We're almost three months into the NCAA basketball season, and the national championship contenders are beginning to show themselves and separate from the pretenders.
There is still plenty of time for teams to go on a run or change things dramatically, but it also means there is great value in the betting market to select who you think will be cutting down the nets in Houston come April 3rd.
We'll take a look at the contenders for the championship and provide you with our best free NCAAB picks to see if we can earn you some extra cash while you watch the college basketball elite compete with each other.
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NCAAB March Madness 2023 information
- Selection Sunday: Sunday, March 12
- First Four: March 14-15
- First round: March 16-17
- Second round: March 18-19
- Sweet 16: March 23-24
- Elite Eight: March 25-26
- Final Four: April 1
- NCAA championship game: April 3
March Madness contenders - NCAAB Picks
Houston Cougars - (+650)
The Cougars haven't had a season like this in a while, and it explains why they're heavy favorites to be successful in their own back yard this year.
They are among the best defensive teams in the country and are extremely well-coached by Kelvin Sampson, as evidenced by their 17-1 record at the time of writing which includes an eight game win streak and a 5-0 record in their own conference.
The last non-Power Six program to win the national championship was Connecticut, which also came from the AAC (2014). But Houston should continue to be among the favorites due national player of the year dark-horse Marcus Sasser and its ability to grind out possessions and play well defensively.
Obviously it won't be easy, but they're only likely to get better or fall away entirely. At +650, you may not get a better chance to grab them to be successful for the first time in their history after being runners-up in both 1983 and 1984.
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Connecticut Huskies - (+1200)
Coach Dan Hurley deserves plenty of credit for finally having his team among the national contenders in his fifth year in Storrs.
The Huskies have reached the NCAA Tournament in each of the past two seasons, yet they now look set to do it as a member of the Big East in a super impressive feat.
The Huskies are great offensively and defensively, led by Adama Sanogo, and have a signature win when they managed to topple the mighty Alabama at the Phil Knight Invitational in Portland.
Hurley, like the UConn fan base, has a chip on his shoulder by virtue of his career as the underdog, notably to his older brother Bobby. But there is no doubt now that they're among the elite and a genuine contender to cut down the nets at the end of the season.
If they believe it themselves just like we do, then there is no reason why they can't achieve their goals. With a 15-3 record so far this season, they've shown they have the ability, now they just have to exectute.
Arizona Wildcats - (+1400)
It’s still been 26 years since they won the national championship, and 22 years since they last reached the Final Four, so it's about time Arizona were legitimate contenders once again.
The Wildcats are loaded all over the court, with five players averaging double-figures in scoring through their first 12 games, led by Lithuanian forward Ąžuolas Tubelis.
Coach Tommy Lloyd will be hopeful of ending their barren run, but there are still questions to answer before then. Mainly, what happens when they face adversity. Their 14-2 record suggests they haven't encountered it much.
That could be a good thing though, and Arizona is as good a bet as any right now.
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UCLA Bruins - (+2000)
The Bruins should stay with the Arizona schools all season long atop the Pac-12 standings. Coached by the esteemed Mick Cronin and led by Jaime Jaquez Jr., a preseason All-American, pre-season All-Pac-12 guard Tyger Campbell, and junior Jaylen Clark, the Bruins are once again formidable and should battle for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
The best development is the Arizona schools’ solid starts, which should keep UCLA’s odds profitable all regular season.
Still if UCLA keeps winning, the odds are only going to get shorter on it cutting down the nets for a record 12th time, so catching them at +2000 is tempting.
Thyey're on an 11 game win streak at the time of writing and sit top of the standings, so if they maintain it who is to say they can't go all the way once again.
Check out our review for Bovada sports betting here.
Kentucky Wildcats - (+3300)
The Wildcats still don’t yet have a signature win in 2022-23, though they did beat Michigan 73-69 in London on Dec. 4.
Kentucky has lost to traditional powers UCLA and Gonzaga, as well as a horrid double-OT defeat to Michigan State.
John Calipari‘s group is unbelievably talented, led by reigning national player of the year Oscar Tshiebwe.
Tshiebwe is among the favorites to win the Wooden Award again, and Kentucky will have the opportunity to gain some momentum so don't write them off.