March Madness Future Best Bets: Houston, UConn, Marquette, Creighton, and More!

Vaughn Dalzell shares his March Madness Futures cards on the Sweet 16, Elite 8, Final Four, and Champion, plus which teams are worth some longshot sprinkles.

NCAA Champion:

1u: Houston Cougars (+700)

The full breakdown can be found here, but I picked Houston to win it all almost a month ago and love their draw in the South. The No. 2-5 seeds are Marquette, Kentucky, Duke, and Wisconsin.

By just looking at the names on the chest of the jerseys, this path seems difficult, but all four have serious issues that Houston can expose through defense. If injuries don't catch up to Houston, then the Cougars should be Final Four bound.

Final Four/Region Winners:

1u: South Region Winner: Houston Cougars (+140)
1u: East Region Winner: UConn Huskies (+110)
1u: East Region Winner: Iowa State Cyclones (+550)

Before the tournament, I gave out tickets for UConn (+110) and Iowa State (+550) to make the Final Four, so I was less than thrilled to see them both in the East Region. Nonetheless, UConn, Iowa State, or Illinois (+800) make it out of the region of death.

Sweet 16 and Elite 8 Bets:

1u: Arizona to miss the Elite 8 (-128)
1u: Houston to make the Elite 8 (-134)
1u: Marquette to miss the Sweet 16 (+116)
1u: Creighton to miss the Sweet 16 (+156)

Florida (+260) and Colorado (+320) have a beautiful draw to make a run to the Sweet 16. Whoever wins that matchup will take on the winner of Western Kentucky (+2800) or Marquette (-142). There has been a No. 15 upset of a No. 2 in two straight years and I'd say Marquette is the most likely No. 2 seed to exit within the first two rounds with Arizona (-325) as a close second.

Speaking of Arizona, the Wildcats aren't loved by the sharps in the round of 64 ATS versus Long Beach State as a -20.5 favorite, but the following round against Nevada or Dayton will be a challenge to win outright. Dayton (+750) and Nevada (+470) are good bets to advance to the Sweet 16, or you can get a little of both by taking Arizona to miss the Sweet 16 at +250 odds or to miss the Elite 8 at -128 odds.

Creighton (-190) will face Akron (+2000), who I love to cover the +12.5 in the round of 64, then the winner of South Carolina (+450) and Oregon (+470) in the round of 32. All three of those matchups can draw issues for a Blue Jays squad that ranks bottom 25 in the country when it comes to offensive rebounding percentage and defensive turnover percentage. Creighton is a fade for me.

Nobody rebounds or plays defense quite like the Houston Cougars. While they are dealing with injuries on the bench, a path routed with Longwood in the round of 64, then Texas A&M or Nebraska in the round of 32, before either Duke, Wisconsin, James Madison, or Vermont in the Sweet 16.

Houston shouldn't sweat much until the Sweet 16 game and as one of the few teams favored to make the Elite 8, I will continue to buy stock on Kelvin Sampson's team. Only Houston (-134), Purdue (-142), and UConn (-160) are favored to make the Elite 8.

No. 5 Seeds or Lower to Make the Final Four

Since 2013, at least one team slated as a No. 5 seed or lower has made the Final Four each year. This season, some of my favorite contenders for keeping that trend alive are Florida (+1600), Texas Tech (+1800), South Carolina (+4000), Oregon (+5000), and Dayton (+5500).

I somehow have Dayton in the Final Four of my bracket and Florida in the Elite 8, so I sprinkled both the Flyers and Gators.

Double-Digit Seeds in the Sweet 16

A double-digit seed has advanced to the Sweet 16 in 15 straight tournaments. Some double-digit seeds worth considering this year are Oregon (+470), Nevada (+470), Drake (+640), Akron (+2000), and Western Kentucky (+2800).

Most people will take James Madison (+680), McNeese State (+710), Vermont (+1040), and Samford (+1120), while those choices aren't terrible, they are awfully public and seem too obvious. I sprinkled Akron (+2000) and Drake (+640), plus I'll likely play the winners of Oregon/South Carolina and Dayton/Nevada as ML dogs in the round of 32.

CBB Futures In My Pocket:

1u: Houston to win the National Championship (+700)
1u: Houston to make the Final Four (+140)
1u: UConn to make the Final Four (+110)
1u: Iowa State to make the Final Four (+550)
1u: Houston to make the Elite 8 (-128)
1u: Arizona to miss the Elite 8 (-132)
1u: Marquette to miss the Sweet 16 (+116)
1u: Creighton to miss the Sweet 16 (+156)

Sprinkles: Dayton Final Four (+5500), Florida Final Four (+1600), Akron Sweet 16 (+2000), Drake Sweet 16 (+640)

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