The 2019-20 NCAA basketball season is in full swing with important conference games gracing the schedule on a nightly basis. Even though there is still some time left before the postseason arrives, it's never too early to discuss March Madness betting and futures wagers based around college hoops since so many bettors are interested in this kind of action long before the NCAA Tournament arrives.
We're here to detail the available betting markets for 2020 March Madness predictions and promote several of the best online betting sites for college basketball betting in the process.
March Madness Predictions: Odds to Win NCAA basketball Championship 2020
The most common times throughout the year for college basketball futures bets on a national champion are before the season begins and right after the bracket is announced. And when you think about it, that seems perfectly logical.
Little is known about these teams prior to the regular season so you're betting a bit blind, but so are oddsmakers and the payouts are largest at that point. On Selection Sunday, the setup of the NCAA Tournament bracket lays the foundation for each program's potential road to the Final Four and national championship, so it also makes perfect sense for bettors to wait for its release.
One thing to keep in mind is that most NJ betting sites keep the market for NCAA national championship betting open throughout the season with constantly updating odds, and the same can be said for operators in Pennsylvania as well. Wagering on these markets after the start of the season but before the postseason allows you to get a feel for the teams while maintaining more betting value than you get by waiting.
Below, we'll list the odds-on favorites to cut down the nets in Atlanta and even make some very early suggestions for NCAA basketball national championship picks. (writing and odds as of 1/22/20)
- Louisville (+1100): The Cardinals entered the season with the eighth-lowest odds to win the title and now currently are at or near the top of the list. Our preseason pick to win the ACC is tied atop the conference and already has tip-five wins over Duke and Michigan. Louisville's +1100 line at Fox Bet is the largest payout you're going to get the way things currently stand, so an investment in a team that could be the best in the ACC may not be an awful idea.
- Michigan State (+1600): The Spartans may be an example that NCAAB preseason rankings mean nothing since they were No. 1 before the schedule kicked off and have slipped out of the top 10. This pick is made easier because of the value, which is severely enhanced at +1600 from where the odds began around +750. Consider that this is still the best all-around team in the Big Ten and Tom Izzo's track record in the tournament, though this group still has more to prove.
- Oregon (+1800): This is a little bit of an off-the-wall prediction, but making you think beyond the same old names (Duke, Kentucky, Kansas, etc.) is exactly what we're going for. The Ducks might be one of those top-15 teams you know nothing about, but oddsmakers agree that this is among the most likely teams at this point to win the national title. The +1800 odds at Fox Bet are the most generous out there right now for a veteran team with multiple impressive wins on already, including on a neutral court.
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March Madness 2020 Predictions: Which Teams Will Earn a No. 1 Seed?
While some wagers centered around March Madness picks can wait until the bracket is released, others are only relevant beforehand. Take the fairly popular market based on No. 1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament for example, which is available on sites like FanDuel Sportsbook, DraftKings, and SugarHouse among others.
This is a great alternative to our above section because picking which team will win the entire tournament is extremely difficult to do. Markets like these present other ways to make March Madness predictions with a better chance of actually cashing in. The payouts may not be quite as fruitful, but the odds can still be generous with your chances of winning much improved.
One prevailing betting strategy for March Madness needs to include one, and possibly two teams in the Final Four, so it should matter to bettors which programs wind up in these spots. It's also worth noting that 10 of the last 13 winners were No. 1 seeds and a team seeded on the top line has reached the final game in 14 of the last 20 tournaments.
Let's look at some of the candidates in the running for one of those four No. 1 seeds, which will undoubtedly be made up of teams that are currently among the highest-ranked in college basketball. All lines can be accessed after signing up with a DraftKings Sportsbook promo code in a number of states:
- Gonzaga (-335): There isn't much value here, but it's slam-dunk barring something unforeseen. The Zags are kings of the WCC where there isn't much competition for them. Because of some strong non-conference wins vs. Oregon, Washington, and Arizona, a regular-season and league tournament win will be enough for a No. 1 seed. Definitely do some line shopping for more favorable odds, which do still exist.
- Baylor (+125): The Big 12 is a pretty deep conference with several other ranked teams and stiff competition up and down the league. Baylor already won at Kansas and leads the conference standings, giving it an inside track at the regular-season title. Securing that plus a decent league tournament run should give it a top-line seeding in March.
- Louisville (+200): In our view, Louisville is one of the two best teams in a top-heavy ACC, which at the time of this writing is the only conference in America with three teams ranked in the top 10. Since the Cardinals lost to Florida State at home, the Seminoles could be the ones in line for a No. 1 seed with a win in the rematch on February 24, but we'll stick with Louisville for now. This team always has a shot to win the ACC tournament, but a top seed is more likely with a regular-season title and a decent showing in the postseason.
- Kansas (+200): We've seen plenty of occasions where conferences wind up with multiple No. 1 seeds and even though it's normally the ACC, this time it could be the Big 12. It's extremely difficult to win both the regular-season title and the conference tournament in this league, which means if Baylor wins one and Kansas the other, don't be surprised to see them both on the top line. This also depends on some other schools vying for the spot as well, of course, but Kansas is still well-positioned for a top seed, even behind Baylor in its own league.
Below are some other teams that are definitely in the running to secure a spot on the top line and could be worth a look if making number one seed predictions:
- San Diego State (+150)
- Oregon (+150)
- Florida State (+200)
- Michigan State (+225)
- Duke (+225)
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Final Four Predictions 2020: Who Will Be Left Standing In Atlanta?
Another widely-available college basketball futures betting market involves which teams will win their respective regionals during the NCAA tournament.
This is another market that you are betting blind until the bracket is released, which can be tough. But what makes this difficult is the same thing that could provide extra value down the road. There's always that chance you select a team to reach the final four and they wind up in a comparatively easy region, or maybe get placed in a region where other top seeds are eliminated and a path is created.
2020 Final Four Picks: Eight Teams That Can Win Its Region During March Madness
Below is a list of teams to consider when making 2020 Final Four predictions for which teams will wind up in Atlanta during the first week of April. These odds are available after signing up with a SugarHouse Sportsbook promo code and earning a deposit bonus worth up to $250, which can be used on NCAA basketball picks!
- Louisville (+175): This team may not get a No. 1 seed or win the entire tournament, but it can still reach the 2020 Final Four regardless. Louisville has the recipe for a deep run with good coaching, big-game experience, at least one star player (Jordan Nwora) and a strong supporting cast. We'll take +175 for a group that will have a top-two seed when March Madness predictions time rolls around.
- Kansas (+125): Despite having lost to Baylor already, this line suggests that oddsmakers see the Jayhawks as a stronger team on a neutral court. This fanbase will travel far and wide to make any tournament matchup a practical home game, and this Big 12 giant is a yearly candidate to cut down the nets after winning its region.
- Gonzaga (+125): Other than choosing the Zags to win the whole thing, this is the only way you get this team at plus-money. This will come down to bracket matchups, but you could do much worse than selecting the Bulldogs to win their region. Gonzaga won its region and went tot he final in 2017 after securing its third No. 1 seed in program history.
- Baylor (+275): If we are discussing Baylor as a potential No. 1 seed (a No. 2 if not), then we should definitely be considering them winning a region at +275. One of the nation's elite defenses can beat anyone and a 15-game win streak that began in early November proves that.
- Oregon (+300): The Pac-12 is hard to predict, so it wouldn't be surprising if Oregon cut through the conference or if they scuffled down the stretch for whatever reason. What we do know is that the Ducks area top-20 three-point shooting team and also play pretty stellar defense. Regardless of eventual seeding, this is a program that can tear your bracket apart if you aren't paying attention to west-coast teams.
- Michigan State (+200): According to oddsmakers, Sparty has a pretty decent chance at winning a region at +200. Michigan State leads a conference with the most ranked teams of any other at the time of this writing, so you know it has the talent, beginning with a go-to weapon in senior guard Cassius Winston. With a track record like Tom Izzo's and a likely top-three seed, take a look in this direction.
- Butler (+700): The Big East has several outstanding teams including Butler and Villanova, but we're taking the Bulldogs because of the value here. Butler is most likely in the top four seed line with a star in Kamar Baldwin and one of the better defenses in the country, which goes a long way during March. This group has skidded of late and is a buy-low option at +700. It's worth noting that Seton Hall's odds are not legally available in the state of New Jersey, which is part of why they've been left out of consideration here.
- Dayton (+700): The Flyers are the premier team in the Atlantic 10 and a staple near the top of the college basketball rankings this season. This program has performed pretty well each time a challenge comes up on the schedule and is going to get a No. 2 seed or better in all likelihood. Led by the massive mismatch that is star forward Obi Toppin, Dayton is worth a look if you want what some would view as an NCAA bracket buster pick despite being a top-10 team.