We are now eight days away from Selection Sunday. With 68 teams scrambling to become national champions, conference rights are also at stake.
With this in mind, FanDuel currently has a “Conference of National Champion” special where you can bet on which conference the national champions will come from.
The ACC comes on 1.10. in, but it was a bad year in the conference. If there’s a national title contender outside of the ACC, it’s Duke. You can get better odds by taking Duke to win the national title at 13/1 on FanDuel.
The Big Ten has not won a national title since 2000. While I’d love to see my Michigan Wolverines end this drought, they’ve struggled all season to put up two straight good performances, making it difficult to pull together the six it would take for the national title to win.
The guard game is crucial in March and Purdue have one of the most explosive backcourt players in the country in Jaden Ivey. But the Boilermakers also rank 100th in Adjusted Defense Efficiency, well above the typical threshold of a national champion.
The Big Ten also have Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin that could make runs with the right draw. The odds of a Big Ten team winning the national title are 15/2.
The Pac-12 has a solid value at 11/2. Arizona is one of my favorites to cut the nets this year, while USC and UCLA both made the Elite Eight last season and are poised to make another run.
The Big 12 comes in at +390 and has Baylor, Kansas, and Texas Tech as top contenders. However, Baylor lost forward Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua for the season with a knee injury and guard LJ Cryer is still out with a foot injury. Without those two, Baylor’s title chances would plummet.
The WCC sits at 7/2 but, like the ACC, has only one national title contender. You can get slightly better odds by taking Gonzaga to win the national title at 4/1 at BetMGM.
Gonzaga is still the betting favorite to win it all. However, along with Arizona, my other two favorite national title picks are in the SEC.
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Kentucky could have the national player of the year in forward Oscar Tshiebwe. The junior averages 16.9 points, 15.3 rebounds, 1.8 steals and 1.5 blocks while shooting 59 percent from the field. Kentucky has two capable point guards, TyTy Washington and Sahvir Wheeler.
The Wildcats typically played their best basketball in March during the John Calipari era. That’s usually because the list is lined with newcomers who need time to gel. This season, however, Washington is the only freshman from Kentucky to average more than 10 minutes per game. Tshiebwe, Grady, Wheeler, Keion Brooks, Davion Mintz and Jacob Toppin form an experienced group of juniors and seniors.
Bruce Pearl led Auburn to the Final Four in 2019, but he has more talent in this year’s team. Forward Jabari Smith could be the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft. The standout freshman averages 16.9 points and 6.9 rebounds while shooting 42.5 percent from 3.
Fellow frontcourt Walker Kessler leads the nation at 4.6 blocks per game. Its rim protection has made Auburn the top shot blocker team in the country.
Kentucky and Auburn both rank in the top 25 for adjusted offensive and defensive efficiency. Kentucky comes in at 8/1 to win the national championship at BetMGM and Auburn is 14/1 at FanDuel.
While those two would be enough for me to take the SEC for the special, they’re not the only contenders for the conference. Tennessee, Alabama, and Arkansas are all capable of making deep runs.
Since there are five competitors – with a few long shots – I would go with the SEC for the FanDuel special. While betting on the favorite isn’t always sexy, at +340 it’s still good value.
https://nypost.com/2022/03/05/ride-with-the-sec-in-march-madness-conference-prop/ Ride with the SEC in March Madness Conference Prop