As we start a new year, basketball fans have begun to divert their attention to March Madness, the annual competition that decides the NCAA national champion. Every year, the contest lives up to its name as the nation becomes gripped by the tournament.
Many basketball and non-basketball fans take part in bracketing competitions, trying to guess the outcome of each game and the whole tournament as accurately as possible. While not all betting strategies can be directly taken from professional basketball, those looking to take part in a March Madness bracket can learn from the techniques for betting on the NBA.
The Virginia Cavaliers won last year’s competition after they beat the Texas Tech Red Raiders in overtime. This was the first national championship win for the Cavaliers and was a hard-fought victory after pushing the final game into overtime for the first time in 11 years.
It is unlikely the Cavaliers will be able to pick up another title in 2020. The majority of Virginia’s key players, including Ty Jerome, De’Andre Hunter, and Kyle Guy all entered the NBA Draft after their victory.
Last year’s runner up from Lubbock, Texas, have also lost a lot of key talent, leaving both teams relying on freshman talent for this season.
With a few weeks before March Madness gets underway, there’s still a lot that could change. However, some clear favorites are emerging.
A current favorite among bookmakers are the Duke Blue Devils. They currently sit at the top of the Atlantic Coast Conference, with a 21-3 overall record, following a win against Florida State on Feb. 10 and also after they got past arch-rival North Carolina in overtime two days earlier. One of Duke’s top players is freshman Cassius Stanley, who helped Sierra Canyon of Chatsworth win the 2019 CIF Open Division state title.
Baylor University in Texas, which won the NCAA women’s national title just last season, also is a strong favorite. The Bears won their 21st straight game on Feb. 10 over Texas and were unbeaten in the Big 12 Conference. There’s also Gonzaga University out west, which has another outstanding team under head coach Mark Few.
Anyone looking to do well in their March Madness bracket will need to keep a close eye on the remaining games in the NCAA regular season. However, some clear favorites are emerging, some of whom are different from the teams that did well last season. While Baylor, Duke and Gonzaga are current favorites, the knockout nature of the tournament could easily result in their early departure from the competition.