College Basketball Futures 2023: Best NCAAB Values Right Now

These college basketball teams are high value picks with the current odds to win a national championship.

BY MATTY D.

This has been a volatile year for college basketball’s top 25. After the long-standing favorite of Houston, numbers 2 through 10 have been a game of musical chairs. The Houston Cougars currently sit at 6-1 odds to win it all.

Click here to see the volatile fluctuations of team stocks over this season.

This article outlines my favorite value picks for current odds to win it all.

#5 Florida Atlantic 200-1 to Win NCAA Basketball Tournament

The Owls have come out of nowhere, so if you’re scratching your head, welcome to my list. The Owls haunted the Florida Gators and their high hopes for a tournament caliber year by dominating them in Gainesville. Florida Atlantic continued their momentum into conference play where they’ve beaten tournament-relevant programs like UAB, North Texas and Western Kentucky. They are now unbelievably ranked 21st overall in the nation and somehow still 200-1 to win it all. The Owls can knock down the three. FAU’s bench can score — its two top scorers come off the bench. They rank among the top 10 teams in the nation in scoring and have a perimeter surrounded with combo guards who can create their own shots. Take your shot by considering this heavy underdog for at least a Final Four ticket. The Conference USA teams are always dangerous in March Madness (think Middle Tennessee and North Texas).

Photo courtesy fausports.com

#4 Arkansas Razorbacks 50-1 to Win NCAA Basketball Tournament

This will be the first of two SEC teams on the list. If you are a futures shopper you should consider investing in the conference itself to win it all. You might even find a 4-1 or 5-1 steal and suddenly be invested in all the high level teams — Tennessee, Alabama, Kentucky, the list goes on.

As for Arkansas, the roster has turned over completely, but the identity remains the same. The Hogs defend hard, play fast, and challenge at the rim on both ends. This is a better team on the defensive end, ranking in kenpom’s top 20. The Mitchell brothers offer some size and athleticism down low. Jordan Walsh is really fun to watch with his Dennis Rodman-like tenacity. The team is loaded with McDonald’s All-Americans (three current, one more committed). If you are reading mock NBA draft boards and like this team because of prospect Nick Smith Jr., don’t. Smith has not been a consistent piece of this lineup. That said, if he emerges into the rotation during the start of the tournament itself, it might be time to jump on the bandwagon. That might be a guy, and this might be a team, looking to improve its stock greatly on the national stage.

Photo courtesy Razorbacks Men’s Basketball on Twitter

#3 College of Charleston 300-1 to Win NCAA Basketball Tournament

This one honestly made me do a double-take. I can’t believe College of Charleston is being disrespected in this way. If 300-1 is too rich for your blood (or too thrifty in this case), then you should at least consider CoC at 60-1 or 70-1 to make a magical run to a Final Four. This is a tournament team. The Cougars have cracked the AP Top 25 a few weeks ago and have stuck there in the 18-25 range. Even thought they play in a mid-major conference, they may not need to win their conference tournament championship. C of C has been totally running their league opponents out of the gym. They are consistently winning by 15, 20, 25 points or more. The are undefeated in the Colonial Athletic Conference and only have one loss to their name at 21-1. It has wins over Kent State, Virginia Tech, Davidson and Colorado State. Its only loss is to UNC. Bracketologist Joe Lunardi has them slotted as a 10 seed. Even if they lose one or two games in their conference, you could easily see this squad as a play-in-game 11 or 12 seed. Head coach Pat Kelsey has come over from Winthrop where he has brought his renowned conditioning and winning ways. The Cougars are deep, tall, can shoot, sprint to the ball, and play a ton of guys. A recent box score showed Kelsey playing 13 people. I didn’t even know that was possible. In that game, 10 players scored and 10 players played 9 minutes or more. Kelsey gives his guys no excuses not to run to a loose ball, hustle to a rebound, and get out in transition. The makeup of this team is perfectly suited for a tournament situation. If a 6 or 7 seed overlooks them, they’ll at least get the attention of the 2 or 3 seed in the next matchup.

Photo courtesy CofCSports.com

#2: Creighton Bluejays 65-1 to Win NCAA Basketball Tournament

Creighton’s futures tickets have been selling at a discount since a stretch when they lost 5 of 6 to start December. But when you look closer at the details, you see that this is still a Final Four caliber team. Creighton started the season ranked in the Top 10 of the AP Top 25. The Big 12 and SEC get a lot of hype as the best conferences in basketball. Well, Creighton beat Texas Tech (Big 12) and Arkansas (SEC) right before that losing streak started. And, the losing streak could certainly be attributed to losing their starting center, Ryan Kalkbrenner, to injury. Once Kalkbrenner returned, Creighton went 4-2 immediately. The loses they suffered during that rocky stretch included respectable losses to probably tournament teams. They lost to Arizona, BYU, Texas and Marquette in that stretch. This gives you an idea of how aggressively this team was scheduling. They had high hopes since challenging eventual champion Kansas in last year’s NCAA tournament.

Creighton was 65-1 to win it all on the FanDuel Sportsbook app on January 25, 2023.

Creighton’s athletic wings Arthur Kaluma and Trey Alexander set the tone for a stellar defensive squad. South Dakota State transfer Baylor Scheierman is a strong guard who can score at all three levels. He was arguably the most sought after transfer in America this offseason. And sophomore point guard Ryan Nembhard is a poised point guard who can control and take over games. Despite the turbulence, Creighton is still projected as we publish this as a tournament team. You can buy them at half off their 30-1 starting price when the season started.

Fun fact: Creighton has one of several sons of NBA stars playing college hoops right now.
Click here for our full list of sons of NBA players playing college basketball in the NCAA 2022-2023 season.

#1: Auburn Tigers 80-1 to Win NCAA Basketball Tournament

One team has quietly been lying in the tall grass ready to pounce. The Auburn Tigers are sitting at 100-1 to win it all in late January. This team has consistently been in the middle of the AP Top 25. Currently, they are ranked 16th in the nation. To put that into mathematical perspective, here are two teams in the same neighborhood in the futures marketplace. The Memphis Tigers are currently also 100-1 on the FanDuel Sportsbook app. However, those Tigers haven’t even received one vote in this week’ AP Top 25. The Ohio State Buckeyes are given more respect in the futures market. They are listed at 80-1. However, those Buckeyes only received three AP votes for the Top 25 this week.

Auburn was 80-1 to win it all on the FanDuel app on January 25, 2023 and 60-1 on DraftKings.

From a basketball perspective, Auburn is fun to watch as an aggressive defensive bunch. They just went into LSU and kicked their ass. The Tigers register on most of the defensive metrics. They have two veteran guards in K.D. Johnson and Wendell Green who value the ball and make winning plays. Senior forward Jaylin Williams has elevated his game and is contributing 11 points and 5 rebounds per game. Morehead State transfer Johni Broome is a wildly talented power forward who very well could pop on the national scene during the tournament. He has sticky grip hands and showcases great footwork in the post. Broome actually reminds you of a young Chris Bosh when you watch him. (That’s the Toronto Raptors version of Bosh, before he migrated to three point territory). Coach Bruce Pearl has this team in great condition and can play in waves that tire you out. Pearl took a similarly undervalued Auburn squad to the Final Four in 2019. That team was roughly 60-1 or 70-1 as the tournament began, depending on which marketplace you bought from. If you are going with this pick this year, also consider a ticket to make the Final Four at somewhere in the 20-1 territory.

Shake-up atop College Basketball’s Top 25 Sets Table for December

Major movements mark uncertainty at the top of college basketball

BY MATT DE SARLE

It happens every Thanksgiving. Great games go on, but between the post meal nap and the NFL football, it’s hard to keep up. Even the most hardcore college basketball fans did a double-take at the post-holiday top 25 to decipher exactly what happened. Here’s a recap of the major movers and shakers over feast week. This sets the table for not only a turbulent December of non-conference play, but some important resume bullets for when the committee sifts through what happened in November.

Big East Behaves Like a “Power 5” Conference in Basketball

Speaking of double-takes, you might have looked side-eyed at the preseason top 25 when you saw Creighton crack the top 10.

Read what I wrote about Creighton on November 7th here.

Not only have the Bluejays stuck the landing in the first month of play, they’ve been joined in the top 10 by fellow Big East power UCONN. Yes, the Huskies have returned to the Big East after a hiatus in the American Conference. Danny Hurley has this club clicking with great ball movement and some immoveable objects down low.

Arizona Wildcats can’t miss opportunity to dominate the Pac-12

The Arizona Wildcats were steam-rolling through to the top 5 with a ranking of number 4 overall in the nation. That’s when they took a head-scratching loss to Utah to open up conference. Arizona has lost Ben Mathurin to the NBA Lottery where he is currently playing for the Indiana Pacers. But the Wildcats have added another dynamic combo guard in Texas transfer Courtney Ramey. Ramey won’t bring the prime Russell Westbrook-like attack to the court, but you could do a lot worse in replacing an exiting NBA player. Azuolas Tubeless, a 6-11 forward who can run the floor with ease, needs to take the next step to stardom for this team to crack the Final Four. Another big man in Gonzaga transfer in 7 footer Oumar Ballo is also adding a lot more offensive production than he did while in Spokane.

With UCLA slipping out of the top 10, USC’s former front court playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers, and the likes of Arizona State and Stanford sputtering, this is Arizona’s conference to seize.

Purdue Boilermaker bully-ball their way into the top 10

Purdue went from unranked in the AP Preseason Top 25 to surging into the top 5. Purdue dominated Duke in the Phil Knight Legacy Championship game. Make what you will of this result, but Duke is not yet close to a finished product. Purdue’s center, 7 foot 2 Zach Edey jumps off the page and off the TV screen. However, past results have proven that Purdue, regardless of how many trees it has inside, is hard-pressed to crack the Final Four. A close game against Florida State (a struggling 1-7 record at the time although they always have size and length) in the ACC Big 10 Challenge took the shine off their early season domination.

Purdue catapults into the top 10 by dominating Duke

Against the Spread college basketball preview: Purdue and Tulsa for starters

I (Matty D.) am 68% against the spread so far this season.  That’s 30-14 record on the season (with one tie).  Scroll to the far below to see a time stamp history on Twitter to prove that my record is legit.

My first prediction for this weekend is that St. John’s won’t cover 8 1/2 points hosting Creighton.  If you have watched any St. John’s game this year, you know this:  nothing is easy.  I won’t give St. John’s a stitch of a chance of winning another game this year by 8.5+ points.  Not by a stitch of Lou Carnesecca’s sweater.  If you watched (again, Eye Test here people) the Creighton St. John’s game in Iowa, you know that the Storm fought their five-boroughs off just to be in that game.  As per usual, Chris Obekpa and DeAngelo Harrison were over-taxed.  Rysheed Jordan was MIA.  Sir Dominic Pointer was royalty as the name suggests.  This is the team storyline until they prove me otherwise.

How is Duke giving Notre Dame nine points?  The Irish could easily hit six three-pointers, which would be 18 points, hence making a 27 point 2-point field goal disadvantage unlikely.  I feel like baked into this point spread is the fact that Duke robbed a victory at Notre Dame.  However, the eye test clearly tells you that the Irish have the size, skill and altheticisim to make this a one-three possession game if not winning it outright.

Come on, Kansas is going down to Oklahoma State and winning the game.  The Jayhawks are a one point underdog.  If they win this game, they will essentially wrap-up the 11th consecutive Big 12 league title.  The significance of this is not lost on the hometown crowd in Lawrence, Kansas.  It will not be lost on the Jayhawks wings, who are playing out of their minds (Greene, Seldon, Oubre).

I have been riding this horse all year.  I can’t ignore Purdue getting 5 1/2 points against Minnesota.  The Gophers are not an NCAA team.  Mini Pitino is going through the growing pains as a head coach that’d you’d expect from any 30-something year old overseeing his first-ever team in a major conference.  Purdue’s two big men will outlast Mo Walker (Gopher’s big man).  Minnesota I think will win the ball game, but a Purdue win could clinch the inside track to a tournament berth.  Therefore, I just don’t see Purdue losing by three possession or more.

Hawaii and Texas A&M are both tempting to take this weekend.  But, the ebb and flow of college basketball won’t let me do it.  The respective home teams, UC Santa Barbara and Mizzou, have a lot of pride and an uphill battle to gain respectability on their home turf over the next month.

Tulsa will beat SMU outright and position itself as the team to beat in the American Conference (as if they haven’t already).  Speaking of Mizzou, the refugee of Columbia, Missouri, Frank Haith is coaching an inspired club that plays below the rim but outworks teams over-and-again.  I think Tulsa wins this game, Cincinnati slips-up somehow, and UCONN wins the American Conference tournament.  Memphis is just not an NCAA Tournament team (see my pick last year of the Memphis Tigers not covering the 17 point spread at Gonzaga…which they did not).  Tulsa will win.  That would place Tulsa, UCONN and Temple in the NCAA Tournament.  But, hey, that’s just me.

Here is a history of my selections so far this season:
(Starting with the most recent)