March is just around the corner which means the Madness is quick to follow.
There are really only four or five programs out there that look ready to win the NCAA Tournament, which means there’s a ton of value still to be had in the Big Dance futures odds.
If you like long-shot wagers and a nice payday come April 2, we suggest putting a few shekels down on these teams below, who are holding great futures value due to season slip-ups, but have the potential to go all the way to New Orleans this March.Louisville Cardinals (+2,800)
Getting the Cardinals at this price is highway robbery. Louisville has played well below its standards this season due to a rash of injuries and the lack of cohesiveness because of them. However, Rick Pitino’s program is getting healthy and coming together at the right time.
They’ve won six of their last seven (7-0 ATS) and took Syracuse –everyone’s pick to make the Final Four – to the limit last week. Watch out for freshman Wayne Blackshear, who just debuted after sitting all season. He will be a star in March once he gets in game shape.Indiana Hoosiers (+4,000)
The Hoosiers shouldn’t be this low on the NCAA futures list, so shop around to see if you can get a better price on Indiana. Perhaps it’s the capacity for knocking off the top teams that has books placing IU among the top 12 contenders (odds wise) for the national title. The Hoosiers did beat Kentucky and Ohio State this year – the two favorites to win the NCAA crown.
Indiana is young, dumb and full of… 3-point shooting range. It’s that ability to instantly break a game open that makes IU dangerous. Freshman center Cody Zeller is maturing with every outing in the rough-and-tumble Big Ten, and Tom Crean is no stranger to the Big Dance, going deep with Marquette and Michigan State. The biggest question surrounding IU this March will be if it can win away from Bloomington, where it’s 15-1 SU compared to just 4-5 on the road.Vanderbilt Commodores (+8,000)
This team was supposed to be one of the Top 5 programs in the country this year. But the Commodores came out flat and bought into the hype, playing sloppy offense and lackadaisical defense. Hell, Vandy is in danger of missing the NCAA entirely if it doesn’t start kicking ass and taking names in the SEC.
The Commodores did just that in an explosive 102-76 win over Ole Miss Thursday. And while they missed out on a chance to upset No. 1 Kentucky, the Commodores showed they have the talent to keep pace with the best programs in the land. John Jenkins, Jeffery Taylor and Festus Ezeli are all NBA-quality players and, more often than not, the team with the most pro-level talent wins the Big Dance.Xavier Musketeers (+8,000)
Xavier was another school that was supposed to set up shop in the Top 10 all season. However, the brawl with Cincinnati changed all that. The Musketeers haven’t been the same since Dec. 10, going 8-9 SU (6-10-1 ATS) in their last 17 contests. Add to those woes a terrific year for Xavier’s A-10 rivals, and the Musketeers could be on the outside looking in come Selection Sunday.
Head coach Chris Mack cracked the whip following the loss to Temple last weekend. He’s shaking things up, closing practice to the public and introducing some new schemes on both sides of the ball. Tu Holloway is still one of the best point guards in the country and Mark Lyons is providing depth since being moved to the bench.Odds provided by Sportsbook.com.