March Madness is officially here with the full bracket released yesterday. You can find our full reaction to the field here. With the bracket now finalized, it is time to comb through all the matchups and regions and find some value. One of the fun ways to watch March Madness if you are not a fan of a particular team is to make a few futures bets. If you are unfamiliar, these bets are essentially picking a team to win the National Championship. I’m going to give my most likely winner and my best value bet in each region.
All odds are from DraftKings Sportsbook.
March Madness Best Futures Bets
Without a doubt, Gonzaga is the most likely winner. However, they do have a slightly sneaky road. Memphis in the second round could be one of the two or three most talented teams Gonzaga has played all year. That would be a test on short rest without much time to watch film or prepare. Assuming they survive that matchup, they probably face a fairly weak team from either Arkansas or Connecticut. That leaves the Elite Eight matchup against Texas Tech or a Duke team they lost to once already. Personally, Texas Tech seems the most likely to face the Zags.
If you think Gonzaga is vulnerable, it may be worth your while to find a nice price.
Most Likely Winner: Gonzaga -160 to win West, +300 to win it all
Best Value: Texas Tech +450 to win West, +2200 to win it all
Longshot: Memphis +2800 to win West
I’ll be honest, I would not touch Memphis to win the West. However, I do not think there is a team outside the top three seeds that can win this region.
I have yet to see a bracket without Kentucky winning this region. Even though they are the two seed, they seem extremely likely to come out of the East. The one seed here is Baylor who stumbled into March Madness and also has a brutal matchup in the Second Round with either North Carolina or Marquette.
Kentucky is most likely to face UCLA in the Elite Eight, although no one would be surprised if North Carolina or Baylor found themselves in that position as well. However, all of these teams mentioned would need their A+ effort to beat Kentucky.
Most Likely Winner: Kentucky +200 to win East, +800 to win it all
Best Value: UCLA +450 to win East, +1800 to win it all
Longshot: Murray State +4000 to win East
If you do not like Kentucky, their toughest matchup may be that second-round game against the winner of San Francisco and Murray State. If one of those teams can knock off Kentucky they can definitely win the region.
Arizona may be the hottest team in the entire tournament and earned this one seed. I do not see a difficult path for them until the Elite Eight where they will likely face either Tennessee or Villanova. That would be a very tough matchup for them, but they would have the benefit of an easier Sweet 16 game heading into that Elite Eight matchup. For me, that means they are the most likely winner.
Tennessee enters the tournament scorching hot themselves. They offer good value in this spot, but they can be quite streaky so make sure you can find a decent price if this is your pick to win the region.
Most Likely Winner: Arizona +150 to win South, +650 to win it all
Best Value: Tennessee +330 to win South, +1400 to win it all
Longshot: Loyola Chicago +3000 to win South
Again, this is a longshot bet I would not place, but I don’t think Villanova is particularly strong this year and Loyola has plenty of March Madness experience.
Kansas locked up the number one seed in this region after sweeping the Big 12 titles. Most people believe this is the easiest path for a one seed, as the region is full of unproven postseason teams. However, there is some serious offensive firepower in this region. Kansas got a huge boost from Remy Martin in Big 12 tournament play. If he plays like that for March Madness, Kansas can cut down the nets.
I think Iowa and South Dakota State will face each other in the Round of 32. Both teams can light up scoreboards and could provide a nice challenge for Kansas.
I am not a believer in Auburn at all. They can absolutely get hot and make a run, but their guard play is far too inconsistent for my liking in March Madness. Everyone knows, guards win in this tournament and Auburn will have to face lethal guards in the Round of 32. Miami can surprise people in this region solely because they have three guards that can get a bucket at any time.
Most Likely Winner: Kansas +160 to win Midwest, +850 to win it all
Best Value: Iowa +330 to win Midwest, +2200 to win it all
Longshot: Miami +4000 to win Midwest, South Dakota State +15000 to win Midwest
It is well documented that good guards and top 20 offensive and defensive efficiency teams are the recipes to winning in March Madness. The teams that fall in those categories (according to KenPom) are Gonzaga, Arizona, Houston, Baylor, and UCLA. For me, the only two of this group that I can see cutting down the nets are Gonzaga and Arizona. At +300 and +650, respectively, this is the highest you will see those odds so adjust accordingly.
Disclaimer: These are not guarantees or advice. For recreational purposes only.
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