The March Madness bracket has been revealed. While betting the games will be the most popular form of action, there’s an edge to betting the futures market one we’ve seen each teams’ path and analyze how deep we think they can go. Of course, betting to win it all and make the Final Four is a popular way to go, but I happen to love these Elite Eight and Sweet Sixteen markets, so I’ll be focused in on those.
Let’s breakdown some college basketball futures on DraftKings Sportsbook!
To Reach Sweet 16: UCONN (-115) — 3-units
I love the Sweet 16 props, essentially backing a team to win their first two games and hopefully getting paid out following the first weekend of action. My favorite play in that Sweet 16 market (at these prices) has to be UConn.
The Huskies are one of five teams in the field that rank top-25 on KenPom in both offensive and defensive adjusted efficiency. Those are the type of teams generally poised to make a deep run. While UConn has a tough draw in the West bracket to make the Final Four, they do have a nice draw to win two games this weekend.
The Huskies will be playing in Albany, NY, which should bring them a nice home crowd. Now, the first matchup is Iona, which will be playing close to home too, but as a 9.5-point favorite/-435 ML favorite, I do feel UConn ultimately advances. Too much of a talent gap in round one. Next up would be the winner of the VCU/Saint Mary’s matchup, which I also feel is a great spot for the Huskies. Having them at -115 in that game and not having to lay points is a play I’m interested in being heavy on.
To Reach Sweet 16: Gonzaga (-150) — 2-units
I’ve been saying the Zags could be a fade in the tournament given that they weren’t quite as dominant as they are in most seasons, and they clearly have a history of choking in the tournament. But since that loss on the road in overtime at Saint Mary’s, this team has been lights out.
While the perception of the Bulldogs is down this season, they still only lost two conference games and ultimately won the WCC Tournament. Out of conference, the Zags’ only losses were to Baylor, Purdue and Texas. They also beat Alabama in the state of Alabama. This team is still pretty good, guys.
The Zags open up in a very favorable matchup against Grand Canyon, sitting at -1500 on the ML. So now we have the Zags in the second round at -150, likely against TCU (potentially the Arizona State/Nevada winner). That’s a number I’ll be happy to have in pocket when that game arrives on Sunday.
To Reach Sweet 16: Texas (-150) — 2-units
I think Texas is good enough to beat Houston and actually emerge from the Midwest bracket, so betting them to reach the Final Four and Elite Eight both interest me. That said, I’m not looking to invest that far down the line quite yet when I think we’re getting a great price on winning their first two games. Texas is about a -1000 favorite on the ML against Colgate, which I feel is a tremendous matchup for the Horns.
That sets up a Saturday game against either Texas A&M or Penn State. That game is no layup either way, and a rivalry matchup against A&M would be pretty cool. The Aggies are a tough team, but I’ll be thrilled to have the Horns -150 in that game. Texas boasts a veteran backcourt, depth in the frontcourt and a ton of athleticism. Like UConn, this is one of those top-25 teams on both sides of the ball that poses a huge threat.
To Reach Elite 8: Alabama (-105) — 2-units
Given the distraction of the Brandon Miller situation, I felt Alabama could be a team I was fading in the tournament. Then, after an 0-4 ATS stretch to finish the regular season, the Tide steamrolled through the SEC Tournament, looking very focused. And then the bracket came out, and revealed a very favorable path for ‘Bama, and here I am backing them to win three games.
We don’t need to go over a matchup against whichever 16-seed Alabama lands in the first round, but the next two games do not seem like ones that will test this No. 1 overall seed in the tournament. A West Virginia/Maryland winner is a good team, but not one that can keep up on either side of the ball. Beyond that, the Sweet 16 matchup would be one of Virginia/San Diego State/Charleston/Furman. I feel any of those teams are live to reach that game, and ‘Bama would be a sizable favorite.
As I’ve been harping on, the Crimson Tide are one of those squads that rank top-25 on each side of the ball. While the going could get tough against Arizona or beyond that matchup, I really like this teams chances to start the tournament with at least three wins.
To Reach Sweet 16: Memphis (+400) — 0.25-units
To Reach Elite 8: Memphis (+850) — 0.25-units
Of course, we need to hop on one dark horse here. It is March Madness, after all. I’m betting Memphis at -135 on the ML to beat FAU in the first round, so beyond that, we’ll just make some small bets at big plus-money for the Tigers to keep advancing.
FAU is a good team, losing just three games this season. The Owls also just haven’t played anyone though. Memphis is a big, athletic team, with both strong veteran guard play and good frontcourt size. FAU should struggle with that.
Up next would be Purdue, and this is where the first 1-seed falls. I really hope we get this matchup so I can play Memphis with the points, but I also want some ML action. The combo of veteran guards Memphis has against a freshman backcourt for the Boilermakers, along with enough athletic bigs to give Zach Edey a tougher time will be enough for them to compete in this game.
If Memphis can take down a 1-seed, they’ll be hot and the market on them will adjust. Having a little +850 on them in the Sweet 16 game would make sense.
Here’s to hoping these five teams have a little bit of a run in them in this tournament! Let’s get after it!
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All views expressed are my own. I am an employee of DraftKings and am ineligible to play in public DFS or DKSB contests.
The contents contained in this article do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment.