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Four March Madness betting favorites to cut down the net during the Big Dance




 


Love it or hate it, there’s no doubting Duke’s chances of winning the Big Dance


Four March Madness betting favorites to cut down the net during the Big Dance | News Article by SportsBettingOnline.ag

Parity be damned. In a college basketball campaign that hasn’t really produced a true elite national title contender, oddsmakers are sticking to the classics when it comes to setting prices on which program will cut down the net in Phoenix when the NCAA tournament is all said and done.

And that’s not a bad thing. Not only do those name-brand schools draw the majority of the futures action but they boast the top talents in the country and usually rise to the top when push comes to shove in March. Here’s a breakdown of the four top favorites to survive the bracket battle during March Madness:

Duke Blue Devils (+700)

Love it or hate it, there’s no doubting Duke’s chances of winning the Big Dance. The Blue Devils haven’t been dominant during ACC play, losing some rough games versus Syracuse, North Carolina State and Virginia Tech, but Coach K knows what it takes to win in the tournament and is usually the beneficiary of a favorable seed on Selection Sunday.

Duke is walking a similar path as its 2014-15 championship team, which wasn’t dominant by any means during regular season play and was bounced early from the ACC tournament, only to catch fire in the national tournament with six straight wins and ATS paydays. Oddsmakers got burned by a 13/2 winner on Duke that season, which is why the Dukies are among the favorites – but not among the country’s elite.

Gonzaga Bulldogs (+850)

Could this finally be the year the Bulldogs break through? Gonzaga is the top team – and bet – in college hoops but doubters always point to the Zags’ weak conference competition in the WCC. The Bulldogs’ conference schedule and subsequent tournament doesn’t do them any favors in terms of NCAA prep, with Gonzaga playing its stiffest competition earlier in the year. It took wins over top programs like Arizona and Florida in non-conference play.

Gonzaga is among the Top 10 in most major offensive and defensive statistical categories, but how much those stats are skewed by the WCC remain to be seen. The Bulldogs are all but assured a No. 1 seed, however, we’ve seen small-conference powers get upended by poorly seeded schools for major conferences, like No. 1 Wichita State losing to No. 8 Kentucky in the Round of 32 during the 2013-14 Big Dance. The Zags could fall to a similar fate, despite their odds.

North Carolina Tar Heels (+850)

If you’re a Tar Heels fan, it’s got to upset you that Duke is higher on the NCAA tournament futures board than UNC. North Carolina did take a bad loss to the Blue Devils inside Cameron Indoor in early February but have proven to be the superior team in the standings. The Tar Heels have a deep bench – something Duke does not – push the tempo, scoring 86.5 points per game on an average of 75.2 possessions, and dominate the glass for second-chance points.

North Carolina has great upperclassmen experience from last year’s national runner-up squad and cunning coaching with Roy Williams prowling the sidelines. The Heels are projected to win the ACC tournament and earn a No. 1 seed in the NCAA field, which makes for an easier path to the Final Four. They’re definitely deserving of these short odds.

Kansas Jayhawks (+900)

The Jayhawks are always in the mix and once again are the cream of the crop in the Big 12. Kansas has a dangerous offense that can fill it up from outside the arc or drive to the basket. Bill Self has arguably the most talented backcourt in the country, with Frank Mason, Josh Jackson, Devonte' Graham, and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk making up a small starting lineup anchored by senior center Landen Lucas.

While KU has plenty of firepower on the perimeter, the Jayhawks could run into trouble if they meet a dominant frontcourt in the tournament. Kansas leans on sixth man Carlton Bragg Jr. to take up space around the basket and doesn’t go much deeper up front since losing freshman 7-footer Udoka Azubuike in December.




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