Florida Tops Updated NCAA BBall Futures

By Daniel J.

With just a month left in the college basketball season, the NCAA Tournament picture is starting to clear up as new contenders emerge while pretenders reveal their true colors. There has been a lot of moving and shaking in the polls in recent weeks as upsets have continued to rearrange the rankings, but Indiana, despite losing again this week, is still at the number one spot. But not in the futures odds, according to Bovada.lv.

The Florida Gators claimed the number one spot in the updated futures at 5/1, while Indiana came in at a close second at 11/2. Michigan, Miami and Duke rounded out the top five, but out of all these so-called favorites, which teams are the best bets? Let’s take a closer look at each squad.

Florida Gators – 5/1

Let’s face it it. It’s been a down year for SEC hoops. The Kentucky Wildcats have severely underachieved and there haven’t been any other teams in the conference that have really stood out, besides the Gators of course. But what does that say about their schedule? Sure they are one of the few three-loss teams remaining, but is this a squad comparable to the one that went all the way in 2007? Well, it’s hard to tell because their schedule is in fact so weak that we really won’t know how good they are until they play somebody. The only top 15 team they have played and will play all season was the Arizona Wildcats and they lost that game. The Gators are good, but not 5/1 good. Stay away from them as the favorite.

Indiana Hoosiers – 11/2

The Hoosiers have stumbled at times this season, but they are certainly more deserving of the top spot than Florida. Not only have they played more top ranked teams, like Michigan and Ohio State, but they have all the tools that a championship team needs. They have one of the top scoring teams in the country, a formidable defense, a dominant big man in Cody Zeller, great guard play from Victor Oladipo and a premier sharpshooter in Will Sheehy. For my money, the Hoosiers are the still the odds on favorite.

Michigan Wolverines – 7/1

In owning the No.1 ranking for a brief period, the Wolverines have still proven they are for real, but can they realistically win the NCAA Tournament? They have plenty of talent, but as losers of their last two games and three of their last four, we might have to wait a bit to see if they can regain some traction before putting our ultimate faith in them as a title contender.

Miami Hurricanes – 8/1

The Hurricanes have emerged as one of 2013’s biggest surprises, but they’ve shown they can hang with the big boys in the ACC by beating Duke, UNC, FSU and NC State. They don’t have particularly amazing statistics, ranking just 102nd in points per game, 118th in rebounds and 238th in assists, but they have found ways to win. The Hurricanes current 12-game winning streak demonstrates their ability to beat you in a variety of ways, which is what a team needs to win the NCAA Tournament. I would still consider them a dark horse for now, but a solid and valuable one at 8/1.

Duke Blue Devils – 17/2

It’s rather surprising that the two-loss Blue Devils come in at number five considering their history of success. Although this Blue Devils team might not be the best Duke has ever had, they are a contender without question, making them extremely valuable at 17/2. It’s never a bad idea to take Duke to go all the way and at these odds, you almost have to.

Here’s the final verdict:

Best Chance to Win: Indiana

Dark Horse: Miami

Best Value: Duke