2023 NCAA Tournament second week best bets

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Alabama is a best bet at the NCAA tournament
FILE – Alabama forward Brandon Miller (24) fires off a shot with Arkansas guard Nick Smith Jr. (3) and guard Davonte Davis (4) defending during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 25, 2023, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Miller was selected to the Associated Press All-America first team in results released Tuesday, March 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt, File)

The NCAA tournament has reached its second week after an eventful opening weekend that saw multiple upsets and no perfect brackets remaining in ESPN’s bracket challenge.

However, we hit on a few of our early-round bets like Furman and Penn State’s first-round victories, San Diego State’s march into the Sweet Sixteen, and Florida Atlantic’s win over Memphis.

We’ll try to keep the good times rolling with some early looks at our favorite futures bets for the remainder of the tournament. 

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NCAA Tournament Futures Best Bets

Tennessee to make the Final Four (+160)

With Purdue getting knocked out in the first round of the NCAA tournament, avenues for chaos opened up in the East Region. The East Region also happens to have the weakest second and third seeds in Marquette and Kansas State, so that opens up a great opportunity for Tennessee, after their 65-52 win over Duke where they just physically dominated the Blue Devils. 

I think Tennessee is likely the most talented team left in the East Region and I don’t really like any of the teams they’d have to play too much, so sign me up to back the Volunteers. 


Texas to make the Final Four (+400)

Yes, Texas had to struggle a bit to overcome Penn State in the second round, but this is as much a bet on Texas as it is against Houston. Houston Handled Auburn easily in an 81-64 second-round win, but they are advancing into the tournament banged up. Leading scorer Marcus Sasser was listed as 60% by head coach Kelvin Sampson heading into Saturday’s game, and while he was able to play, it’s not a sure thing that he’ll be 100% at any point for the rest of the tournament. 

Texas also has a guard who can match him in Marcus Carr, so if Sasser isn’t firing on all cylinders, the Cougars will be in for a battle against the Longhorns. At these odds, it’s worth taking a shot. 


Texas is an NCAA tournament best bet
Texas celebrates their Big 12 championship win before heading to the NCAA tournament (Wikimedia commons)

UCONN to make the Final Four (+400)

We bet this at the start of the tournament at +400 odds, but we still think this is worth a bet for you.

UCONN came into the NCAA tournament horribly under-seeded. They rank fourth in the country in KenPom’s rankings. That’s fourth overall in the ENTIRE COUNTRY, but they were given a 4-seed in the tournament. 17 of the past 20 NCAA tournament champions ranked in KenPom’s top six prior to the start of the tournament, so your best bet for a winner appears to be to choose from that grouping. That includes UCONN. 

The Huskies are an incredibly deep team that has the 6th-ranked adjusted offense and 19th-ranked adjusted defense. They struggled right before the New Year, even falling out of the Top 25, but they finished the season on a really good run and if they can take care of the ball, they can be a real threat to win the whole thing. 

They overcome a tough second-round matchup with St. Mary’s and now will get to face Arkansas after they upset number-one seed Kansas. If they advance beyond that, they’d likely face a UCLA team that didn’t come into the NCAA tournament at 100%, which could give the Huskies a leg up in the Elite Eight. 


Alabama to win the NCAA Tournament (+380)

Alabama came into the tournament as the top team in the nation and has won each of their first two games by 21 or more points while watching two number-one seeds get knocked out. The number two seed in their own region, Arizona, was eliminated by Princeton and the Crimson Tide have a Sweet 16 game against a San Diego State team that barely escaped the first round. 

I think Alabama stands an even better bet to make the Final Four than they did when the tournament began that game would be against the East Region winner. Considering we just covered above how we’re not infatuated with the East Region, that means we should feel comfortable with Alabama making the championship game. 

What that means is that these +380 odds are essentially +380 in the NCAA Championship. If Alabama were to get there, you would never come close to sniffing those kinds of odds. 

For more NCAA tournament basketball coverage, visit amNY Sports

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