Betting on March Madness requires you to be brave, and scour the market for the best 2014 Men’s Basketball tournament longshots. Why? Because the money is hilarious. You can turn five-percent of your bankroll in to a mountain of cash with a somewhat risky play. Of course, how you grade "risk" is a totally personal question.
Is it "risky" to throw $50 at Cincinnati’s +8500 odds if you really believe that they’re championship contenders? Not if you’ve talked yourself in to it. However, if you realize that the Bearcats are one of the worst road teams heading in to the tournament (and that none of the games are played in Cincinnati this spring) then you might want to find another place to invest your money.
So what qualifies as a 2014 Men’s Basketball Tournament longshot? I’d say anything about +4000 or +4500. Something around there and above. You should understand by now that the favorites are who they are because they deserve to be there.
Florida (+550) is a two-loss team that lost both of those games by seven points combined. Louisville (+1000) is the defending champion. Kansas (+600) has unreal talent even though it’s never really come together and they’re missing their best player right now. Creighton (+3000) has the Doug McDermott, who is the best overall player in the country right now even if he’s not the best NBA prospect on the board. None of these teams would be considered longshots by my standards for the 2014 Men’s Basketball Tournament.
As I go through this, understand that some of these are merely fun flier bets and others I’m dead serious about. In other words, take my favorite 2014 Men’s Basketball Tournament longshots as you will.
2014 Men’s NCAA Basketball Tournament Longshots
Oregon Ducks +7500
Oregon seems like such a public team these days that it’d be unfathomable for them to be left off the bracket. They’re one of the best shooting teams in the country, and that’s what they were built to do. Perimeter shooting teams aren’t great commodities overall because they lack the long term reliability that you usually look for. But at this price? Hell yeah.
Baylor Bears +10000
For those of you squinting, that’s four zeroes. Plus ten-thousand. Baylor is one of the polarizing teams in the betting community because they were a hot starting squad that cooled off throughout most of the season before pouring it on late. And there’s a decent chance they don’t make the tournament, which is why the odds are what they are. But considering how popular they’ve become recently, it would be hard for the selection committee to ignore them.
Baylor ended the season on a terrific 9-1 SU and 7-2-1 ATS sprint and recently knocked off ranked Oklahoma in the Big 12 Tournament. This is a team that may save its beset for last and with marquee victories over strong programs throughout the year, Baylor might have been forged in the right way at the right time against the right kind of opponents (i.e. good one). That doesn’t make them a great take long term, but it certainly puts them in the 2014 Men’s Basketball tournament longshots category, and they’re a worthy flier bet considering how energetically and wild they play. You need that type of personality in the madness.
Harvard Crimson +100000
Take it easy there. First off, look at those odds and think about all the dumb things you spend $5 on during your day. Do any of those things pay out at 1000-to-1 odds? Didn’t think so.
To back up a second, Harvard has been a goldmine this season at 16-8 ATS and they’ve routinely dominated the Ivy League. That isn’t saying much, but it does indicate that they’re used to winning and they know what it takes to be a good team. They’ve lost just four games this year, and to be fair the Ivy League is a little bit better than you think.
The other dimension I like about Harvard is that their three best players – Moundou-Missi, Saunders and Chambers – are all sophomores and juniors. They’ve been playing together for a while and know how to rely on each other. Harvard is also a great defensive team that makes up for their awful rebounding ways by nailing a ton of shots. They score 73.6 points per game on 46.7 shooting. That’s pretty good.
Harvard has also been getting better and better since 2012, where they lost to Vanderbilt 70-79. In 2013 they beat New Mexico and were then summarily spanked by Arizona later in the opening weekend. And all the guys that were on the floor for that loss are still on the team.
Again, this isn’t about making a logical bet. Taking a 2014 Men’s Basketball Tournament longshot has more to do with being a bit insane. And nothing is crazier than betting on Harvard to win it all. Listen, for me this is more about bragging rights. How fun would it be to tell your friends that you have Harvard at this price to win it all on a $5 bet when they make the Sweet Sixteen? And trust me, they have the ability to get that far. They just need a few lucky breaks, and if they get them, man you look like a genius.
And nobody’s going to call you an idiot for betting $5 on my favorite 2014 Men’s Basketball Tournament longshot.