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College Basketball Futures, Picks: Best NCAA Tournament Title Bets to Make Right Now

College Basketball Futures, Picks: Best NCAA Tournament Title Bets to Make Right Now article feature image

Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images. Pictured: Filip Petrusev #3 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs

  • Offensive and defensive efficiency metrics have highlighted Kansas, Baylor, Duke and three other college basketball teams as national championship contenders.
  • Using The Action Network simulations, we determine if there is value betting these squads to win the NCAA tournament.

One way to identify true college basketball title contenders is to look at efficiency metrics. By correlating KenPom’s adjusted offensive efficiency (AdjO), adjusted defensive efficiency (AdjD) and adjusted efficiency margin (AdjEM) metrics with NCAA tournament performance, we found that well-balanced teams are more successful in the postseason.

Teams capable of winning the national championship usually have an AdjEM score of 23.81 or higher. These same teams also have AdjO scores of 114.0 or higher and an AdjD score of 96.2 or lower.

Using these criteria, six teams currently qualify as title contenders.

So we’ve highlighted potential teams to cut down the nets, but do any of these squads have betting value to win the NCAA tournament?

To determine if a team is a good bet we looked at what its current odds are to win the NCAA championship at PointsBet and compared that to our projected odds based on 10,000 simulations of Joe Lunardi’s Bracketology.

Gonzaga Bulldogs

  • Current odds: +800, Implied Probability: 11.1%
  • Zags win the tournament 21.2% of the time

Mark Few’s team gets it done on the offensive end of the court leading the nation in scoring (87.6 points per game). The Bulldogs aren’t half bad at defense either, ranking 34th in adjusted defensive efficiency.

Gonzaga never gets the credit it deserves because of its status as a mid-major. But this is great news for bettors as it causes the Bulldogs odds to be inflated.

Kansas Jayhawks

  • Current odds: +700, Implied Probability: 12.5%
  • KU wins the tournament 19.6% of the time

If balance is key to winning the national championship then Kansas may have the best shot come March. The Jayhawks are the only team that ranks in the top seven in both adjusted offensive and defensive efficiency. Bill Self’s team is also battle tested, having won four games against ranked opponents including a victory against No. 1 Baylor in Waco.

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