Wagering on futures is not necessarily an exact science, and many times the bet might require a hope-and-pray attitude. It’s difficult for a gambler to account for injuries and the hundreds of other unforeseen factors that go to winning a title in any sport. However, one thing that a futures bet does provide is excellent value on your money. For the upcoming men’s NCAA basketball season, eight of the top 10 schools are receiving double-digit odds in the range of 10/1 all the way to 35/1. To receive those types of odds on a legitimate title contender is almost too good to be true. Anything can happen in a single-elimination tournament and number-one seeds do not necessarily go deep every single year. In short, there is a ton of value wagering on NCAA basketball futures—particularly before the season starts and the odds begin to change.
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Let’s take a quick look at the 2014 men’s NCAA championship odds and go over which schools might have the most value to wager on before the season begins. All odds comes from Sportsbook.ag
NCAA Title Odds
Michigan St: +1000
Ohio St: +1800
North Carolina: +1800
Thoughts: Kentucky is again the favorite to win the NCAA title after winning the tournament two seasons ago. The rest of the Top 10 schools are the usual suspects of teams that dominate the tournament. The only member of last year’s Final Four to not be in the top 10 odds is Wichita State, who had a Cinderella run last season and is not expected to be a threat this year. Kentucky recruited well over the offseason—despite losing out on a top point-guard prospect—and have a roster of future NBA players. Both Michigan and Michigan St are also expected to bring back a set of solid players this year. There is also value on Louisville even though it has been over five years since a team repeat as national champions.
The middle of the pack
New Mexico: +10000
The long shots
Texas A&M: +35000
George Mason: +50000
Thoughts: The unfortunate truth in NCAA basketball, or any sport for that matter, is that long shots rarely win championships. Every year in college basketball an unexpected school will make a run during the championship tournament, but they will fizzle about during the round of 16 or the Final Four. The only long shot to really have a chance at actually winning the title and making bettors some money was Butler a few seasons ago when the team was a bounce or two away from a game-winning buzzer beater over Duke. But when it comes to betting futures, a Cinderella-story run is meaningless unless the team actually wins the title and cashes a betting slip for gamblers.
The best idea when betting NCAA futures is to stick to the top teams and glamour schools. A bettor does not have to always wager on the No. 1 seeds, but going outside of the Top 10 is probably a losing proposition. Kentucky and Kansas do not necessarily have the best value, but jumping on a 100/1 school is probably just throwing money away.
Read more articles by George Monroy