The last two unbeaten teams in men’s college basketball—USC and Baylor—lost for the first time last week, and No. 6 Duke dropped its second ACC game Tuesday evening against Florida State. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to sort through constant movement in the top 25 and weekly upsets.
No. 1 Gonzaga +600
No. 6 Duke +900
No. 4 Purdue +900
No. 5 Baylor +1100
No. 7 Kansas +1200
No. 3 Arizona +1500
No. 12 Kentucky +1800
No. 9 UCLA +2000
No. 2 Auburn +2000
No. 11 Villanova +2000
With a little more than six weeks remaining in the regular season, our writers reveal which teams they'd bet to cut down the nets in March Madness.
SI Betting’s Frankie Taddeo:
It is very easy to pick a Gonzaga club that has catapulted back to being the top-ranked team in the country following three consecutive wins that has witnessed the Bulldogs scoring 110-plus points in each victory. But at odds of +600, the value is simply not there to back the overall betting favorite who came up short last season with arguably a more-talented squad. My investment in the futures' market is on Villanova at odds of +2000. Before you claim that I am just making a 'homer pick' as a graduate of Villanova, let me explain. Jay Wright is arguably the best coach in college basketball and it's hard to even make an argument against that. Wright has won two National Championships since 2016 and he has the Wildcats on target to make a deep run at a third in March. Villanova, who has won six consecutive games, are just beginning to hit their stride evidenced by wins over Big East foes Creighton and Butler by a combined 74 points in the last two weeks. The Wildcats, who have played arguably the hardest schedule of any team in the country, possess the best point guard in the country in Collin Gillespie who ranks third in the Conference at 17.1 points per game. On the block, sophomore big man Eric Dixon is developing into a major factor on Villanova's front line, while Justin Moore is becoming the latest guard to become a star on the Main Line under Wright's tutelage. Villanova may only be ranked No. 11 in the latest poll, but they are the third best team in the country according to Ken Pom ratings. At odds of +2000, if the Wildcats can continue to develop bench contributions from players like Bryan Antoine, Villanova offers bettors immense value in a season that is truly wide-open.
BET: Villanova (+2000)
SI College Basketball’s Kevin Sweeney:
If you’re hunting for value, I love backing Auburn at this number. This team has a coach who has three Sweet 16’s, an Elite Eight and a Final Four to his name, the best frontcourt in college basketball and a dynamic group of guards that has stepped up big lately. Freshman forward Jabari Smith might be college basketball’s most unguardable player. He’s 6-foot-10, as pure a shooter as there is in the sport and is rapidly improving in other facets of his game. When paired with rim protector extraordinaire Walker Kessler, no team has a 4/5 duo like the Tigers. Add in the outstanding play of late from EKU transfer PG Wendell Green, and Auburn feels like a frontrunner to cut down the nets in New Orleans. To get a team this talented and coached by one of the best in Bruce Pearl at +2000? That’s the best bet on the board.
BET: Auburn (+2000)
SI Fantasy’s Craig Ellenport:
When in doubt, look to the Big Ten. There are currently five Big Ten squads in the AP Top 25 (tied with the Big 12 for the most), and the high level of competition between these teams will have them ready for tournament play. No. 4 Purdue is the top-ranked team in the conference right now, but I’m looking for something better than their +900 number. Wisconsin, Ohio State and Michigan State all come in at +4000, and I’ll roll with the No. 8 Badgers. Sophomore sensation Johnny Davis is averaging 22.1 points per game and Wisconsin has won seven straight in advance of a Friday night showdown in East Lansing. Wisconsin is building some momentum right now, so it’s time to get on the bus.
BET: Wisconsin (+4000)
SI Betting’s Matt Ehalt:
I'm not going to let Tuesday's overtime loss to a scrappy Florida State team deter me. Give me Duke. First, I'm getting great value at +900. Sign me up for a Duke team with 9-to-1 value. The Blue Devils have arguably the best player in the country in Paolo Banchero. He's a ridiculous talent who may be drafted first overall. And last, but certainly not least, this is Coach K's final season. Duke is notorious for getting a good whistle and draw in the NCAA Tournament. Stranger things have happened. Add it up, and I love the value. Auburn at +2000 is also a great option, but let's stick with the fairytale ending for Coach K.
BET: Duke (+900)
SI Betting and Fantasy’s Kyle Wood:
Why not bet the Boilermakers? Purdue is tied for the fourth-highest scoring offense in the country (86.2 PPG) and has the No. 1 adjusted offensive efficiency on KenPom.com. The team shoots better than 40% from three-point range, a top-five mark and is in the top 10 in assists per game with three capable distributors. Purdue has plenty of shooters surrounding 7-foot-4 sophomore center Zach Edey, who shoots better than 70% from the field, and it has quite a respectable resume, having held the top spot in the country for a time. The Boilermakers have wins over North Carolina, Villanova, Iowa and Illinois, and a 28-point win over Florida State looks even better after the Seminoles beat Duke on Tuesday. Matt Painter’s teams are a mainstay in the big dance, but have been unable to string enough wins together when it comes to crunch time to win it all. I think that changes this year.
BET: Purdue (+900)
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