March Madness has finally arrived! We had a pretty good run through the end of the regular season and into Conference Tournaments, but now the big dance is here. Time to lock in some college basketball bets on DraftKings Sportsbook!
Here’s how I’m going to construct these articles during the NCAA Tournament. Rather than just give bets with unit size, I’m going to write up all the bets/leans I’m considering. That way you get more content and insight on more games. But with that said, please be careful. These aren’t all games that I’ll ultimately bet on.
For my official plays, I’ll continue posting the play to Twitter, but will loop you back to these articles for the analysis.
Everything below is what jumps out to me in the futures market. Let’s crush this tournament!
I’ve been high on Arizona for much of the season like many others have, but they’ve continued to show me a lot of improvement. They were extremely impressive in the PAC-12 Championship game, and that was ever without one of their starters. I hope to see Kerr Kriisa back for Arizona when we get to the second weekend of the tournament, but the Wildcats shouldn’t need him in their first two games to advance.
Arizona feels like just about as safe a bet to win its first two games as anyone in the tournament, and is priced at -500. So by betting them to the Elite 8, I feel like we’re getting ahead of things and playing a -140 moneyline against a team they’ll wind up being a massive favorite against — maybe Illinois or Houston, but both could even get upset in the first round with tough No. 12 and No. 13 seeds there.
From there we probably see ‘Zona in a tough game against either Villanova or Tennessee. Two very good teams, but games the Wildcats will be solid favorites in. Personally I have a future on ‘Nova to make the Final Four so this works out nicely for me. But either way, once we hopefully get to that game, we can make the decision on if it’s worth hedging or letting it ride.
Ultimately, I have a Wildcats vs. Wildcats championship game against Kentucky. So I think playing Arizona to win it all has some value, particularly with Gonzaga on the other side of the bracket.
I’ve been saying for the last couple months that I feel Kentucky has the potential to be the best team in the country, and also the most “matchup proof.” What I mean by that is that no matter the draw for this team, they matchup well with everyone. The group of veteran and talented guards mixed with the National Player of the Year in the paint can be lethal, particularly in this tournament. While Arizona has opened my eyes to being on Kentucky’s level, those teams are on opposite sides of the bracket. I’m hoping we see Kentucky draw the ‘Zags in the Final Four, because I’ll be taking those points with the Wildcats.
But in terms of the East region, I feel Kentucky got a nice draw. UCLA probably scares me the most, and that matchup wouldn’t be until the Elite 8 (with Kentucky as a solid favorite). Baylor is by far the weakest of the No. 1 seeds, which reflects in the odds. Not only do they have a tough draw with UCLA, but the Bears are also down a couple of key players.
Like Arizona, I don’t think Kentucky has any shot of losing on the first weekend. So betting them even money to the Elite 8 essentially comes down to the moneyline in the Sweet 16 for me. I like the draw here, with Purdue as the No. 3 seed in the bottom of the East. I’m down on the Big Ten, and I’m down on a Purdue team that has all the talent to win it all, but just can’t put it together. The Boilermakers haven’t covered in their last 10 games, and I don’t think they will if they fade the Wildcats — which is no given. Purdue could easily drop a tough second round game over the weekend.
The Midwest is the most open region in my mind for a long shot to get through. Maybe we should eat the chalk with Kansas, which overcame a sluggish finish to the regular season to win the Big 12 title game. But I feel Iowa is playing just as well right now, and would have a real shot to advance in what seems like a likely Sweet 16 game between the two.
If we’re putting the Hawkeyes through in that game, you might as well have some coin on them to win the region. Auburn is not on top of its game right now, and Wisconsin is an extremely weak 3-seed — many are calling for Colgate to upset the Badgers in the first round.
As you’ll see below, I think we could see some madness in the bottom of the Midwest bracket.
Like I said, Auburn and Wisco are very weak right now for their seeding. I know LSU fired their coach, so everyone is overlooking them right now, but this squad still has the talent to win games.
LSU is one of my favorite bets in the first round of the tournament, and no matter who wins between Wisco and Colgate, I’ll be on them again. The +150 price tag to reach the Sweet 16 stands out when you breakdown the path for the Tigers.
Next up on deck would likely be an SEC foe in Auburn. Not a game LSU will be intimidated by at all, and catching Auburn at a good time. I’m not totally convinced LSU breaks through, but if we’re right about the Sweet 16, holding a small +500 ticket to win in the next round is probably worth owing.
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All views expressed are my own. I am an employee of DraftKings and am ineligible to play in public contests.
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