With Zion Williamson's future up in the air, now may be the time to pounce on a solid value in the futures market to win the NCAA tournament.
Next Monday, the Duke Blue Devils will likely lose their top ranking in the polls again regardless of what happens on Saturday when they visit the Syracuse Orange in front of what is expected to be another record of more than 35,000 fans at the Carrier Dome.
The bigger question for bettors though is, will freshman phenom Zion Williamson ever play another game for the Blue Devils as he contemplates his NBA future, making them questionable favorites on the 2019 NCAA Tournament odds.
For the time being, Duke is still the team to beat at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com, currently sitting as the +200 favorite (wager $100 to win $200). But if Williamson never suits up for the Blue Devils again or misses significant time with a questionable return date, then they are simply not worth the risk at those odds.
Instead, there are a number of other top contenders that should be considered with much better odds like the team that routed Duke 88-72 as 10-point road underdogs on Wednesday—the eighth-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels. In their last 10 games, the Tar Heels have gone 9-1 straight up and 7-3 against the spread, making them a nice value play at +1400.
Then there is the lone team that has beaten North Carolina over the past month, the third-ranked Virginia Cavaliers at +900. The only two losses for the Cavaliers this year came versus the Blue Devils, with Williamson averaging 22.5 points and seven rebounds. You can certainly make an argument that Virginia could defeat a Duke team sans Williamson in a third meeting, potentially in an ACC Tournament matchup.
The SEC also has a couple top contenders on the March Madness odds in the fourth-ranked Kentucky Wildcats and fifth-ranked Tennessee Volunteers, but the best bet to win the 2019 NCAA Tournament right now is the second-ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs at +800. When the new rankings are released, it is the Bulldogs who will likely earn the top spot after they upset the Blue Devils 89-87 as eight-point underdogs back on November 21.