The field is set and the brackets are out. This means we have a good understanding of which teams are contenders to compete for the NCAA Tournament title, and which teams are not. There has been a big enough sample size to where we can make educated guesses at what will happen in March Madness.
Coming into the season, UCLA was one of my favorite long shot bets to take down the tourney. Their chances of winning were greater than their odds in my opinion, which were roughly +8000 before the season. And now that value bet on UCLA looks great considering the Bruins are currently the one of the favorites at +1175 odds.
While I still like this team a lot, the value is gone at this current price. And they can score with anyone, but I’m not sure they play enough defense to reel off six consecutive victories against the best teams in the country. I love the +8000 ticket I have, but I wouldn’t recommend betting them again at their current price.
North Carolina is currently the favorite at +685 and with good reason. They probably have the clearest path to the Championship of any of the top seeds in the current bracket. Duke at +910 is the top #2 seed in the tournament and currently has better odds than the top seed in their region, Gonzaga (+950).
You can find my full bracket picks for this season here.
Scroll down below this table to get my value bets to win the NCAA tournament.
|Team||5 Dimes Odds|
|Saint Mary’s CA||+12000|
|East Tennessee State||+200000|
|New Mexico State||+500000|
|Florida Gulf Coast||+500000|
|Mount St. Mary’s||+999999|
|North Carolina Central||+999999|
|South Dakota State||+999999|
As I’ve stated above, it’s not worth wagering on the favorites. Instead, we are going to pinpoint a couple of teams further down the line that are showing great value. These are teams that I think will have shorter odds once the tournament rolls around, so the time is now to pounce on them.
As of this writing, the Gators are playing as well as anyone in the country right now. They have won five straight games by double-digits with a 35-point win at LSU, a 32-point win at Oklahoma, a 39-point home win over Missouri, a 22-point home win over Kentucky and a 12-point win at Georgia. That win over Kentucky proved what they are capable of.
The Gators have lost just five games all season. Four of the five came by 5 points or less to the likes of Gonzaga, Florida State, South Carolina and Vanderbilt. The other was a 10-point loss to Duke. So as you can see, the Gators have played some of the best teams in the country, and they haven’t been overmatched in any game this year.
Florida’s best attribute is its ability to get after it defensively. It ranks 39th in scoring defense at 65.4 points per game. But the Gators are vastly improved on the offensive end this year, ranking 53rd in scoring at 79.4 points per game. They have scored at least 84 points in four of their last five games, so they are really clicking on this end right now.
The Boilermakers are the best team in the Big Ten in my opinion. They just don’t have any weaknesses. They rank 26th in scoring (81.6), 25th in free throw percentage (76%) and 5th in 3-point shooting (41.8%) in the country offensively. Defensively, they rank 43rd in opponents field goal percentage (40.7%) and 20th in rebounds per game.
Purdue is led by Wooden Award candidate Caleb Swanigan (19.0 ppg, 12.8 rpg, 48.2% 3-pointers). He and Isaac Haas (12.8 ppg, 5.1 rpg) are a formidable duo inside. The guard play is vastly improved this season, and basically everyone on the floor outside of Haas can shoot the 3-pointer. That’s evident by the fact that five key contributors are shooting 41.4% from 3-point range or better on the season. I think the Boilermakers have a legitimate shot to take down the title based on their lack of weaknesses across the board.
Remember to check out the daily college basketball odds each night of the season to see if there is any value with these teams or others.