2017 College Basketball National Championship Futures
By Loot, NCAA Basketball Handicapper, Lootmeister.com
No sooner is the college basketball season over than we start looking forward to next season. Sure, it's too early to really start thinking about it, but good betting value waits for no one. Villanova beat North Carolina on a last-second 3-pointer to cap off what may have been the greatest finish of an NCAA tournament final in 2016. Who comes out ahead next season in March Madness?
This is a two-headed coin. On one hand, we barely know what we're betting. After the tournament is over and moving forward, a lot is undecided. Coach's fates have yet to be decided. The intention of key recruits isn't yet known in full. And we don't know what players will be returning, declaring for the draft, transferring, getting injured, or getting in trouble. A ton of different things can transpire from now until the season begins.
At the same time, we have learned that where there is instability, there is opportunity. Normally when we bet, things are spelled-out. The necessary information is there for bookies to fashion air-tight odds. With so much left in the air right now in college hoops, the information is limited. Now, it's unlikely that we will be privy to any information that the sharps in Vegas are not aware of, but that doesn't mean there aren't some gaps between perception and reality at this unique point in the offseason where no one really knows much.
Maybe you have some observations that you made toward the end of last season about a team that might be a legitimate contender. You perhaps saw a team with some players that showed they were peaking and coming together as a unit, but a slow start prevented them from being able to showcase that in the postseason. Or perhaps you know about an incoming freshman or transfer that is going to make a major impact. There may have been a team that came really close, with only a cruel twist of fate or a bad bounce preventing them from winning the championship.
With these observations, you're likely to get some pretty good odds. A lot of things are off-the-radar right now. The picture hasn't really crystallized yet. It's like a boom-town before it becomes a boom-town. The opportunities are rife, but we need to make the right moves. But getting in at the ground-level is the way to make money in this business. And that means taking a stand earlier than most.
There won't be any secrets when the season gets rolling. The standout teams will then have been discovered. It's like a stock that explodes. Once it does, the value is gone. Anyone can jump aboard a bandwagon that is rolling, but the real money is made in doing it before most everyone else does.
When the information is limited, the urge is always to defer to the historically-strong teams. That's why we see teams like Duke and Kentucky at the top of the pile. And not that there aren't good reason for that, as teams like that are almost always in the mix late with a good chance to become champions. Rarely does a college basketball season go by without teams like Duke, Kansas, or Kentucky making a major impact. But as we saw with Villanova winning it all last year, not all champions come from the top of the list of obvious contenders. In fact, enough teams who were not fancied have ended up becoming champions to warrant rolling the dice a bit. And for those fortunate enough to pick those teams before news got out were rewarded with a most handsome payout.
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Take a look at the odds below for next year's college basketball national championship winner and see what you can come up with. Again, there is a massive waiting game involved here, but the sign of a serious sports bettor is one who takes good value, regardless of how long he has to wait to get paid. Here are the early odds to win next season's men's college basketball national championship.
San Diego State+20000
St Mary's CA+20000