College Madness Betting

Duke, Michigan State Early 2018 March Madness Favorites

With most of the top talent heading to the NBA after a year of college hoops, it’s tough for teams to remain dominant year after year, but one team has managed to stay in the headlines for the past two decades: the Duke Blue Devils. Mike Krzyzewski has built something special in Durham, leading Duke to five national championships (1991, 1992, 2001, 2010 and 2015) since taking over the program in 1980. They didn’t win it all last year, but the Blue Devils are on top of the March Madness futures market at +650 to win the 2018 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.

They’ve got some company. At press time, Duke is joined at +650 by the Michigan State Spartans, another well-established force in college basketball. Tom Izzo’s crew have only won the Tournament once, back in 2000, but the Spartans have been to the Final Four seven times since Izzo was named head coach in 1995. Will Michigan State beat the NCAA basketball odds this year? Or does Duke have what it takes to climb that ladder once again and cut down the nets for a sixth time?


The Cabinet of Dr. Calipari

If it were just down to these two teams, Duke would have to be considered the leading contender. Krzyzewski has assembled yet another epic recruiting class for 2017, including three five-star prospects in center Wendell Carter, point guard Trevon Duval and shooting guard Gary Trent. They’ll add to a team that returns guard Grayson Allen (19.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, 4.7 assists per 40 minutes) for his senior year. It’s about as good as it gets in college hoops.

Izzo’s no slouch when it comes to recruiting, but there’s only one five-star recruit on his way to East Lansing: power forward Jaren Jackson Jr., whose father played in the NBA and won a chip with the San Antonio Spurs in 1999. Not to worry, though; guard Miles Bridges (21.1 points, 10.4 rebounds per 40 minutes) is coming back for his sophomore year, and that makes MSU the top contender to win the Big Ten at the very least.

As it turns out, there are nearly 350 other teams in Division I, so there are plenty more online betting options besides Duke and Michigan State. The most compelling of the bunch might be the Kentucky Wildcats at +900. Nobody’s had a better offseason than John Calipari, who brings not one, not two, but six five-star recruits to Lexington this year. The master of the one-and-done is making hay while the sun shines – the NBA is looking at changes to draft eligibility rules, so Calipari might not get to weave his magic much longer.


*Odds as of June 13, 2017