Florida First on Futures List

Scottie Wilbekin and the Florida Gators are considered the favorite to win the NCAA tournament next month, at least for this week.

Florida is the new favorite to win the NCAA tournament in March.

The SEC side picked up home wins over Mississippi and #25 Kentucky over the last seven days which – combined with some high-profile losses elsewhere in college basketball – was enough to secure the bookmakers’ top spot.

Odds of the Gators winning the tournament stand at 5/1.

This marks the first time this season that #7 Florida (20-3, 10-1 SEC) has been considered the favorite.

Billy Donovan’s side will look to continue its strong run – which includes 12 wins in 13 games – this weekend with a trip to Auburn (9-15, 3-8 SEC) on Saturday.

#1 Indiana (22-3, 10-2 Big Ten) is right behind the Gators with odds currently standing at 11/2.

The Hoosiers rebounded from last Thursday’s shock loss to Illinois with a decisive win over then-#10 Ohio State on Sunday and then an even more decisive win over Nebraska on Wednesday night.

The Bloomington side is currently edging out #8 Michigan State (21-4, 10-2 Big Ten) in the Big Ten standings by way of a 75-70 win back on Jan. 27. The two sides meet again in East Lansing next Tuesday, right in time for next week’s futures list. The Spartans are currently considered 12/1 to win the tournament, making the side seventh on the bookmakers’ list.

Ahead of that game, the Hoosiers will host Purdue (12-13, 5-7 Big Ten) this coming Saturday while the Spartans will travel to Nebraska (12-13, 3-9 Big Ten).

Three losses in four games has #4 Michigan (21-7, 8-4 Big Ten) reeling. Despite the Wolverines coming up short against Indiana, Wisconsin, and Michigan State (all on the road), bookmakers aren’t about to bail on the team just yet.

Odds of Michigan winning the tournament currently stand at 7/1, third on the futures list.

The Wolverines have a good shot at bouncing back this weekend; the side welcomes Penn State (8-15, 0-11 Big Ten) – a side still in search of its first conference win – to Ann Arbor on Sunday.

Losses to North Carolina State and Miami still appear to be foremost in the bookies’ minds as far as #2 Duke (22-2, 9-2 ACC) is concerned.

The Blue Devils had won five straight following that loss to the Hurricanes when this week’s futures list was released, but odds makers list the Durham side as 17/2 to win the tournament.

Wednesday night’s win over North Carolina gives Duke some bragging rights but it will take an additional win on the road in Maryland (17-7, 5-6 ACC) to further impress the bookmakers.

The futures top five is rounded out by this season’s surprise package, #3 Miami (20-3, 11-0 ACC). Odds of the Hurricanes winning the tournament currently stand at 9/1.

Unbeaten in conference play, Miami continued its success with wins over Boston College and North Carolina last week, to advance to #3 in the AP poll and #5 on the bookies’ list. The side scored a win at Florida State on Wednesday night to further stake a claim to being the best team in college basketball. A win over Clemson (12-11, 4-7 ACC) on Sunday would go even further to impressing everybody.

Elsewhere, #25 Kentucky (17-7, 8-3 SEC) continues to slip down the list. Two weeks ago the Wildcats were considered 25/1 to win the title. Now the side from Lexington is considered 40/1, and that’s before you factor in Nerlen Noel’s season-ending injury.

North Carolina (16-8, 6-5 ACC) is another high-profile casualty. The inconsistent Tar Heels’ odds dropped to 60/1 (down from 40/1 two weeks ago) and Wednesday night’s loss to Duke isn’t about to help matter.

#14 Kansas (20-4, 8-3 Big 12) snapped a three-game losing skid on Monday with a win over instate rivals, #10 Kansas State (19-5, 8-3 Big 12). That win will have prevented the Jayhawks from slumping even further down the futures list, where the team currently resides in eighth-place at 14/1.

#11 Butler (20-5, 7-3 A 10) is a team trending upwards. At least, it was until Wednesday’s upset loss to Charlotte. Odds of the Bulldogs winning the tournament currently stand at 33/1, shortened from 50/1 two weeks ago.

#15 Georgetown (18-4, 8-3 Big East) is also trending upwards. With six straight wins – including three over opponents ranked in the AP top 25 – the Hoyas have moved into a virtual tie with #6 Syracuse (20-4, 8-3 Big East) atop the Big East. Bookmakers have slashed the team’s odds from 75/1 to 50/1. Wins over Cincinnati and DePaul this week would see those odds drop further.

 

Odds to Win NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament

Florida 5/1

Indiana 11/2

Michigan 7/1

Duke 17/2

Miami (FL) 9/1

Louisville 10/1

Michigan State 12/1

Kansas 14/1

Arizona 16/1

Gonzaga 18/1

Syracuse 20/1

Ohio State 28/1

Butler 33/1

North Carolina State 35/1

Pittsburgh 35/1

Kentucky 40/1

Cincinnati 50/1

Creighton 50/1

Georgetown 50/1

Minnesota 50/1

New Mexico 50/1

UCLA 50/1

UNLV 50/1

VCU 50/1

Wisconsin 50/1

All odds supplied by Bovada.

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