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It's conference tournament week in college basketball! Let's get to some futures bets.

What I'm Looking For

The reality is that nearly every conference has numerous teams who are viable contenders to win the tournament. So how do you determine bets worth making? Here are a few factors I look for in my analysis.


I want to bet on teams who have shown some life coming into the tournament. Yes, it's always possible a team completely turns things around for a tournament run, but more often there are signs of the teams that are playing their best basketball coming in. These aren't necessarily the teams that have performed well all season. It may be that they've just put together a few good games.

Can win on both ends

To win a tournament you have to be able to ride out short periods of poor play. This could be a bad shooting half, a string of turnovers, or the other team getting hot and knocking down a bunch of shots. Because of this, I look to teams I believe can win with their offense or defense. That doesn't mean they're always strong on both ends, but I believe in their ability to step it up when they have to.

Have a good path to the semi-finals

By the time you get to the semi-finals, everyone is pretty good and probably playing well. I like to look for teams who have the clearest path to the semis. If they get there I have opportunities to hedge.

Based on those things, and watching these teams throughout the season, here are some futures that interest me. I've indicated if these are teams I've already bet or just teams I like.

This is the conference I know best. Of course, that doesn't mean I'll win more bets, but it does make me more confident in picking teams. You can listen to a full breakdown of the Big 10 tournament on YouTube or via podcast.

Indiana Hoosiers (+550, 0.5 unit bet)

Indiana has the highest upside of any team in the Big 10. They've had a bad habit of playing terribly in the 1st half lately, so that is a concern, but if they are focused and play well I believe they should be favored to win the tournament.

Michigan Wolverines (+1800, no bet yet)

Michigan is playing well going into the tournament. They also have what I consider to be one of the easiest paths to the semifinals of any team with a similar seed. They play Rutgers and then face Purdue. Purdue won't be easy, but they aren't playing great coming into this week.

Nebraska Cornhuskers (+25000, 0.1 unit bet)

This is a long shot in case you couldn't tell. Nebraska could get blown out, but they have the offensive firepower to hang in there against almost anyone. The challenge will be when they face strong defenses who can shut them down, but at these odds I'm willing to roll the dice.


  • Like: Michigan State, Iowa, Ohio State

  • Fade: Purdue, Northwestern, Wisconsin

This is a competitive conference at the top. It should be fun.

UConn (+210, no bet yet)

Obviously, I'm not the only one who likes the Huskies as they have the shortest odds to win the whole thing. I'm going to shop around to see if I can find a better price. If I can get +250 I'll make a half-unit wager. If not, I'll probably hold off.

Xavier (+550, 0.5 unit bet)

In my opinion, this is the best value on the board. Xavier can be explosive offensively and competent defensively. They also have Souley Boum. If you haven't seen this guy, he can be absolutely unstoppable. He's the kind of player who can win a tournament game almost single-handedly if needed.

Seton Hall (+5000, no bet)

I want to share what I believe to be the most viable longshot in each conference, and in the Big East that is Seton Hall. They are well-coached and they play hard. They've been competitive with the big boys in the conference at times. I won't bet on them because I don't think they can win, but if you want a flyer, I think this is your best bet.

Kansas is rightfully favored to win. They're one of the best teams in the country. However, I don't like betting a team at +240 when there are multiple other viable contenders, so here's what I like.

Baylor (+500, no bet)

Baylor doesn't fit one of my criteria--playing well at the end of the regular season. They largely limped to the finish, but they do have Keyonte George. What's more, they're playing Iowa State in their first game--one of the worst teams in the Big 12 down the stretch. I don't mind a shot on Baylor, but there's only one bet I'm making in this conference.

TCU (+750, 0.25 unit bet)

If you're interested in this, head over to DraftKings now to see if it's still available. Other books have TCU as low as +600. When Mike Miles and Eddie Lampkin Jr. are healthy they form a very formidable duo. This is a different team when both of those guys are playing. They start off with a very tough matchup against Kansas State, but if they get rolling I like this team to have a real shot to cut down some nets.

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