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My 2021 NCAA tournament future value bets


During the months preceding Sunday’s bracket announcement, much of the NCAA tournament futures analysis centered on how good Gonzaga and Baylor were, but how unsatisfying such low odds (in the ballpark of 3-1) were to make a play so far in advance.  

Well, that was January and February, not March 14. The futures market for the national champion has shifted from sifting through a multitude of possibilities months out to looking at the team with the best chance to rip off six straight wins.

Just days before the opening tip of the tournament, the Zags are + 275 and the Bears + 350, with Michigan and Illinois + 600, according to BetMGM. 

Sure, one school of thought says it is more profitable to do rollover moneyline plays than to buy a national championship ticket. That doesn’t work well for many bettors, since a hefty bankroll is needed at the beginning when the No. 1 seeds are such big favorites to establish any profit to press. And rolling over the moneyline requires time and effort those who don’t consider themselves professional gamblers might not possess.

Based on establishing value over the course of the tournament, the ticket for any of the top seeds to win it all at the start should be seen as one with a convenience tax built into the price. It doesn’t necessarily have to be monetary for some bettors to find the value they are looking for. 

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