Which long shots have most value?

Pittsburgh, Wisconsin and Gonzaga might make good wagers

Updated: January 29, 2013, 1:07 PM ET
By Jeff Haley | TeamRankings.com
Steven AdamsCharles LeClaire/USA TODAY SportsFreshman center Steven Adams makes Pitt a long shot that could provide good value for bettors.

In 1985, coach Rollie Massimino's Villanova Wildcats were the longest of long shots. After finishing the Big East regular season and tournament with a combined record of 19-10 and spending most of the season outside of the AP Top 25, the Wildcats entered the NCAA tournament as an 8-seed.

Over the next two and a half weeks, Villanova went on a thrilling run, ending in a two-point victory over Patrick Ewing and the Georgetown Hoyas to claim the NCAA title.

Everyone loves the underdog, and NCAA championship futures give bettors a way to try to profit from the next Villanova. Using the same technology and analytical methods that we explained in our first article on 2013 futures odds values, we set out to find current long shot teams that appear to offer the most value (or at least to be close enough to a fair bet) for bettors who are comfortable with high risk and willing to search for the best price in the market. Just remember that odds can and will change over time, so value highlighted today could be gone by next week.

For those unfamiliar with futures betting, keep in mind that betting value has nothing to do with how good or bad a team is in an absolute sense. It simply refers to whether current betting odds underestimate a team's actual chances of making a storybook run to an NCAA title.


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Jeff Haley

ESPN Insider
Jeff Haley is a writer for TeamRankings.com, which provides data-driven sports predictions and contest advice.