Betting Odds On Favorites To Win The 2014 NCAA Tournament?Josh Bailey
While my list of top five favorites to win the 2014 NCAA Basketball Tournament isn’t going to ‘shock the socks’ off of many but everywhere will be a bit surprised to see which team I currently have in my top spot.
No worries however, the fact of the matter is that each and every one of these five teams (and at least another half-dozen or so) all stand very legitimate chances of bringing home the bacon once this year’s wildly popular NCAA Tournament gets underway beginning on March 18.
A brief look at each of these five legitimate title contenders will give you an excellent preview of what they can likely expect from each program when they take to the court for this year’s March Madness.
Okay, with that thought in mind and the 2013-14 regular season coming to fast and furious finish, let’s get started.
Who are the Top 5 Title Favorites to win the 2014 NCAA Tournament?
No. 5 Duke +800
Currently ranked sixth in the nation, the Duke Blue Devils (22-6 SU, 17-10-1 ATS, 12-15-1 O/U) are third in the ACC behind Virginia and Syracuse, but the fact of the matter is that this team could surprise in a big way if the team’s peripheral cast can give superstar freshman forward Jabari Parker (19.1 ppg) and athletic junior forward Rodney hood (16.1 ppg) the scoring support they’ll need. The Blue Devils are ranked 21st in scoring (80.1 ppg) and a stellar fifth in three-point field goal percentage (40.7). Defensively, Duke has been solid, but not outstanding in allowing 66.8 points per contest. Duke is mediocre at best on the glass, ranking in the 180s at both ends of the floor.
No. 4 Florida +500
The Gators (26-2 SU, 11-12-1 ATS, 7-16 O/U) won’t wow you with offense as they average a modest 71.3 points per contest (180th), but they do have one of the best defenses in the nation as they limit their opponents to a paltry 58.6 points per contest (8th). While Florida doesn’t have a true superstar they do have four double digit scorers, three of whom are experienced seniors. The bottom line for Florida betting backers is that this team is solid offensively and outstanding defensively, even if they don’t have a winning ATS right now.
No. 3 Kansas +800
Kansas (22-6 SU, 14-13-1 ATS, 17-10-1 O/U) is absolutely brimming with athletic talent, starting with sure-fire lottery picks, Andrew Wiggins (16.3 ppg) and Joel Embiid (11.1 ppg). The Jayhawks have been one of the best offensive teams in the nation as they average an impressive 79.8 points per contest and shooting a collective 50.1 percent from the field to rank third nationally. Kansas allows 69.3 points per contest defensively (152nd) but they do limit their opponents to an uninspiring 40.1 percent mark from the field to rank 70th overall while pulling down 27.8 defensive rebounds per game to rank 34th in that category. This team is well-coached and could very well win it all.
No. 2 Syracuse +750
Sure, longtime head coach Jim Boeheim made national headlines recently after ‘losing it’ due to what he believed was a non-call late against Duke last week, handing the Orange a two-game losing streak in the process, but make no mistake about it, the Syracuse Orangemen (26-2 SU, 13-9-2 ATS, 6-15-2 O/U) are about as elite as they come, particularly on the defensive end of the court. Syracuse ranks seventh (7th) in the nation in points allowed, limiting their opponents to just 58.5 points per game on just 40.6 percent shooting from the field (51st). On offense, the Orangemen have four double-digit scorers on its roster, including two true superstars in silky smooth senior forward C.J. Fair (16.5 ppg) and heady freshman point guard Tyler Ennis (12.0 ppg). Now in the competitive ACC, the Orangemen are battle-tested, fairly experienced and well-coached even if Boeheim has been in the news for acting like a childish first-year head coach.
No. 1 Wichita State +1200
You know, I am absolutely stunned that Wichita State (30-0 SU, 20-6-1 ATS, 14-13 O/U) isn’t getting more love from basketball pundits everywhere, but that’s okay college basketball bettors, I still love the mid-major Shockers and here’s why. Besides being the only team in collegiate hoops history to go 30- 0 in the regular season, Wichita State appears to be on a very real mission this season to go one step further than they did a year ago when they ‘shocked’ college hoops fans and gamblers across the globe by reaching the Final Four. Wichita State averages a very solid 75.6 points per game (70th) and has a very balanced offense that features four double-digit scorers. Last but certainly not least, the Shockers rank a stellar 14th in points allowed (60.4 ppg) and have managed to record the best ATS record in the nation for betting enthusiasts with the foresight to back them early and often this season. Wichita State may not get nearly the national attention they deserve because of the conference they play in, but this team is more than equipped to beat anyone in the country if you ask me.