Selection Sunday is now less than a month away. In that time teams are going to play themselves in and out of the NCAA Tournament, but there are many teams that have already “earned” their March Madness spot.
Before we see the brackets and the matchups can be the best time to place college basketball futures bets. There is uncertainty in the market, and that helps drive up the value.
Gonzaga, Kentucky, and Arizona sit atop the current odds to win the 2022 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, but there are several teams outside of the main group of contenders that have the talent and potential to go deep in the tournament.
Here’s a look at three high value March Madness sleepers. The first team on the list isn’t a dark horse or a sleeper in the truest sense given the program’s recent success, but they are not quite in the top group of 2022 college basketball title contenders as we head towards March.
All listed March Madness futures odds are via FanDuel Sportsbook.
Three 2022 March Madness Sleepers and Value Picks
Villanova (2022 March Madness Odds: +2500)
The Wildcats are not necessarily my pick to win it all. They are a great bet though, especially given the team appears to be peaking and that price might not be available for much longer.
The computers have loved Villanova all season long even as they suffered a few bad losses. Now they are poised to win another Big East title and be on a shortlist of teams that nobody wants to play in March.
Villanova has everything you are looking for in a championship team. Beginning on the sidelines, coach Jay Wright has guided his team to a title twice in the past five tournaments, so he knows how to get his team ready for March Madness.
Efficiency Rankings for Villanova for the 2021-22 College Basketball Season (via KenPom)
- Offensive Efficiency: 4th (119.3)
- Defensive Efficiency: 29th (93.8)
The Wildcats are very comfortable doing what they do, and they are first in the nation in free-throw shooting, which could be the difference in an early March Madness exit and a Final Four run. This team just doesn’t beat themselves.
They have strong personnel, especially in the backcourt where Collin Gillespie is All-American/NBA good. Justin Moore gives them another guard who can score and create for others and is Villanova tough. There might not be much flash to their games, but it is hard to find a better backcourt.
Villanova is very experienced, as they have three senior starters. And as they have in the past, they are improving as the season progresses. They are developing an inside game with bulky Eric Dixon. He is also one of the best offensive rebounders in the country.
The only downside with this team is depth and rim protection. The Wildcats play smart, so I am not overly concerned about their lack of depth though. Foul trouble could be a problem, but bench production is not how you win titles.
Villanova does not have a big man who can intimidate inside but they are still one of the best defensive teams in the country (27th in defensive efficiency). They are fundamentally sound and that helps avoid fouls too.
Assuming they keep winning like they have been, Villanova’s March Madness title odds are going to be in the neighborhood of +1500 before you know it.
Now is the time to get down on the Wildcats, who had +1600 odds prior to the start of the season.
Other Smart NCAAB Futures Plays for Right Now
Arkansas Razorbacks (Odds: +7000)
When they are at their best, the Razorbacks can hang with anyone in the country. They are one of two teams to beat Auburn this season and enter Saturday’s contest with Tennessee with ten wins in their past eleven games.
They have talent and experience, and the price is right. Coach Muss had them in the Elite Eight last season and is looking for another deep March Madness run this season.
Oregon Ducks (Odds: +10000)
Oregon has a similar profile to Arkansas. They also have an experienced coach who is very comfortable reloading with transfer talent. As such it took them a little while to get going this season.
Since coach Dana Altman arrived in Eugene, the Ducks have had a history of making the NCAA Tournament and advancing. Altman has had a lot of success with transfers and his teams tend to get better over the course of the season. This season has been no different.
Oregon has had some bad losses this season, including a recent game at Arizona State where they were just uncompetitive. On the flip side, they went to SoCal earlier in the season and won back-to-back games against UCLA and USC. That is a great practice run for what you have to do in March, which is beat two good teams in a span of a few days.
Off of the loss to the Sun Devils, their March Madness value might not be better than it is right now. Their senior guards are the kind you want to lean on too.