College basketball futures bets are always tough to forecast in November, December, and even January and February. No matter how good teams are, the goal remains the same for everyone in the land: Win six games in March and April.
There’s no doubt that Duke and Michigan State are among the best teams in the country this year. They’re deserving +400 co-favorites to cut down the nets in San Antonio in April, yet it’s hard to bet on them right now. Even in the best-case scenario for either one of these teams, they win 30 games, find themselves on the 1-line in the NCAA Tournament and still have to win the same six games in a row everyone else has to win.
Thus, the goal with betting March Madness odds in November is to try to find teams who could start off the season underrated and work their way into being high seeds in the NCAAs. Here are a few of said teams to watch as the season kicks off on Friday.
Villanova Wildcats (+2200)
Sure, this is a relatively short price on Villanova at 22 to 1, but the Wildcats feel like a top-5 team to us. Jalen Brunson and Mikal Bridges are back in the City of Brotherly Love, and Phil Booth is expected to be huge after he missed out on last season injured. The Big East doesn’t have any obvious challengers this year for the Cats, and we would be shocked if they weren’t at least on the 2-line come March.
St. Mary’s Gaels (+6000)
We know you’ve heard this story with St. Mary’s before. Randy Bennett’s team is constantly second-best to Gonzaga and never seems to have a strong enough resume to justify having a real shot at the National Championship. Still, Jock Landale is one of the best big men in the entire country, and this is a that has a slew of great shooters on it. The Gaels are going to run up and down the floor and be a huge pain to oust in March. With Gonzaga rebuilding, St. Mary’s looks like the WCC champ to us.
Miami Hurricanes (+8000)
The next logical step for the Canes is upon us. They reached the NIT championship game two years ago and were in the Sweet 16 last year, and they’ve got a tremendous core returning. Ja’Quan Newton is one of the better players you know nothing about in the nation, and both Bruce Brown and Lonnie Walker could be All-ACC performers by the time this season is said and done with. The high-octane ACC leaves Miami in a spot where it could be the fourth-best team and still finish on the 3-line.
Harvard Crimson (+100000)
We’re stretching here with Harvard, but hear us out. The Crimson had the nation’s tenth-rated recruiting class in 2016 – seriously, look it up. Those seven players are now all juniors and are al on this squad together. Last season, all of Harvard’s losses in the Ivy League came by four points or fewer. There’s a shot for this team to get into the NCAA Tournament as an at-large with a successful pre-Ivy League run, though that would include beating St. Mary’s the week of Thanksgiving and perhaps even one of the two of Kentucky or Minnesota in December. Don’t say we didn’t warn you that this team could be the one wearing Cinderella’s slipper in March.
Odds to Win the 2018 NCAA Basketball Tournament
Michigan State +400
Wichita State +2000
North Carolina +3000
Texas A&M +4000
Notre Dame +5000
West Virginia +5500
St. Mary’s +6000
Seton Hall +8000
(Odds Courtesy of BookMaker.eu)