Everybody loves a good Cinderella story and the Lineups team has several long-shot odds picks to win this year’s NCAA Tournament. Gear up for March Madness and let’s see if we can pick a Cinderella story to go all the way!
Ohio State (+20000)
Ohio St was 19-11 this season, but they showed they can hang with the best teams. The Buckeyes defeated Seton Hall, Duke, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, and Michigan St this year, while falling to Purdue by 3 points. They own an elite offense and rank among the best in the nation in spot-up offense and the pick and roll. They are also solid in the paint and can post up when needed. As a team, they shot 5.5% better from the field than their opponent and 3.3% better from three.
They dropped games this year because of their shaky defense, but they can make a run if they execute their offense and get timely stops on defense. The interior defense wasn’t terrible, so they should hope to avoid good perimeter shooting teams. EJ Liddell is the star who can carry this team to a deep run. He’s averaging 19.6 PPG on an efficient 49/37/76 shooting split. Everything needs to go right, but Ohio St has the capability to win the tournament.
Author: Braxton Reynolds
No one in this year’s tournament shoots more threes than the Crimson Tide. Given the nature of March Madness and the fact that teams play 2 games in 3 days in the same building, if the Tide get hot in Viejas Arena this Friday and Sunday they could easily roll through the second round against a Texas Tech team that hasn’t shown an ability to generate consistent offense. If they make it to the Sweet 16 they’ll face Duke who, despite their brand value, is probably one of the more beatable 2 seeds in this year’s tournament, struggling to defend good guard play down the stretch.
Once to the elite 8, they’ll likely either face Arkansas or Gonzaga — two teams they’ve already beaten. Certainly, the well could run dry for the Crimson Tide as quickly as it fills up, but variance is the name of the game when you’re looking for a team that can go on a run and Alabama has it in spades.
Author: Patrick Monnin
South Dakota State (+60000)
They say defense wins championships, and that might be true on most occasions, but when it comes to the NCAA tournament, I prefer to ride with the offense. In the NCAA tournament, you rarely have proper time to actually prepare and scout opponents ahead of time. While this increases the variance of outcomes and leads to the classic cinderella stories that we often see, I also believe it gives an edge to good shooting teams. Instead of a meticulous tactical game, it becomes simply “who’s hotter.” The Jackrabbits are 19th in offensive rating in division one basketball at 111.9 and are second in all of NCAA in 3 point shooting percentage.
If the Jackrabbits continue to shoot 40+% from three, they can pile up upset and upset. Are the chances high? No. However, I do think the +60K odds are just enough for me to say it’s a longshot value. I will also be looking at South Dakota State University for game-pick upsets throughout the tourney.
Author: Matthew “Mr. Hopper” Amato
Iowa is going to be a popular sleeper pick for futures bets in the tournament, but for good reason – they’ve been as good as any team in the country over the past couple of months. Since February 10th, Iowa has an 11-2 record with four wins in four days in a loaded Big Ten tournament. KenPom has Iowa ranked as the second-most efficient offense in the country, and their defense has steadily improved to the point that they held Purdue – the third-rated offense on KenPom – to just 66 points and 42.4% shooting from the field in the Big Ten Championship. Keegan Murray, a first-team All-American, has been playing as well as anyone in the country.
It’s worth noting that Fran McCaffrey doesn’t have a stellar history in the tournament – he’s never made it past the Round of 32 with Iowa. However, the winner of the Providence-South Dakota State matchup should be fairly easy to beat (sorry, Matt), and Kansas is arguably the most vulnerable of the #1 seeds in the tournament. Plus, Dick Vitale picked Iowa to reach the championship game, and he’s a national treasure who should be cherished. Fading the public can be profitable, but let’s ride the wave of momentum Iowa is on with 30-1 championship odds.
Author: Jacob Wayne
The weakness for the Indiana Hoosiers all season has been guard play and everyone who is familiar with them and the Big Ten knows this to be fact. There is good news, though: Xavier Johnson, Trey Galloway, and Rob Phinesee have been playing terrific basketball. Johnson, in particular, has been phenomenal, averaging 18 points, seven assists, and five rebounds, and just shy of two assists in his past eight games. Interestingly enough, the Hoosiers have been without Galloway and Phinisee for double-digit games, but now that they are healthy, and that could spell trouble for the field.
Indiana’s frontcourt is one of the best in the nation with Race Thompson and Trayce Jackson-Davis at the power forward and center positions, respectively. There is even more good news for the Hoosiers: they are one of the hottest teams in the nation and just came back from a 17-point deficit against the Michigan Wolverines in the second half to win. Then, Indiana turned around and beat the Illinois Fighting Illini in their next game in the Big Ten Tournament. Unfortunately, the Hoosiers lost on a heave from near mid-court, but that should not completely derail this red hot squad.
Author: Andrew Norton
Virginia Tech (+15000)
The Virginia Tech Hokies have shown incredible talent throughout the regular season and finished their season, winning 13 of their last 15 games, including the ACC Championship title. They have taken down big names like UNC and Duke in the tournament, solidifying their potential to win over highly competitive teams. The team shoots 39.3% from beyond the three-point line, which is within the top five in the country. Players like Keve Aluma and Justyn Mutts will lead this team to impressive shots under the basket with averages of 53% from the field. The Hokies are a dominant team in the paint and have a significant long-range game, so the versatility of play will cause their opponents to make sacrifices on defense to guard the entirety of the court. They’re the 11th seed in the East region and will have a few run-ins with some of the toughest competitors in the tournament, but this team has the skill to pull off huge upset wins, just like they did in the ACC Tournament.
Author: Maggie Rivers