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.

NCAAB Handicappers Free Picks for Saturdays, Season Record

BY MATTY D.

Find free picks against the spread every Saturday for college basketball here on collegebasketballeytest.com. The theme of this article is to find incorrect odds, otherwise known as “suspect spreads.” Picks are tweeted before Saturday’s tip.

Because Saturdays are really the most exciting national showcase of college basketball action, we focus on this day to have some fun.

This website and its author Matty D. took a 56% winning percentage from the 2021-2022 season into the 2022-2023 campaign. Click here to see a breakdown of last year’s picks. An archive of every pick from the 2022-2023 NCAA Men’s College Basketball Season is recorded below.

Please bet responsibility, seek help if you need it, and find resources throughout this blog about betting college basketball on a budget.

If sports betting isn’t your thing, the odds are still a great measuring tool to debate the best teams. Join the college hoops conversation by following us here on Twitter.

NCAAB Record Against the Odds for 2022-2023 by College Basketball Eye Test

The year 2023 started with a bang and a large sample size. These picks fell flat. The record stood at 9-17 overall to start the season. Followers may have started picking the reverse of CBBEyeTest picks to cash tickets!

The one saving grace being that 5 of 6 favorites taken to cover at least hit ML. Kansas State the call of the day yet another +6 dog to win outright. Picking +6 underdogs to win outright has randomly been a strength of this website.

The year 2022 ended on a sour note with picks going 3-5. That brought the season record to a 5-7 start.

Join the college hoops conversation by following us here on Twitter.

College Basketball Odds: Big Movers in NCAAB Futures 2022-2023

These college basketball futures odds are the most active, according to DraftKings.

BY MATTY D.

The college basketball season is a volatile environment and these fluctuating odds, to win the 2022-2023 Men’s National College Basketball Championship, reflect that. Here are some notable teams on the move since the start of the college basketball season in early November.

College Basketball Futures Odds where team stock is improving

If you bought stock in UCONN basketball at the start of the season, your investment is up 700% to 800% depending on which marketplace you reference. On the DraftKings Sportsbook app, the UCONN Huskies started the season as 80-1 underdogs to win a national title. Today, they are almost the betting favorite at 12-1. Houston is the only team ahead of UCONN at 7-1.

Junior forward Adama Sanogo is leading the way for the Huskies by averaging 18 points and 7 rebounds this season.

Another team that is becoming more expensive to invest in is Alabama. The Roll Tide is quietly moving into more expensive waters. Alabama started the season at 50-1. Today, they are 25-1 to win a title. That number is likely to continue trending upwards with the outstanding play of their super freshman, Brandon Miller. Bleacher Report has him listed at the top 8 overall pick is this upcoming NBA Draft.

Ironically, Alabama and UCONN played each other earlier this season. The Huskies won in convincing fashion. If each team wins its own conference, the tournament committee might be convinced to make each squad a 1 or 2 seed in the tournament.

The Virginia Cavaliers have moved up from 40-1 to 22-1.

If you like huge underdogs on the move, there are many still left to choose from. Teams like Toledo, who weren’t even listed early in the season, have made their way onto the radar and into betting marketplaces. Mid-major darling Drake has moved from 250-1 to 200-1 after its win against Mississippi State.

College Basketball Teams whose stock is dropping

Michigan has dropped from 35-1 to 75-1, according to DraftKings.

UNC was once the preseason number 1 overall ranked team. The Tar Heels stock has dropped from a 9-1 favorite to a more modest 25-1.

Dayton plummets from 80-1 to 300-1 on DraftKings (started the season at 48-1 on FanDuel in preseason) 

There are a lot of other teams that have dropped around 50 points on the “to one” scale. USC drops 150 points from 100-1 to 250-1 and Wisconsin drops 50 points 

Another team that has disappeared from many top 40 boards is Oregon. The Ducks started the season at 60-1 to win a national championship.

Other notable movements in the NCAAB futures markets

Blue bloods like Indiana, UCLA, and Duke remain consistent in the 14-1 to 30-1 range throughout the season so far. This is more or less a second tier of values after the heavy favorites.

Illinois up from 40-1 to 28-1 despite getting clobbered by Mizzou  

Did we miss any? Join the conversation by following us on Twitter.

Eye Test Breakdown of AP Top 25 Preseason Basketball Rakings

BY MATT DE SARLE

The AP Top 25 ranking is king in college basketball and dictates whose resume is worthy of the tournament, so its preseason ranking is also very important to dissect as the 2022-2023 campaign begins.

Here are some initial considerations about the AP Preseason Top 25 and specifically its top 10.

10. Arkansas Men’s College Basketball Preview 2022-2023

The Razorbacks deserve to be here if you take into consideration especially its tournament success over the last two years. However, they have lost a lot of talent to graduation and the NBA draft in those two years. Head coach Eric Musselman is becoming the Pete Carrol of college basketball. The years go by but his energy appears ageless and he brings back a secondary of wings who can defend the full playing surface. The Razorbacks lose their first, second and fourth overall scorer from last season including JT Notae’s average of 18.3 points.

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9. Creighton Men’s College Basketball Preview 2022-2023

This may sound like a surprise but the Creighton Bluejays might actually be underrated at this spot. This is a good looking team with a coach’s dream for a starting five. Point guard Ryan Nembhard is the straw that stirs the drink. You haven’t heard much buzz about the Bluejays because Nembhard missed a majority of last season with injury. However, he plays with the steady confidence and control of his older brother (Andrew Nembhard) who now cracks the rotation as a point guard for the Indiana Pacers.

“I’m just excited to be back. It’s been a long journey, but I’m ready to go,” Nembhard said in a post-practice media availability recently posted by the Creighton YouTube channel.

Creighton touts a 7’1″ center in Ryan Kalkbrenner who has great hands and score in multiple levels. Kalkbrenner can run the floor, shoot the three, and post you up. Sophomores Trey Alexander and Arthur Kaluma contributed to a solid season for Creighton last season and return as dual threats. Head coach Greg McDermott has an opportunity to win the Big East this season with an eye to a 2 or 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament with a preseason ranking that actually makes sense.

Ryan Kalkbrenner and Ryan Nembhard headline a sneaky good Creighton team.

8. UCLA Bruins Men’s College Basketball Preview 2022-2023

If you believe Tyger Campbell is one of the nation’s best point guards, you have reason to believe in this team. However, the Bruins lose a collective 32 points per game in scoring from guards Johnny Juzang and Jules Bernard alone This will be a great opportunity for the next swingman waiting in the wings, Jaylen Clark. Clark was a regular rotation player last season and shined with a 25 point year high. Head coach Mike Cronin enters his fourth season as the Bruins head man, so the hard-nosed wrinkle to the UCLA tradition should be firmly in place. One of the newcomers for UCLA this season has matured overseas. Italian Abramo Canka has international experience playing in several leagues. Of course, it wouldn’t be UCLA without a little Hollywood factor to the script. McDonald’s All-American Amari Bailey brings a resume of being a top 5 recruit according to ESPN, but also some TMZ articles about he and his mother’s popularity.

Jaylen Clark has a huge opportunity this year at UCLA.

7. Duke Blue Devil’s College Basketball Preview 2022-2023

Duke didn’t just commit to the youth movement in college basketball with one-and-dones, but it doubled down. This went from a program that rarely acquired freshman phenoms for one season to now leading the nation in that category. Duke has 3 of the top 10 ESPN top 100 recruits. That includes number one overall ranked Derek Lively and number two overall recruit Dariq Whitehead. Couple that youthful energy with the dawn of Jon Scheyer’s first year as Duke head coach replacing the legendary coach Mike Krzyzewski.

Duke couples to the two highest ranked freshmen for the 2022-2023 season.

Baylor and Kansas dead-heat for fifth best team in preseason rankings

AP voters totally took the easy way out here and punted on who is better, Baylor or Kansas. Of course, these programs enter the season as the last two national champions. They have battled for the Big 12 crown in heated competition more recently (after KU’s long-standing dominance of the conference). Kansas coach Bill Self will miss the first four games because of a self-imposed suspension by the school, because of NCAA infractions. After this total sharade, the poor guy will have to make his return to the sidelines to coach the Jayhawks in the Bahamas. Both the Jayhawks and the Bears have each lost a professional lineup of stars from their national championship seasons. Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua, Flo Thamba, LJ Cryer, and Adam Flagler remain from the 2021 Bears national championship team. Ironically, that will probably be more incumbent playing minutes for this 2023 postseason than the 2022 championship Jayhawks will return. The 2022-2023 Kansas Jayhawks most important returning players are likely Dajuan Harris Jr. and Jalen Wilson. Drake transfer Joseph Yesufu is also probably likely to see more minutes in his second season with the Jayhawks. The Baylor Bears win the recruiting race based on rankings. Shooting guard Keyonte George ranks sixth overall in the nation while the Jayhawks highest recruit is fourteenth overall in forward Gradey Dick. Baylor loses Matthew Mayer to the transfer portal but probably gets a more physical replacement at forward in BYU’s Caleb Lohner. KU’s transfer news is headlined by the addition of Kevin McCullar Jr. from within the conference. He averaged 10 points and 4.6 rebounds last season for Texas Tech.

4. Kentucky Wildcats enter season ranked top 5 despite 2022 upset

Saint Peter’s magical run as a 15 seed started with a defeat at the hands of the Kentucky Wildcats. Yet, Rick Pitino and the Kentucky Wildcats still enter the 2022-2023 season as a top 5 ranked team. West Virginia transfer Oscar Tschiebwe headlines a talented roster. Tschiebwe was a runner up last year for the Karl Malone Power Forward of the Year Award (to Keegan Murray). However, he probably should have won it based on his gaudy numbers and striking similarities to Malone’s game. Pitino is known to moan on Selection Sunday after the SEC hosts its championship game late in the day and his team is punished for a 5 or below seeding in the field. This time, his program is given the benefit of the doubt entering the season with a top 5 ranking. It’s hard to imagine that Pitino would have to prove himself, but this season feels like a “show me” year with it being nine years since Kentucky has made a Final Four.

3. Houston Cougars 2022-2023 College Basketball Preview

True college basketball fans everyone should celebrate the Cougars top 5 ranking. It was earned through hustle, defense, and overcoming adversity. Houston was the walking wounded last year but still managed to put a scare in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. Guards Marcus Sasser and Tramon Mark were two of the Cougars who missed most of last season. However, their return brings a scoring punch to a program that’s already proven it knows how to defend and earn hustle baskets. Speaking of which, Reggie Chaney returns for a fifth year as a graduate student. The Houston Cougars should have one last swan song in capturing the American Conference crown before leaving for the Big 12 next season. Sasser and Jamal Shead headline the conference’s preseason all-conference first team.

2. Gonzaga Bulldogs Reload in Transfer Portal to Prepare for 2022-2023 Season

Drew Timme is back. That continues a legacy of long-tenured Gonzaga stars who commit to Spokane and make a run at a Final Four. And when you think of the Gonzaga Bulldogs basketball history, you don’t often think of transfers coming in and having a major impact. But that tide has changed. Gonzaga is now not only a desirable location for star freshmen like the former Bulldog Jalen Suggs. The university is also now a coveted program to pull into major conferences (as re-alignment goes wild). It’s also a destination for transfers. Chattanooga transfer point guard Malachi Smith will fill the void left by Andrew Nembhard leaving. And LSU big man Efton Reid is going to bring some size at 7 feet to help bolster an otherwise lacking interior. There are nine sophomores on this current Gonzaga Bulldog roster, so it’s hard to predict whether Mark Few’s club can be expected to mature into a #1 seed in this year’s tourney (as has been the standard).

1. UNC Tar Heels enter season ranked #1 overall

The band is back together. North Carolina and coach Hubert Davis made a surprising run in last year’s NCAA Tournament, finishing as the runner-up. Starting guards RJ Davis and Caleb Love return to run-it-back. Even Leaky Black sneaks back into a group that includes Puff Johnson, Armando Bacot, and a lot of reasons to be optimistic about the returning talent. They also add forward Pete Nance, whose game has blossomed at Northwestern despite getting crushed by Big 10 competition in recent years. However, North Carolina’s 2022 regular season featured some head-scratching moments with an absolute lack of defense. Hopefully, this team doesn’t have a hiccup with the momentum they’ve gathered and regress to their mean where they had nine (some very bad) losses in the regular season. UNC barely has a top 50 recruit with 6-1 guard Seth Trimble scratching the list at #46.

Best Longshot Odds to Win a College Basketball March Madness 2022

BY MATTY D.

The parody of the college basketball landscape in 2022 offers no shortage of long-shots with intriguing values. Many people (including myself) consider 7 or 8 teams that could easily win it all this year. However, none of those teams look like Baylor and Gonzaga did last year. It appeared inevitable those teams would face each other in a 2021 Championship game. Instead, those favorites right now are priced in the 4-1 to 6-1 territory. That’s teams like Gonzaga and Arizona. It would be hard to swallow paying a price in the 7-1 to 18-1 territory for any of these teams without the conviction of seeing them surge the way Gonzaga and Baylor had last season.

And so when the Madness of March begins, those 7 or 8 championship contenders could get upset and the list of possible champions would grow. Below are some of my favorite long-shot value picks to find themselves in the mix. If you’re considering any of these bets, please look at both the Final Four odds in addition to a National Championship ticket. The last thing you want is to have two of the four teams make the Final Four, neither win a national championship, and for you to not cash a ticket.

Read also my favorite 14 picks ATS on Thursday and Friday by clicking here.
If you are struggling to moderate your gambling, help is available. Please visit https://www.ncpgambling.org or call 1-800-522-4700 to get help anonymously.

Editor’s Notes: This article has remained intact as-is for over a month. I will stick with my gut here and roll with the teams that I had hand-picked in mid-February. Subtle edits have been made to the start of the summary for each team below.

[At the start of February, I picked 5 teams in a YouTube video. Things have changed considerably since then… ]

Updated: Best Longshot Odds to win March Madness 2022

Here are 5 teams that are the best value bets right now for college basketball futures. You could call them sleeper teams, although their likelihood to make the NCAA Tournament at this point is better than them not.

Best Long-shots to win March Madness 2022 by future values

5.. UAB BLAZERS BASKETBALL FUTURES ODDS 400-1

According to FanDuel Sports App, UAB will enter March Madness as a 400-1 underdog to win a national title. The Blazers earned a 12 seed and will play against Houston in the first round.

Here’s what I had written earlier in the season…

These Blazers were trailblazing their way to a regular season conference championship, until they stubbed their toes at Old Dominion on Super Bowl weekend. Its stock sunk some 50-1 points. Still, they make my top 5.

Coached by former Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy, the Blazers are as dangerous as they come. Conference USA has continued to play the disruptor role in the NCAA Tournament. And with no shortage of size on this UAB roster, the sky could quite literally be the limit.

On January 22nd the Blazers beat current conference rival LA Tech in their house, securing (for now) an inside track to its conference championship. Jordan “Jelly” Walker scored 37 points in that game. As you know, a sub 6’1″ scorer is a hallmark sign of a dangerous Cinderella program.

UAB’s stock did slip in the following days after being upset by Marshall. This puts the Blazers in jeopardy of not winning its conference regular season. Regardless, Conference USA will likely be a one bid league. Therefore, if you invest in UAB you’ll need them to win their conference tournament.

Jordan Walker can drop 30 at any point. Photo courtesy: uabsports.com

Assuming it wins its conference tournament, UAB would likely get a 12, 13 or 14 seed. That means they could play an LSU, Texas Tech, or other middle-of-the-pack team from a Power 5 school. UAB has a 7 footer at center in Clemson transfer Trey Jemison, so size won’t intimate them. The Blazers can score the ball, ranking just within the top 50 on Kenpom’s score for efficiency. If you like UAB at 250-1 to win a national title, you’re going to love them at 65-1 to make the Final 4.

Responsible sports betting is possible when a 10 cent wager can win you 6 bucks. This wager was placed January 26, 2022 and reflects the “Vegas odds” at that point.

After its dramatic game-winning buzzer beater win by Jelly Walker at Western Kentucky, UAB stood as the 41st ranked KenPom team on January 28th. Meantime, they were 37th in the NET rankings. Therefore, a legitimate case can be made for UAB as an at-large bid, even if they don’t win their conference tournament.

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4. SAN FRANCISCO DONS BASKETBALL FUTURES 250-1

San Francisco drew a 10 seed and will play against a dangerous 7 seed in Murray State. Both of these programs are actually very dangerous in this position. Murray State is an even better value from a high-ceiling perspective. They enter the tournament at 500-1 to win a title according to FanDuel.

Here’s what I had written earlier this season…

There is a clear turning point in San Francisco’s season that has it skipping the line and getting into the middle of the mix as a great long-shot. After taking a large lead in pivotal games in January against Gonzaga and St. Mary’s, San Fran squandered those opportunities to punch their tickets. However, when February came, they blitzed BYU at their house. The Dons came out of halftime and continued pressuring the (weakened) post of BYU. They got out in transition and guarded well in transition. They took the life out of the crowd. It was the opposite of what those games in January looked like, and it could be a turning point for San Francisco to be considered one of America’s most dangerous underdogs.

San Francisco is lead by super senior point guard Jamaree Bouyee. He is one of the top 6-1 and under guards poised to upset some people in March Madness. They also have size down low, which is always a challenge for mid-major teams. San Francisco was available on the DraftKings app at 60-1 to make March Madness on February 3 and it’s unlikely that value will remain for long.

San Francisco stood at 200-1 to win a National Championship (and 80-1 to make the Final Four) on DraftKings on Valentine’s Day. Betters will love them even more if they can win a late February home game against Gonzaga before the tournament begins. They missed an opportunity to beat Gonzaga late in February, but the St. Mary’s Gaels did it on that same California road trip for the Bulldogs. The WCC has the pedigree to pull some upsets in this tournament.

Photo courtesy usfdons.com/ Christina Leung

3. DAVIDSON WILDCATS BASKETBALL FUTURES ODDS 400-1

Davidson draws a 10 seed in the NCAA Tournament and plays against Tom Izzo’s Michigan State team. That’s bad news for Wildcats fans. However, Michigan State is beatable and so is Duke in the (possible) following round. I am rolling with Davidson at 400-1 here.

Here’s what I had written earlier in the season…

At the end of January, Davidson finally cracked into the AP Top 25 and officially became the most dangerous underdog in America. After the Wildcats went undefeated in its first six conference games with wins at St. Bonaventure and at VCU, they were honestly long overdue for this position. Throw in the fact that they beat Alabama and its Elite 8 pedigree.

The problem with Davidson going into the conference tournament “Champ Week” is that it faces about 5 other teams from the Atlantic 10 that could easily steal a bid. Richmond, VCU, Dayton, St. Louis and St. Bonaventure are all worthy opponents. Most of those teams are borderline tournament teams. Davidson finished February as a projected 11 seed in the tournament. That doesn’t leave much margin for error for Davidson to lose its conference tournament. If that happens, we could be looking at two A10 tournament teams, or a damn good Davidson team in the NIT.

A tempting bet in this direction is to take the Atlantic 10 at around 65-1 to have its team with the NCAA Basketball Tournament. That’s a great value if two teams make the tournament. It’s a lousy bet if only one does.

Michigan State transfer Foster Loyer gets the headlines as people talk about this team, but it’s really an extremely balanced squad. Loyer leads the team in assists. Four players average 12 or more points. Power forward Luka Brajkovic offers great hands and skill down low. The senior from Austria averages 7 rebounds per game. Junior guard Michael Jones showed everyone during a nationally televised game against Richmond that he can light it up. Jones was un-guardable that night as he scored 29 on 8 of 9 from the 3 point line. The Wildcats leading scorer is actually South Korean guard Hyunjung Lee. Lee averages 16 points per game with 6.7 rebounds with it. The stability of this upperclassman roster is anchored by a longtime winner, head coach Bob McKillop.

In his last bracket projection of January, Joe Lunardi had Davidson has a 9 seed. This is the type of mis-seeding that often happens to a mid-major team. This Davidson program probably had no business being a 10 seed with Stephen Curry before it made its magical Elite 8 run.

And while you can debate what Davidson’s seed would be, it’s not debatable anymore that it’s a tournament team. Therefore, even if you snag Davidson at 150-1 you could hedge it by taking the eventual round one matchup (today projected as BYU as a 125-1 underdog) and have some high ceiling options headed into the field of 32.

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2. USC COLLEGE BASKETBALL FUTURES 200-1

USC’s value doubled as the bracket got announced, which means the payout is twice as great. I am doubling down on this team as they play a smaller Miami Hurricanes squad to start their March Madness journey.

Here’s what I wrote earlier this year about the Trojans…

USC defeated Oregon in their place on February 26th to bounce the Ducks from this list and insert themselves onto it.

I will admit to overlooking USC after one of its Mobley brothers (Evan) went to the NBA this season. While Evan Mobley is the likely NBA Rookie of the Year with the Cavaliers, big brother is one of the nation’s best veteran players. The 6-10 big man features great hands, range, rebounding, and the ability to orchestrate the offense from the post. Boogie Ellis is the actual orchestrator at point guard. He transferred from Memphis. Ellis is a streaky shooter who can definitely get hot. Shooting guard Drew Peterson is playing some really confident ball right now. He hit a dagger three to win that Oregon game and also went buck-wild against UCLA in a game that Mobley missed in early February.

USC has a front line of muscular forwards who can outwork people on the offensive glass if defenses aren’t aware. Head coach Andy Enfield has already taken the college basketball world by surprise in his career (see Dunk City). This USC team was in the Elite 8 last year. Many players on the current roster played key roles in a Sweet 16 win against Oregon.

A bet worth looking at is the Pac-12 around 5-1 to have a national champion. Obviously, you’d get a favorite in Arizona, a preseason favorite in UCLA, and throw in a high-upside USC team at that rate. If a surprise team like Arizona State (see our list of possible Cinderellas for Champ Week), Colorado or Stanford win the Pac-12 tournament, you could have 4 or 5 teams for that one cost. Oregon is the unknown as a bubble team.

1. LSU COLLEGE BASKETBALL FUTURES 120-1

March Madness is all about unlikely outcomes. What is more unlikely than your coach getting fired for multiple violations stemming from an FBI investigation… and you still advance to the Final Four.

I actually love LSU as they draw Iowa State to start their March Madness journey. They would have to become the first 6 seed in 30 years to make a Final Four, however, if they have a magical run on their mind. Below is what I had written about the Tigers earlier this season…

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ABOUT THE 6 SEED CURSE AND OTHER TRENDY TRADITIONS

On February 15, LSU stood at 16th overall in the NCAA Net Rankings, but still had a long-shot odd to win a national title. The Tigers were then 15-1 to reach the Final Four and 80-1 to win a national title. Those numbers don’t reflect how this team is getting healthy at the right time. Coming out of the SEC, which has two legitimate title favorites (unlike any other conference), the Tigers will be eager to devour any other competition aside from their in-conference opponents. Point guard Xavier Pinson has brought a lightning quick dimension to the offense. And this team gets after it on the defensive end unlike most teams. They are consistently top 5 in forced turnovers, defensive efficiency, and outright steals. LSU won’t come back from large deficits with three point prayers, but they might outwork their opponent on the offensive glass to get back into a game. They are mostly young and hungry, with a few key veterans like senior Darius Days. LSU has been flirting with the Elite 8 and Sweet 16 for the past few years, and shouldn’t be overlooked as players like Days and Pinson have returned from injury and are finding a rhythm. LSU plays a marquee matchup against Kentucky in late February. This can serve as a stress test to measure how legit they are. For now, the eye test says they are much better than 80-1 to win it all.

HOST CITIES FOR THE FIRST ROUND OF MARCH MADNESS 2021-2022

Portland
Buffalo
Milwaukee
PIttsburgh
Fort Worth
Greenville
Indianapolis
San Diego
*These are also the sites of the second round.

Best College Basketball Handicappers Picks for Suspect Spreads Saturday

BY MATTY D.

The best college basketball handicappers all share one common trait: Wins! And the against the spread picks by collegebasketballeyetest.com have had a successful 2021-2022 season. Every Saturday, Matty D. shares his picks on Twitter on the hashtag #SuspectSpreadsSaturday. The phrase alerts fans about which Vegas spreads look suspect, or questionable.

During the regular season, this website boasted a 70-49 record against the spread. That’s a winning percentage of 59%.

Unfortunately, the tide turned during March Madness. Handicapper Matty D. went a woeful 4-10 with his published picks during the NCAA Tournament (below). The good news is that he spotted two large underdogs (+7 or greater) who won their games outright. The winning selections are in below below.

Looking for the best long-shots to win March Madness? CLICK HERE!

My record against the spread this season is 70-49-2 as of March 7, 2022.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL PICKS FOR FIRST/SECOND ROUND OF THE TOURNAMENT:

These picks appear in order of confidence level, from the lowest confidence pick at 12 all the way down to the most confident pick at number one.

14. Delaware Hens +15.5 vs. Villanova
13. Longwood Lancers +16.5 vs. Tennessee
12. Providence Friars -2.5 vs. South Dakota State
11. Davidson +1.5 vs. Michigan State
10. UCLA -13.5 vs. Akron
9. Arkansas -5.5 vs. Vermont
8. *New Mexico State +7 vs. UCONN
7. LSU -4 vs. Iowa State
6. Norfolk State +21.5 vs. Baylor
5. *Richmond Spiders +10.5 vs. Iowa
4. Loyola -1.5 vs. Ohio State
3. UAB +8.5 vs. Houston
2. V-Tech +1.5 vs. Texas
1. USC -1.5 vs. Miami

My final record ATS for 2021-2022 including the tournament was 74-59-2 (56%).

Honorable mention: If you are a fan of Big Ten basketball, a 3 team money line parlay with Indiana, Wisconsin and Illinois could make sense. Each team will fluctuate between a 4 to 7 point favorite, but could all win a close game. If you like Indiana, they sit in a similar position as a small favorite against Wyoming in the play-in game.

Check out some of our Elite 8 Articles Trending Now! Just click on your pick below…

Select the seed to survive and advance to the next article!
The collegebasketballeyetest.com bracket features a 12 seed in the national title game.

Matty D’s Philosophy for College Basketball Picks Against the Spread

Just like a Thursday or Friday in mid-March, a Saturday offers the widest sample size of games to choose from. If you’re a college basketball fan, you’re probably familiar with the power 5 schools. If you’re a better, it’s also good to get familiar with a few mid-major conferences. For example, I have gotten cozy with the Conference USA and American conferences over the years. This familiarity helped me go undefeated with 7 correct picks (and one tie) in the selections below.

Underdogs like Providence and Western Kentucky proved their worth early in the season.

My rule is to always bet any 6 point (or more) underdog to cover the first half. If and when an underdog challenges a favorite, it’s normally off of adrenaline and a lack of familiarity in the first half. I would always wager a dollar amount equal to, or slightly more than, the entire point line for the game. I would also traditionally bet 10-30% of that dollar amount on the money line. If I really believe that a 6 point underdog will win the game, I might bet 30% of my point line bet on the money line. For example, if I bet $10 on Providence to cover a 6.5 point spread, I would bet $3 on them to win the game outright. The money-line odds in that situation would be somewhere in the ballpark of 2-1 or 3-1. The advantage to being able to play on sports betting apps is that you don’t have to pay the traditional $5 or $10 minimums per bets at the physical casino. This helps betting on a budget. On FanDuel’s app you can make a minimum bet of 9 cents whereas DraftKings offers a 10 cent minimum.

If you or someone you know is struggling to set limits with sports betting, help is available.

Matty D’s Running Tally of ATS Picks for College Basketball Season

Here is a running tally of the college basketball sports betting picks for the 2021-2022 season with the newest up top.

These picks on February 5, 2022 went 6-5 on the week.
Pick are always published on Twitter before tip off on Saturdays with the same hashtag.

Please follow on Twitter to join the conversation!

How to Bet March Madness on a Budget

As the country slowly re-opens while more states have legalized sports betting, here are tips for betting March Madness on a budget.

Click here to watch the haymakers strategy for more low risk high reward fun.

If you are struggling with gambling addiction, you are note alone. Please seek help. Click here to visit a national helpline or seek other safe avenues. Good luck to everyone out there!

Here is my entire 2021 March Madness bracket filled out on March 15, 2021.

People line up ahead of sports book opening during March Madness

Case Study: How to Hedge College Basketball Futures

How and When to Hedge College Basketball Futures Odds

It’s the great debate. That is, at least in sports books around late March. “Hey, I have XYZ team at 80-1 to win a title. Now that they’re in the Sweet 16, should I start hedging?” said every amateur bettor in this position, ever (even if to himself).

So, what’s the best answer?

Like everything else in 2020-2021, there is no simple answer. However, below is a great case study to help structure our debate…

Futures odds listed in January of 2021 at a William Hill Sports Book.

Best Time to Pick College Basketball Futures Values

Let’s simulate a bettor making futures picks at the start of the season with $100 bucks. Or, in this case, $108 to be exact. In November when these picks are made, there are naturally some good values. For example, the Houston Cougars out of the American Athletic Conference were 50-1. Although they play in a non-power 5 school, Houston would ascend into the AP Top 10 throughout that season. The team’s value increased to 12-1 by February.

So when do you hedge?
Should you sell a ticket that doubled in value on a secondary market, such as PropSwap?
If you had two future tickets like it, and sold one on ProSwap, that would be considered hedging your bet.

When to Hedge College Basketball Futures

Let’s fast forward. Now that games have been played and you can use your eye test to analyze teams, who do you like? In our case study, the longest shot odd of North Texas (above) is having a difficult year. Meanwhile, in its conference, UAB and Western Kentucky are piecing together a quality resume. In fact, it’s within the realm of possibilities that one of those teams get an at-large bid. And so, instead of throwing out the North Texas bet that could win $10,000, we hedge it by also investing in the other in-conference rivals. This way, it becomes a statistically likelihood the bettor will have a Conference USA team in March Madness.

See Western Kentucky and UAB below.

A second round of futures value bets are made with $100 after watching the first half of the season.

You can see that for just $3 dollars and $4 dollars respectively, the odds are probably around 95% at this point that the better will have the Conference USA team among its roster of teams in the actual March Madness bracket. Did we mention this was betting on a budget?

And so at this point the bettor would have 13 teams in play. We are conceding that 2-4 of those teams won’t make the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament (let’s say two Conference USA teams in addition to one other). So let’s say that 10 teams will be in the tournament and for $200 the bettor can himself to win at least $1,000 in those ten scenarios. And so the next question may be: When would he start hedging if he acknowledges Gonzaga and Baylor look far-and-away like the nation’s best teams (at +350 and 6-1 for their respective futures).

How to Hedge Your Bets on Selection Sunday

Back to reality, on this particular season North Texas did win its conference tournament. And so the bettor brings into the tournament a $10,000 lottery ticket. Should he hedge by immediately taking the opponent of North Texas? Continue reading to review some specific strategies to consider, each with their own nickname, for betting futures on a budget during March Madness.

Don’t Let a Crowded Region Cloud Your Final Four

Let’s say that four of the futures bets made in November land in one region during March. At face value, this could look like a horrible outcome for the budget bettor. However, it you change your mindset as the investor, it could work for you. Let’s say that Texas, Houston, Colorado and West Virginia all entered the same region. Instead of seeing the National Title game, or ever the Final 4 itself, as the climax of the tournament, that person would just have to move up its timeline for the tournament climax. The climax may actually be when all of those teams have an opportunity to cover the spread on the first two days. Or, the climax might be a money line parlay on all of those teams winning outright in the field of 32. Either way, a crowded region should immediately have the bettor move up the finish line in his mind. A textbook parlay in this scenario would be to take the 4 teams to cover a first round spread to win at 10-1. It might also be worth lookin at what factor a money line parlay pays. It can be typed in before canceling the bet on a kiosk. On the flip side, a reverse haymaker wheel could make sense as an insurance policy. For example, two team pairs of underdogs could be bet on in a rotation to hedge two real losses happening for Texas, Houston, Colorado and West Virginia.

Bracketology example from January 22, 2021 courtesy Joe Lunardi/ESPN

In terms of hedging futures, there will likely be a situation where 2 or 3 of the preseason futures teams are in one eighth of a bracket.  In this case it wouldn’t make sense to hedge so that more than three teams are covered.  For example in this eighth of a bracket above, an ideal sweet 16 matchup would be the two futures (Colorado and Houston) against each other in the sweet 16. Chasing both UNC and Texas State on futures here might muddy the water too much with losses.  Perhaps a very small amount on UNC to win a title (because their final 4 odds will likely be in the 6-1 ballpark) and short the high value Texas State single bet as a lone insurance policy.  

Investing in Short, Mid-size, or Long-range College Basketball Futures

With the overview example, this person might have 6 teams in the tournament. Especially if those are high value tickets, the plays has to be hedged in some way: Let’s call it long, single, or mid-sized. In the hypothetical scenario that his North Texas ticket draws Florida State in a 14 seed matched up against a 3, he might go one of three ways. In the long example, he would simply take Florida State as a title contender at 20-1. And so this could become a line in the bracket that he just commits to and invests in, depending on the winner. Betting $100 on Florida State at 20-1 would guarantee that he would have a 1 in 32 shot of winning at least $2,000 for $105 invested ($2,000 if FSU wins title, $10,000 for North Texas). The mid-sized play in this hypothetical would be taking Florida State to win the region. That bet would be roughly one quarter of the title future. So Florida State might be 5-1 to win this region, although they’re more likely to be 4-1. And so betting $25 at 4-1 would pay $100 and, again, guarantee that some investment survives and advances into the field of 32. A short term play would be to just focus on the single game between North Texas and Florida State. It would be easy to just root for North Texas to cover a 13.5 point spread. Another tempting short term play (although one that’s rarely advisable) would be to bet heavy on the chalk. Florida State might be -750ML in this hypothetical, so the bettor would have to put up $150 to win $20 bucks (and profit $15 from his original $5 bet on North Texas).

Standing by to Wait-and-See which Seed Starts Growing in March Madness

There’s no shame is standing by to watch the first two days of the tournament to see who has truly brought their A+ game. We will learn a lot about these teams as we see them live in action. Many of the nagging injuries would be proven a hindrance or a non-factor. If you have high value future bets that have made it to March Madness, that could be an excuse to save money by not betting a single game itself. For example, this bettor might have 6 seed Colorado squaring off against 11 seed Louisville. If Louisville wins the game outright, perhaps it’s time for the bettor to take the Cardinals to win the region or the title. Besides, he bet Colorado because he thinks they’re a good team, so by default he would have to like Louisville if they won this first round matchup.