Get a Jump on March Madness Bets

March Madness is coming! In approximately four weeks, we’ll be watching the NCAA Men’s and Women’s National Basketball Tournaments.

The First Four will play March 15-16, with the opening round of the Men’s Bracket starting March 17. This is the first year the Women’s Tournament will expand its field to 68 teams, matching the men.

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Size Up the Teams Now

To improve your odds of picking a bracket for the tournament, start looking at the top teams now. The power conferences will have most of the teams selected. The top conferences are the Big Ten, ACC, Big12, The Big East and the Pac 12. In the Pac 12, Arizona and UCLA are the top teams right now. The Big Ten has five teams ranked in the Top 25.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you select your brackets for March Madness:

1. Follow teams and conferences early. If you start at the beginning of March—which is what most people do—you’ll be selecting teams without enough statistical information.

2. Any team in the conversation of last four in by ESPN Bracketologist Joe Lunardi should not be considered for a deep run. Lunardi looks at strength of schedule, and so should you. Just don’t expect much from a play in team.

3. Looking for a team to get to the Sweet 16? Pick one that shoots 35% or higher from three, and goes at least 7-8 deep with its rotation. If that team has juniors and seniors, I’d pencil them in to advance to at least the Elite Eight.

4. Pick at least one No. 1 seed in your Final Four. One top-ranked team always makes it past the Elite Eight.

5. Don’t pick a No. 5 seed to win the National Championship. It’s never happened. A 5 seed has made the Final Four just three times, but each time, that team lost in the semi-finals.

6. Conference Championships matter when picking a NCAA Champion. In the history of the NCAA, there have only been four national champions who participated in a conference tournament that did not first win either their league’s regular season or postseason title.

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Team & Player Rankings

The teams with the best odds to win the Men’s National Championship are:

  • Gonzaga Bulldogs +500
  • Duke Blue Devils +1200
  • Purdue Boilermakers +1100
  • Baylor Bears +1500
  • Auburn Tigers +900

Topping the Women’s National Championship odds:

  • South Carolina Gamecocks +200
  • Connecticut Huskies +325
  • Stanford Cardinals +600
  • North Carolina State Wolfpack +1000
  • Maryland Terrapins +1200

The top-ranked men’s teams are:

  • Auburn Tigers
  • Gonzaga Bulldogs
  • Purdue Boilermakers 
  • Arizona Wildcats
  • Kentucky Wildcats

The top-ranked women’s teams are:

  • South Carolina Gamecocks
  • Stanford Cardinal
  • Tennessee Volunteers
  • Louisville Cardinals
  • North Carolina State Wolfpack

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The top players in the country among the men include:

  • Scotty Pippen Jr. – Vanderbilt Commodores
  • Ron Harper Jr. – Rutgers Scarlet Knights
  • Drew Timme – Gonzaga Bulldogs
  • Kofi Cockburn – Illinois Fighting Illini 
  • Johnny Juzang – UCLA Bruins
  • Hunter Dickinson – Michigan Wolverines
  • Colin Gillespie – Villanova Wildcats 

The top players in the country among the women are:

  • Aliyah Boston – South Carolina Gamecocks
  • Paige Bueckers – Connecticut Huskies
  • Christyn Williams – Connecticut Huskies
  • Haley Jones – Stanford Cardinal
  • Zia Cooke – South Carolina Gamecocks 
  • Fran Bellini – Stanford Cardinal

Top coaches who can prepare their teams for a deep run on the men’s side include:

  • Mike Krzykewski – Duke Blue Devils
  • Tom Izzo – Michigan State Spartans
  • Jay Wright – Villanova Wildcats
  • Bill Self – Kansas Jayhawks

The top coaches on the women’s side are:

  • Dawn Staley – South Carolina Gamecocks
  • Geno Auriemma – Connecticut Huskies
  • Wes Moore – North Carolina State Wolfpack
  • Tara VanDerveer – Stanford Cardinals

The defending champion for the Men’s Division is Baylor. The defending champion for the Women is Stanford. Right now, both teams are ranked in the Top 10.

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Top 10 Odds* for NCAA Men’s Basketball

Team Caesars BetMGM PointsBet BetRivers Unibet
Gonzaga +500 +450 +450 +575 +575
Auburn +900 +800 +800 +900 +900
Kentucky +1000 +1000 +900 +1000 +1000
Purdue +1100 +1000 +1000 +1050 +1050
Duke +1200 +1000 +1200 +1000 +1000
Baylor +1500 +1400 +1200 +1000 +1000
Arizona +1100 +1000 +1400 +1300 +1300
Kansas +1600 +1400 +1000 +1500 +1500
UCLA +2000 +1800 +1400 +1700 +1700
Villanova +2000 +1800 +1800 +2000 +2000

*Odds subject to change

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Be smart and bet responsibly! Stay connected with Robert Mims about March Madness as you get ready for Men’s and Women’s Basketball 2022.

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