Best 2014 CBB title value bets
North Carolina, Michigan among long-shot teams worth selecting
When I'm betting on a team to cut down the nets in Arlington, Texas, on April 7 as national champions, I'm looking for two things. First and foremost is the potential to actually win a title. I'm looking for teams with a proven track record of success against other quality foes along with the talent and depth to make a deep tournament run.
Second, I'm looking for legitimate value in the futures market to support that team. If I had to pick a Final Four before the brackets come out or the seedings are announced, I'd pick these four teams: Kansas, Michigan State, Florida and Arizona. However, based on the current lines (all the numbers in the chart below are current as of March 4), there's virtually no value to support any of those four teams in the futures market.
The Jayhawks, Spartans, Gators and Wildcats -- along with Duke and Syracuse -- are all essentially co-favorites. Florida is available at plus-550 to win the title at William Hill; Michigan State is in the plus-800 range; and Kansas is as high as plus-900 at Cantor, where Arizona is priced at plus-1100. Quite frankly, that's not the price range I'm looking for with my long-shot wagers.
So, I'm looking for "live" teams priced at 25-to-1 or higher; squads that offer solid return-on-investment potential. All five squads have NBA-caliber talent, quality point guard play, interior size, defensive acumen and a track record of winning tough games away from home -- exactly what it takes to win a title.
Here are my five best 2014 NCAA title value bets.
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Jay Bilas, with an assist from John Gasaway, ranks his top 68 teams in college basketball.