We are about a month away from the NCAA Tournament and it is time to assess the betting boards for value. I have broken the teams into 3 different tiers, although I think they are all worthy bets. I believe the most important factors in a teams Championship chances are the Coaching and Guard play.
Tier One Teams
Virginia +1400 – Malcolm Brogdon and Anthony Gill are both 5th year seniors, the teams leading scorers, averaging around 15 ppg each. Virginia is astounding as a team from 3 pt range averaging 40%. They have three top guards and have dominated the ACC the past couple years, priming them with experience for the Tournament.
Kentucky +1200 – Even in a turnover year Coach Calipari has possibly the best backcourt in the nation with true point guard Tyler Ulis and lottery-pick shooting guard James Murray. The Wildcats have an athletic advantage at virtually every position but can they overcome their lack of experience?
Duke +1400 – Brandon Ingram is challenging to become the #1 pick in the NBA draft and Grayson Allen is a college star. Their main weaknesses are the front-court in comparison to other contenders, and a middle of the pack defense. Duke has been entrenched in the top 5 of offensive efficiency all season, couple that with legendary Coach K and this team will surprise no one with a Final Four run.
Tier Two Teams
Indiana +3300 – Yogi Ferrell is a great point guard that is often overlooked. Ferrell is the senior leader that shoots a tremendous percentage from everywhere on the court. The Hoosiers are atop the Big 10 conference and sport four players that average over 11ppg. A balanced team is vital come tournament time as Coaches formulate defenses to stop individual scoring specialists. This might be the first time Coach Crean gets his team back to the Final Four since Dwyane Wades’ Marquette run. Best value at the moment.
West Virginia +4000 – Coach Bob Huggins constantly finds streetballers that play hard defense. The type of players are often raw but fearless. A pressing team that have 6 players that average around 10 ppg. This team is currently ranked in the top 30 of both offensive and defensive efficiency, a great quality for this future bet.
UCONN +4000 – Shonn Miller, Rodney Purvis, and Sterling Gibbs are veteran leaders for this team and all average over 12ppg. Daniel Hamilton is a sophomore standout that is extremely balanced with an 11/9/5 stat line, he also leads the team in FT% with 86%. Coach Kevin Ollie led the Huskies to the title with two good guards and now he has four. This team has everything to become a giant killer in March.
Providence +6600 – Armed with the top point guard prospect for the NBA in Kris Dunn who is averaging 17 pts, 6 rebs, 7 assists and 3 steals. Ben Benti and Rodney Bullock are sophomores that combine to average 32 points and 15 rebounds. The Friars are young and talented but have underachieved all year. There is great potential in Dunn leading this team far but I am worried he is merely coasting to his multi-million dollar payday and not hungry enough to realize his skill and dominate the Tournament. 66-1 though is one of my favorite bets.
Notre Dame +6600 – Demetrius Jackson is a beast and one of the best point guards in College Basketball. The Fighting Irish have 5 players that average 12 or more per game and 4 of them are Upperclassmen. Expect tons of shootouts when Notre Dame plays they are the Nations #1 Offensive Team, but stop no one defensively ranked a paltry #218.
Syracuse +7500 – They lack any depth but play a unique zone defense that stifles opponents and forces them to have hot shooting nights. Their top four scorers Gbinije, Cooney, Richardson, and Lydon all shoot over 35% from 3. The Orange are a different team under the guidance of Coach Boeheim and will be great value at 75-1 if they close the year on a hot streak.