Vaughn Dalzell breaks down how he is betting the updated College Basketball Futures market as we inch closer to February and March Madness.
Tennessee to make the Final Four (+350)
Defensively, Tennessee ranks first nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency (82.7), three-point defense (21.6%), effective field goal percentage (38.5%) and top six in turnover percentage (25.2%), two-point percentage (42.8%) and steal percentage (14.3%).
They are one of the best defenses in the nation, if not the best, and we are looking at two-team race in the SEC between Tennessee and Alabama.
On the same spectrum, Alabama is one of the highest ranked defenses, coming in at top four in adjusted defensive efficiency (88.3), effective field goal percentage (41.3%), two-point percentage (42.4%) and three-point percentage (25.9%).
The Vols are No. 1 or 2 in offensive three-point percentage (35.6%), two-point percentage (55.4%) and free-throw percentage (77.7%) during SEC play. Tennessee has the top two offensive and defensive efficiency rankings in the conference, but so does Alabama.
Alabama still has to play Tennessee, plus has dates with Florida, Oklahoma and Texas A&M on the road, along with Auburn, Arkansas and Florida at home.
When looking at Tennessee's schedule, it appears more challenging with Texas, Florida and Auburn over the next three games with another three-game stretch down the line of Alabama, Kentucky and Texas A&M.
The Vols also finish the season with two games against Arkansas and Auburn, so they don't have many cakewalks.
I don't think there has ever been two SEC teams as No. 1 seeds in the March Madness tournament, but if Tennessee ends up as No. 2 or No. 3 seed, they are dangerous and should/could be the best 2 or 3 seed in the tournament.
Instead of choosing between Alabama and Tennessee for the SEC title and getting +170 odds on the Vols, I opted for a Final Four ticket at +350.
I like the Vols more long-term than teams like Purdue (+250), Alabama (+250), Texas (+550), Virginia (+550) and Gonzaga (+600) who will all be looking at No. 1 to No. 3 seeds -- Purdue and Bama fighting for a No. 1 seed.
There's a chance you could get a better number than +350 in a week or two if the Vols suffer a loss, perhaps around +500, but +350 is enough value for me to get involved now.
I don't blame if you wait until after the Texas versus Tennessee game, but I like the chances the Vols can make a run in March.
Pick: Tennessee to make Final 4 (0.25u)
Futures Already in Pocket
0.5u: VCU to win the A-10 Regular Season Title (+350)
0.5u: Marquette to win the Big East Regular Season Title (+130)
0.5u: Arizona to make the Final 4 (+400)
0.25u: Arizona to win the National Championship (+1600)
0.25u: Tennessee to make the Final 4 (+350)
0.25u: Iowa State to win the Big 12 Regular Season Title (+350)
0.2u: Iowa State to make the Final 4 (+1000)
0.2u: Marquette to make the Final 4 (+800)
0.1u: Michigan State to win the Big Ten (+3000)
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