We still have over a month left remaining in the 2023-24 college basketball season, but it’s never too early to begin thinking about March Madness. As the season goes on, the favorites to earn No. 1 seeds and make a deep tournament run will become much clearer. However, that means that there are currently some excellent teams flying under the radar with good value odds to make the Final Four.
Betting on the tournament this early does carry more risk with it, as anything can change in the coming month, but you will also see much better returns if you place your bets now rather than waiting until seeding comes out in March. Here are our value picks to reach the Final Four as of the first week of February. All odds are courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.
Kentucky has the shortest odds of all of our early selections, but this is still a great time to grab the Wildcats early. John Calipari’s young Kentucky team ranks 27th at KenPom and in the NET rankings, but lands at seventh in adjusted offensive efficiency. This is one of the highest-scoring teams in the nation, and they have proven that they can hold their own against top opponents including Kansas and North Carolina.
The Jayhawks are a powerhouse, and it’s shocking that they fall as low as +400 after their dominant road win over Houston. They are playing in an extremely challenging Big XII this season, so don’t read into those losses to Iowa State and Kansas State too much. Look out of conference, which is more reflective of the schedule they will face in the tournament — the Jayhawks have wins over UConn and Tennessee. They are 5-3 against Quad 1 opponents.
Iowa State +800
The Cyclones, along with the rest of the Big XII, have been one of the most tested teams in the country this season. Iowa State has come out on top time and time again. Wins over Kansas, TCU, and Houston have propelled them to a 13th-place rank at KenPom and a top-10 spot in the NET rankings. This Cyclones team, led by a defense that ranks fifth in adjusted efficiency at KenPom, has the potential to put together a deep run as a slightly lower seed come March.
The Cougars have made quite the splash in their first season in the Big XII, arguably the best conference in basketball. They rocketed up to the top 10 in both KenPom and NET rankings, and score the 10th-most points per game in the country. This Cougars team has all the makings of a deep March Madness run with a middle seed.
Saint Mary’s +1600
Saint Mary’s is 4-3 against Quad 1 opponents this season, and will have a shot at winning the WCC with a scrappy defense. Their latest win came by three points against Gonzaga on the road, and they are perfect in conference play. They did not fare quite as well earlier in the season in their out-of-conference schedule, but they have held opponents to the third-fewest points of any team in the country.
South Carolina +2200
The Gamecocks are rolling right now, taking down ranked SEC opponent after ranked SEC opponent. Wins over Tennessee and Kentucky are the highlights of a current five-game winning streak that has marked a real turning point in South Carolina’s season. They have the longest odds of any of our value picks here, but you can expect to get the best deal now, as their odds will continue to shorten as they keep winning. They are 3-2 against Quad 1 opponents.