The NCAA basketball season is underway and power programs have wasted little time clashing in big-name tipoff tournaments, already seeing games like Michigan State vs. Kentucky and Duke vs. Kansas that Guaranteed Sports Picks to be very good.
While these marquee matchups will sway some weight when it comes to the selection committee for the NCAA tournament, we still have an entire schedule to mold March Madness – and the futures odds to win the NCAA Championship.
If you’re sizing up the odds to win the Big Dance, these sleeper contenders could make plenty of money come March.
Louisville Cardinals +1,200
The Cardinals live in the shadow of blue bloods like Duke and North Carolina in the ACC, as well as take a back seat to the defending national champion Virginia. That just helps with the price on UL’s futures odds. This is Year 2 under head coach Chris Mack, who returns a solid core of players while adds some new recruits to the program.
The top returning scorer in the conference, Jordan Nwora is the focal point of the offense after putting up over 17 points per game last season. The Cardinals will likely steal a win or two over those teams above them in the ACC pecking order, so this 12/1 price may be as good as it gets for Louisville bettors.
Texas Tech Red Raiders +3,500
The national title game semifinals did lose standout Jarrett Culver as well as three other starters from that Final Four team, but as we saw during March this is more about Chris Beard’s system than individual talents.
Texas Tech will remain one of the elite defenses in the country, with players like grad transfer TJ Holyfield and returning guard Davide Moretti headlining the roster. There are many new faces for the Red Raiders, so beware of some early-season blips. But Beard will have them in form for Big 12 play and makes TTU a team no one wants to play in the opening week of the tournament.
Marquette Golden Eagles +8,000
The Golden Eagles haven’t heard their name called on Selection Sunday in far too long, and the pressure is on head coach and former Duke assistant Steve Wojciechowski to get Marquette back to the top of the Big East. Wojo has the roster to do so, with a nice blend of new and old faces including standout Markus Howard, who is on the short list of Naismith Award favorites.
Marquette can score, with Howard coming off a 20.4 point per game average last season, but the biggest difference maker will be on defense. The Golden Eagles have a burly frontcourt but don’t defend the perimeter well, giving up 69.5 points per game in 2018-19. Marquette had postseason success in the NIT last March and could continue that momentum with a spot in the national title – a deep run into March – this season.