The college basketball season will be here before we know it. While it may not be at the forefront of your mind, that does not mean that you want to ignore it completely.
Odds have been posted for a while now for the 2022 NCAA Championship. The team that cuts down the nets on April 4, 2022 will have earned it to say the least. College basketball returns to a normal schedule this season and that means fans in the stands and a full schedule of conference games and non-conference games.
The transfer portal has been extremely busy, as policies and procedures enacted during the previous season due to COVID-19 have given players additional eligibility or the opportunity to move around freely to other programs. Keeping up with roster turnover and coaching turnover in college hoops is not an easy task. There are a lot of teams and a lot reporters and websites to follow.
One thing you can do is use the NCAA Basketball Championship odds to your advantage. Seeing which teams are expected to make deep runs in March Madness can be an excellent starting point for those that are looking to see who the teams to beat are for the season and also see if any of the blue bloods that struggled last season are expected to return to prominence.
Even if you aren’t ready to fire on any of these bets, the futures odds for college basketball are a great barometer to see which teams have the goods. If you are ready to fire, it is very much in your best interest to shop around for the best prices.
Current NCAA Tournament Win Odds
THE PRESEASON NCAA TOURNAMENT WINNER ODDS
Traditional powerhouses and recent upstarts are all well-represented at the top of the betting odds board. The Gonzaga Bulldogs had some losses to the NBA, but return a ton of talent and are up at the top of the list with teams like Michigan, UCLA, Villanova. Kansas, Duke, and Kentucky feature prominently as well, even though it was a down year last season for some of those programs.
Teams like Alabama, Florida State, Houston, and Ohio State all got some special treatment from the oddsmakers for the seasons that they had last year. These are not programs that get priced well year in and year out because of familiarity, reputation, and respect. These are teams that have to earn their respect. It isn’t just given because of the top recruiting classes or the Hall of Fame head coaches.
When we really get down to it, there are 68 teams that have a chance at making history – the field for the NCAA Tournament. In reality, there are probably only about 25 teams that have a legitimate chance at winning the whole thing. Sportsbooks will put up a wide variety of teams in hopes of drawing interest and any kind of ticket count that they can.
Teams like Baylor, North Carolina, and Michigan State are relevant on an annual basis. They will take money no matter what, even if the rosters may not look as strong year over year. The same can be said about teams like Louisville, Texas, and Purdue. We’ll talk more about strategy in a minute, but the names don’t matter so much as the odds.
For example, Ohio State’s prices in the market seem to range from 16/1 to 30/1. Kansas is as low as 9/1, but as high as 16/1. There is a monumental difference between betting 9/1 and betting 16/1. There is a big difference between betting 12/1 instead of 8/1. You want to find the best odds possible on the teams of your choice.
Scroll through the odds. Sort by the Consensus price by clicking on that column header. See where you can find the best value or just simply see where these teams are lined relative to their peers. It will give you a good idea about how the season could set up once it tips off in November.
COLLEGE BASKETBALL NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP HANDICAPPING
Every season is different, but every season also has a lot of similarities. Sixty-eight teams will make the NCAA Tournament. Most of the at-large selections will come from major conferences. If you want to throw a future down on a team like Loyola Chicago, you had better hope that the Ramblers are good enough to win the Missouri Valley Conference.
The same is true of a team like Western Kentucky in Conference USA or a Utah State in the Mountain West. While those teams could have resumes worthy of being an at-large team, the path of least resistance into the NCAA Tournament is to win the conference. Teams that have reputations or play in major conferences do have far more margin for error than the mid and low-major teams.
That has to be a factor in your handicapping. We’ve seen mid-majors rank in the top 20 at websites like Ken Pomeroy or Bart Torvik and still get dunked on by the Selection Committee. It is critically important to gauge a team’s NCAA Tournament bid hopes before diving in with a futures wager.
Shopping around for the best price is also critical. A total of 68 teams goes to the dance, but only one team comes out on top. That means that you will be seeking out opportunities to hedge your wager, which means betting the other side of a game in hopes of guaranteeing some kind of profit if a tough matchup arises.
Keep in mind that betting short prices on prospective #1 or #2 seeds minimizes your hedging opportunity. Betting on teams like Gonzaga, Michigan, Villanova, and the like basically forces those teams to make it into the Elite Eight or the Final Four before you can really consider your options.
Betting a longer shot like a 100/1 or something means you can hedge earlier and show something for your investment. The goal isn’t to pick the winner. That is the bonus. The pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. The goal is to make money on your investment.
If making money on your investment means actually picking the winner of the tournament, that is outstanding. You do have to bet a team that you think can win the tournament or at least make a very deep run. However, think with the bigger picture in mind. Think about how you want to make at least $1000 on your $100 to win $2500 bet. Think about how you want to make at least $500 on your 15/1 bet. Have a target amount in mind, knowing that you aren’t just wishfully thinking about picking the NCAA Tournament winner.