April 5 at Bovada

  • Kentucky +1000
  • North Carolina +1200
  • Duke +1400
  • Kansas +1400
  • Louisville +1400
  • Gonzaga +1400
  • Villanova +1400
  • Arizona +1600
  • Michigan State +2000
  • Michigan +2000
  • Indiana +2200
  • Florida +2500
  • UCLA +2500
  • Butler +2800
  • West Virginia +2800
  • Wichita State +2800
  • Florida State +3300
  • Oklahoma +3300
  • Oregon +3300
  • Virginia +3300
  • Miami (FL) +4000
  • Notre Dame +4000
  • St. Mary's +4000
  • BYU +5000
  • Purdue +5000
  • Seton Hall +5000
  • USC +5000
  • Alabama +6600
  • Connecticut +6600
  • Iowa State +6600
  • Vanderbilt +6600
  • Wisconsin +6600
  • Xavier +6600
  • Cincinnati +7500
  • Creighton +7500
  • Minnesota +7500
  • SMU +7500
  • Maryland +10000
  • Arkansas +10000
  • Illinois +10000
  • Marquette +10000
  • Northwestern +10000
  • San Diego State +10000
  • South Carolina +10000
  • Syracuse +10000
  • Texas A&M +10000
  • Utah +10000
  • VCU +10000
  • Georgetown +15000
  • Ohio State +15000
  • Providence +15000
  • Arizona State +25000
  • Auburn +25000
  • Baylor +25000
  • California +25000
  • Clemson +25000
  • Colorado +25000
  • Dayton +25000
  • Georgia +25000
  • Iowa +25000
  • Kansas State +25000
  • Mississippi +25000
  • Mississippi State +25000
  • Missouri +25000
  • Oklahoma State +25000
  • Rhode Island +25000
  • Tennessee +25000
  • Texas +25000
  • NC State +30000
  • Penn State +30000
  • Pittsburgh +30000
  • Stanford +30000
  • Texas Tech +30000
  • Virginia Tech +30000
  • Wake Forest +30000
  • Boise State +50000
  • Boston College +50000
  • Colorado State +50000
  • Harvard +50000
  • LSU +50000
  • Memphis +50000
  • Northern Iowa +50000
  • Oregon State +50000
  • UNLV +50000
  • Washington State +50000
  • Washington +50000
  • Mount St. Mary's +100000
  • Saint Joseph's 100000
  • Temple +100000

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

We all love Cinderella runs and upsets in March Madness, but you must be happy to see UNC and Gonzaga face off in the national championship game. After all, there is little doubt that the Tar Heels and Bulldogs are the best teams in the nation.

UNC’s combination of board dominance and Justin Jackson’s offensive creativity have made the team a handful for any opponent this season. Senior Kennedy Meeks has been maybe the most important player, as his paint presence has helped UNC become the best rebounding team in the country.

Gonzaga has been one of the most efficient teams in the country thanks to frontcourt depth and the passing abilities of all-American Nigel Williams-Goss. Though Spokane, Washington legend Przemek Karnowski has not looked phenomenal during the tourney, backup Zach Collins has cemented himself as a first-round pick in the NBA draft.

2016-17 National Championship Game Odds
TeamSpreadMoneylineTotal
UNC-1.5 (-105)-125OVER 155 (-105)
Gonzaga+1.5 (-115)+105UNDER 155 (-115)

Odds as of April 3 at Bovada

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

And then there were four. Though the road to the Final Four took some twists and turns, three of the remaining teams certainly entered the Madness as popular picks to cut down the nets in Arizona.

UNC enters the Final Four as the slight +140 favorite to win it all after little-known walk-on Luke Maye hit the game-winning shot against Kentucky in the Elite Eight. Of course, we will hear a lot about Justin Jackson and Joel Berry II but Kennedy Meeks may have quietly been the Tar Heels’ most important player. Meeks has averaged 13 rebounds per game over the past three outings while UNC has easily outrebounded each opponent in that span.

Gonzaga is posting the second-best odds with the Bulldogs entering the Final Four at +180. After starting the tourney slowly, Gonzaga decimated Xavier 83-59 in the Elite Eight to book the first Final Four berth in program history. Much like UNC, it has been an often-overlooked player for the Zags who has made the biggest impact. Johnathan Williams has averaged 16 points and seven rebounds while shooting 63.1 percent between the Sweet 16 and the Elite Eight.

After the two No. 1 seeds, odds drop off with Oregon sitting at +550 and South Carolina at +750. Tyler Dorsey has been the hottest shooter of the tourney, as the Ducks sophomore has averaged 24.5 ppg while shooting 62.9 percent from the floor and 65.4 from deep. Senior Sindarius Thornwell has had a March Madness for the ages, with the Gamecocks guard averaging 25.8 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.0 steals per game while playing aggressive, pressure-based defense.

2017 NCAA Tournament Champion

Odds as of March 27 at Bovada

  • UNC +140
  • Gonzaga +180
  • Oregon +550
  • South Carolina +750

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

In a March filled with upsets and tightly contested games, Kansas has been the lone No. 1 seed to look absolutely dominant. In the first weekend of the tourney, Kansas had an average scoring margin of plus-29 points, shot 54.7 percent from the field and outrebounded opponents by a combined 30 boards.

With the Jayhawks crushing their opposition, Frank Mason and company find themselves as a slight +475 favorite to win the NCAAB tournament entering the Sweet 16. Kansas will face off against Purdue in the Sweet 16, which could expose a lack of frontcourt depth but will likely see the guards continue to draw fouls and rack up free points. Slowing down Kansas won’t be easy for any defense, as all five starters are averaging double-digit points so far during March Madness.

UNC comes in close behind Kansas at +500. The Tar Heels rightfully cruised past Texas Southern in the first round but then struggled mightily against Arkansas. UNC shot just 38.1 percent from the floor and 29.4 percent from deep while turning the ball over 17 times, but lucky for them Arkansas looked just as bad. Getting Joel Berry going will be a huge help for UNC, as the point guard has been dealing with an ankle injury and has not looked good during March Madness.

Easily the most intriguing region is the East. Villanova and Duke both went down in the second round and any of the teams remaining could find themselves in the Final Four. Florida has the best odds of any team in the East to cut down the nets at +1200. The Gators absolutely destroyed Virginia by holding the Cavaliers to just 39 points. We can’t expect Florida to play that well defensively and their opponents to play that poorly offensively, but the Gators have a very good defense and can score when they need to.

2017 NCAA Tournament Champion

Odds as of March 20 at Bovada

  • Kansas +475
  • UNC +500
  • Arizona +650
  • Gonzaga +650
  • UCLA +900
  • Kentucky +1000
  • Florida +1200
  • Baylor +1600
  • Michigan +1600
  • West Virginia +1800
  • Oregon +1800
  • Wisconsin +1800
  • Purdue +2000
  • Butler +4000
  • South Carolina +5000
  • Xavier +7500

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After months and months of anticipation, it’s finally time for the NCAAB tournament to begin. With the bracket out, fans can map potential matchups for their favorite teams throughout the tourney and see just how difficult it is going to be for their boys to cut down the nets.

Of course, oddsmakers have done the same thing to see who should justifiably be listed as betting favorites entering the Madness. And the names atop the list should not come as much of a shock to casual and hard-core fans of basketball alike.

ACC rivals Duke and UNC pace the pack. The Blue Devils find themselves entering the tournament playing their best basketball of the season and have a relatively easy path to the Elite Eight. It gets infinitely more challenging from that point on with Duke taking on Villanova in the East Region finals if chalk holds true. The Tar Heels have some favorable matchups with the No. 1 seed in the South Region, but that bracket also features the likes of UCLA and Kentucky.

The next three teams are nothing but college basketball blue bloods with Villanova, Kansas and Kentucky all within striking distance of the top spot per the odds.

’Nova enters the tourney as the best team in the country and few people would debate that. They have maybe the most valuable player in the country in Josh Hart and their lineup largely consists of the same team that won it all last year.

Kansas has potentially the best backcourt in the country, which has proven to be incredibly important for deep runs into the tournament over the past several years. Frank Mason III is one of the two most clutch players in the country. Only Oregon’s Dillon Brooks can keep up with the senior, and he has routinely put the team on his back late in games this season.

Kentucky is a dangerous pick due to their relative inexperience — their top three options offensively are freshmen — but they may have more skill than anyone else in the nation. Malik Monk is plenty capable of creating his own shot and De’Aaron Fox flashed some prolific scoring in the SEC tournament to go with his versatile game.

Once again, Gonzaga finds itself a step behind the elite. The Bulldogs have become a bit of a joke among college basketball fans with their habit of folding early in the NCAAB tourney. This team is different from the program’s past, as it has a glut of scorers instead of relying on a select few like the past. The Zags will get tested early and often in the tournament, but this team seems up to the challenge.

2017 NCAA Tournament Champion

Odds as of March 12 at BetOnline

  • Duke +600
  • North Carolina +600
  • Villanova +750
  • Kansas +800
  • Kentucky +850
  • Gonzaga +1000
  • Arizona +1200
  • UCLA +1200
  • Louisville +1600
  • Oregon +1800
  • Florida State +2500
  • West Virginia +2500
  • Florida +2800
  • Purdue +2800
  • Baylor +3300
  • Virginia +3300
  • Iowa State +3300
  • SMU +3300
  • Michigan +3300
  • Notre Dame +4000
  • Wisconsin +4000
  • Butler +5000
  • Minnesota +8000
  • Cincinnati +8000
  • Saint Mary’s +8000
  • Creighton +10000
  • Maryland +10000
  • Michigan State +10000
  • Oklahoma State +10000
  • Rhode Island +10000
  • Miami +15000
  • Vanderbilt +15000
  • Xavier +15000
  • Wichita State +15000
  • South Carolina +20000
  • Northwestern +20000
  • Virginia Tech +20000
  • Seton Hall +20000
  • USC +20000
  • Kansas State +20000
  • Middle Tennessee +20000
  • Dayton +25000
  • Arkansas +25000
  • Marquette +25000
  • Providence +25000
  • Wake Forest +25000
  • VCU +30000
  • UNC Wilmington +50000
  • Nevada +50000
  • Winthrop +50000
  • Princeton +75000
  • East Tennessee State +75000
  • Vermont +75000
  • Bucknell +75000
  • New Mexico State +200000
  • Iona +200000
  • Florida Gulf Coast +200000
  • North Carolina Central +200000
  • Kent State +500000
  • Troy +500000
  • Jacksonville State +500000
  • Mount St. Mary’s +500000
  • New Orleans +500000
  • South Dakota State +500000
  • Texas Southern +500000

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