2014 NCAA Basketball Championship Odds
Is it ever really too early to start looking at these things? I suppose not if the sportsbooks are willing to take our bets. This has been an interesting offseason for NCAA hoops futures because player movement has significantly influenced the odds.
Just after the tourney blue blood Kansas was looking like a relative non-factor but then they added uber prospect Andrew Wiggins and Memphis transfer Tarik Black and suddenly they shot up amongst the elite again.
Wiggins is a game changer for sure but it seems like these days we need to be just as mindful of the transfer wire, especially because these experienced players are often more ready than the phenoms to make regularly counted upon contributions.
Below are the current future odds and some notes about teams I think offer intriguing value.
ODDS TO WIN 2014 MEN’S NCAA BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT (LVH):
The team with the most talent is never a bad bet. The fact that the Wildcats struggled last year probably adds some value to this one even though talent evaluators call this year’s version much more talented than last year’s, especially in the backcourt which is critical if you are going to make a championship run.
I am not saying they should be your top bet to take it all but the Wildcats should be better next year than they were this year.
Don’t ignore them.
MICHIGAN ST 12-1
The group of teams at 12-1 is an impressive one and I would be willing to bet that at least one, if not more, of these 5 teams makes it to the Final Four. If I had to pick a best bet though to win it all it would be Florida.
Yes they are losing a couple of key pieces and Kentucky should challenge them better than they did last year but this squad is returning its leaders in scoring, rebounding, blocks, assists and all the shooting categories.
Add in some developing young players and Billy Donovan has a nice mix to mold into a potential championship team.
OHIO ST 15-1
NORTH CAROLINA 15-1
Last year’s runner up loses key backcourt players to the NBA in Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. but upfront they are getting another year out of Glenn Robinson III and tournament darling Mitch McGary.
The team’s overall talent may not be as great as last season but they might have an easier time in the conference and have a group of experienced players returning from last year’s team.
At 25-1 there is great value there, especially with another strong recruiting class coming in. Go get ‘em Spike.
OKLAHOMA ST 40-1
There is going to be a lot of pressure on the Cowboys to perform this season. They should be able to push or overtake Kansas in the Big 12 but more importantly they should be able to compete with almost anyone on the wings with a combination of players led by all everything point guard Marcus Smart.
Oklahoma State is the ultimate matchup team. To beat these guys you are going to have to dominate them inside and make sure their guards don’t go off. There aren’t that many teams who are going to have to the ability to do that.
Experience may help this team more than any other in the country this season.
ST LOUIS 50-1
The Buffaloes have one of the top backcourts in the nation. They seem to always struggle a little bit during the season but if they can play a little more consistently they can challenge for the PAC 12 title and more importantly get the kind of seeding that gives them a real chance to run the table in the tournament.
Spencer Dinwiddie and Askia Booker are that good and they are experienced too. This team is in the discussion for best in the West.
U CONN 60-1
NEW MEXICO 60-1
WICHITA ST 60-1
The Bulldogs disappointed at the end of the last season when they lost to tournament darling Wichita State. This year they are lighter up front but with one of the most experienced and talented backcourts with Kevin Pangos and Gary Bell Jr.
Lighter maybe, but not smalle,r the Zags still have a couple of quality bigs who were in backup roles last year but have the talent to become high level contributors if given a shot. Expect another super regular season and high seed.
If you think frontcourt prowess can lead to a championship then you have to buy a futures ticket with Baylor on it. They have NBA length and skill up front as Isaiah Austin and Cory Jefferson continue to get better. Their question mark is whether they can replace Pierre Jackson at the point.
All he did was lead the Big 12 in points and assists last season.
He was exciting but maybe with a steadier hand this team cuts down the nets…in some fashion.
There is some name recognition amongst this group of 100-1 longshots but of them all I would give the Tigers the best chance. They have lost some key players from last year’s squad but return Jabari Brown and Earnest Ross on the perimeter and size shouldn’t be an issue with 6 players on the roster 6’9” or taller.
The key is finding a guard to make them go. They may play at a slower pace this season but they could easily challenge for the SEC title and amass a great record.
Then who knows.
SAN DIEGO ST 1-100
OLE MISS 100-1
KANSAS ST 100-1
NC STATE 100-1
FLORIDA ST 100-1
NOTRE DAME 100-1
ST JOHNS 100-1
BOISE ST 100-1
ARIZONA ST 100-1
MIAMI FL 100-1
IOWA ST 200-1
At these kinds of odds you are really reaching but if I was going to do so I would do so with a team that was coming out of a power conference (Big Ten), has a coach with a pedigree (Richard Pitino may be riding his dad’s coattails but it looks like he can coach a little) and most importantly has one of the best guard tandems in America (that would be Andre and Austin Hollins – no relation).
The rest of the roster might be a little unfamiliar but this team profiles like one that could be peaking at just the right time.
WEST VIRGINIA 200-1
NORTHERN IOWA 200-1
SOUTHERN MISS 300-1
COLORADO ST 300-1
TEXAS A&M 300-1
SOUTH CAROLINA 300-1
MIDDLE TN ST 300-1
ST MARYS 300-1
WISCONSIN GREEN BAY 500-1
U MASS 500-1
ST JOES 500-1
BOSTON COLLEGE 500-1
GEORGIA TECH 500-1
WAKE FOREST 500-1
GEORGE MASON 500-1
EAST CAROLINA 500-1
CENTRAL FLORIDA 500-1
FRESNO ST 500-1
RHODE ISLAND 500-1
Even with an expanded field of 68 teams it seems near impossible that the ultimate champion is not amongst the group of teams listed above. For that to happen we would have to have one of the true Cinderella’s come through but that is becoming ever more challenging as programs like Butler, Gonzaga and VCU more firmly establish themselves (they have the odds to prove it).
I hate to end on a negative note but this is really the worst bet you can make.
100-1 is not nearly enough of a payoff for a team that would truly be defying the odds not only during the regular season just to make the field but in winning 6 straight games to win the whole thing.