Sun 19/02/2017 - 05:54 EST

NCAA Bracket 2017: Top 16 Seeds Betting Review

NCAA Bracket 2017: Top 16 Seeds Betting Review

NCAA Tournament Top 16 Seeds 2017

The 2017 NCAA Tournament is nearly upon us and with the selection committee giving the world an inside look at who the Top 16 seeds are currently, handicapping futures odds for which program will cut down the nets can begin in earnest. There are plenty of top tier schools that are more than capable of going the distance, so let's break down the strengths and weaknesses of the current Top 16 seeds with odds taken from Bodog

Villanova (+1100)

The defending National Champions will likely be a #1 seed this year as they try to defend their crown. The Wildcats did lose some experience on their roster from a year ago, but guys like Kris Jenkins, Josh Hart, and Mikal Bridges have all the talent in the world and leadership qualities to make up for those losses.

Villanova's weakness this year might be that they aren't the highest scoring team around (72.8 points/game) and running into an offensive juggernaut like UCLA for example could be their undoing. For Villanova to repeat as champs it will have to be on the back of their defence.

Kansas (+850)

Kansas has been the class of the Big 12 for the better part of this century and 2017 is no different. The Jayhawks have got it all offensively and the confidence they've always got as a program come tournament time will help propel them far. Winning a very deep Big 12 conference more often than not will definitely breed those high levels of swagger.

The Jayhawks don't have any glaring weaknesses in their game, but they can struggle defensively for long periods of time and if they aren't matching those points offensively it's tough. Kansas has dug out of a few precarious deficits already this year but they might not be so lucky in the tournament if one of their games plays out in that fashion. 

Baylor (+2800)

Baylor is a strong defensive team -they allow only 62.6 points/game - that has been battle-tested plenty going through a daunting Big 12 season. They have all the tools to make a deep run in the tournament if they can maintain their composure on both ends for the full 40 minutes.

All of Baylor's losses to date have largely been because things go south for them scoring the basketball. With only 72.6 points/game scored on average they aren't the best offensive team in this tournament by any means and one bad shooting day against a quality foe will likely end their 2017 tournament. 

Gonzaga (+700)

Gonzaga could enter the Tournament with an undefeated record, thanks to their 3rd best FG% (51.6%) in the country and the depth of experience they've got littered throughout their roster. They also rank 2nd in the country in defensive FG% (37.1) and that's often a lethal combination.

Arguments against Gonzaga revolve around the lack of true competition they face in the WCC. It's a very weak conference and there is no doubt that the Bulldogs would have a loss or two if they were in a Power 5 conference. They have beaten Florida and Arizona - two other teams on this list - so it remains to be seen just how far Gonzaga can go. 

Results / FixturesNCAAB

UNC (+1200)

North Carolina might be the best team based on pure talent in the entire field. The Tar Heels lead the country in rebounding margin (+12.3) and getting those 2nd chance opportunities and limiting their opponents in the same regard is a good formula for advancing deep into the NCAA Tournament.

This team does have it's issues away from home though and while tournament games are all at neutral sites, if the Tar Heels get in a slump offensively they have a tough time locking things down with their defense to remain within strinking distance of good clubs. 

FSU (+1800)

Overall, Florida State is a well-rounded basketball team but they've started to show some knocks in their armor the last month or so. Offensively they can score with the best of them (84.3/game), but they've been shredded defensively by some mediocre clubs in the ACC. 

The Seminoles have definnitely held their own in the very tough conference they are in, but they still rely too heavily on one or two of their top guys. When push comes to shove in crunch time, don't be surprised to see the Seminoles fold under the pressure.

Louisville (+1000)

Rick Pitino Louisville teams are always among the league leaders defensively and 2017 is no different. The Cardinals build their success upon strong defensive pressure, creating turnovers, and getting out in transition to score easy buckets. They rank 9th in the country in defensive FG% (38.7%) and will use their speed and chaotic style to frustrate and confuse numerous opponents.

As far as weaknesses go, the Cardinals are solid offensively but are an abysmal free throw shooting team overall (69%). Knocking down FT's to close the game out is not a spot Louisville wants to particularly be in and it could very well cost them a trip to the Final Four this year. 

Oregon (+1200)

Oregon may not get the national publicity they derseve being a lesser-known basketball school on the West Coast, but this team has all the tools to cut down the nets this year. They are a veteran team that lost in the Elite Eight a year ago and would love to take the next step. The Ducks get the job done on both ends of the floor, but they've got one of the best defences in the country (62.3 points allowed/game).

Teams that have beaten Oregon this year have done so by executing at a high officiency rate offensively and done enough to keep the Ducks sometimes-streaky offense at bay. 

Arizona (+1200)

Arizona is another Pac-12 team that is poised to make a deep run and this program has been in this position multiple times before. The Wildcats aren't as statiscally great on offence or defence as their Pac-12 counterparts on this list are (Oregon, UCLA), but depth and experience is where they hold an edge.

What could be Arizona's downfall in the tournament is their inability to score consistently in half-court sets when the pressure starts to increase. They also have shown a lack of killer instinct this year in making games against lesser compitition closer than they needed to be and a slip up like that in the NCAA Tournament will have you eliminated in the middle to late rounds.

Virginia (+1800)

Like every year Virginia enters March as a high tournament seed, it's their defensive play that has earned them that spot. The Cavaliers are one of the best overall defensive units in the country and love to play a slow, methodical pace to keep games in the 60's tops.

But just like every other year Virginia has failed to go all the way, it will be their poor offensive skills that holds this team back once again in 2017. They rely way too much on their defence's ability to suffocate their opponent that when it doesn't happen, Virginia doesn't have the offensive firepower to keep up.

Florida (+2200)

The Gators may currently be one of the favorites to cut down the nets in early April, but a season-ending knee injury to John Egbunu has likely derailed those dreams. Egbunu was Mr. Everything for Florida this year and his absence hurts the Gators tremendously on both ends of the floor. Florida may be able to get through a round or two in the tournament, but of the 16 teams on this list, they'd be a strong pick to be the school that gets sent home first.

Kentucky (+1000)

Kentucky is a program that will always garner plenty of action from bettors this time of year and 2017 will be no different. The Wildcats are a highly talented squad that compete with anyone and everyone in this league, but like past incarnations of Kentucky, lack of experience and composure always has to be a concern. Head Coach John Calipari is known as the King of the "one-and-dones" in college basketball and while all his freshman and sophomores this year are very skilled, it's tough to believe they've got the depth and smarts to go all the way. 

Butler (+7500)

Butler is another team that may look good to some on paper, but like Florida, they just don't have the overall talent or depth to consistently compete with the top level teams on this list. Only two guys average double digit points per game and while defence may be the Bulldogs calling card, there is no question that once they face a top-level offensive squad, it will likely be the end of Butler's 2017 campaign. 

West Virginia (+2000)

Bob Huggins is one of the better college basketball coaches in the country and his franctic blitz, full-court pressure defence is among the league leaders in creating turnovers year after year. 2017 is no different for the Mountaineers and they'll look to use that style of play to overwhelm the opposition and put together signficant runs to salt away games. 

The Mountaineers problems this year have come when they struggle to execute offensively as they average over 85 points/game, but four of their six defeats have come when they put up 64 or less. Everyone knows the defensive pressure will always be there, but West Virginia may not be able to score enough to go all the way. 

UCLA (+800)

The Bruins strength this year is clearly on the offensive side of the ball. They average over 90 points/game thanks to their 53.3 shooting percentage - tops in the entire country. Lonzo Ball is likely going to easily be a Top 3 draft pick in the upcoming NBA and while he leads the way for UCLA there are many talented complementary pieces around him.

What could hold the Bruins back from going all the way in the NCAA Tournament is their defensive play. They are lazy and careless on defence for big stretches of times, confident that they'll be able to outscore everyone no matter what.

Duke (+1000)

Duke has been one of the favorites to win it all this year since before the season started, and while they've gone through plenty of trials and tribulations, they appear to be peaking at just the right time. It's tough to ever bet against Coach K's Duke teams and while they are a team many either love or hate, there is no questioning Duke's ability to find ways to win games come tournament time. 


With those brief team outlooks out of the way, it's now up to you to go further with your research and make a few decisions on the teams you are looking to back this March. Remember, it's important to shop around for the best odds available on those squads and below you'll find a list of high quality sportsbooks for Canadian bettors to use. All of these sportsbooks are known for doing everything they can to offer you the best odds and service they can in the industry and if you see a price on the team you are looking to back that you can't pass up, don't hesitate to sign up and get in on the action.

Category : Sports News

Tag : basketball , march madness , ncaa tournament , NCAAB

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