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Dan Karpuc: Creighton Bluejays (+3000 at Caesars)
There are a number of worthy teams to get some love right now. I’m definitely on North Carolina (+1000) considering their returning players after their wild tournament run, for example. However, Creighton (+2200) is also in a fantastic spot to get over the hump in March. After a Sweet 16 run, coach Greg McDermott will have his best roster since taking the helm of this program. South Dakota State transfer and reigning Summit League Player of the Year Baylor Scheierman (16.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 4.5 assists in 33.3 minutes over 35 games) turned down multiple offers from powerhouses like Kentucky and will join Ryan Nembhard (11.3 points, 3.1 rebounds, 4.4 assists in 34.8 minutes over 27 games), Ryan Kalkbrenner (13.1 points, 7.7 rebounds, 2.6 blocks in 29.4 minutes over 34 games), NBA prospect Arthur Kaluma (10.4 points, 5.4 rebounds in 26.8 minutes over 31 games) and Trey Alexander (7.4 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.5 assists in 26.6 minutes over 35 games) in the starting five. Given the talent in this starting five and McDermott’s year-over-year success, it’s easy to see how this team has high aspirations for a run in March and an improvement over last year’s 23-12 record. At +3000, there’s enough upside for me to get on board.
Lucy Burdge: Texas Longhorns (+3500 at FanDuel, DraftKings, BetRivers)
Texas saw an early exit from March Madness this past year, but they are set to be an improved team this season. That was Chris Beard’s first season as the team’s head coach, after all. Timmy Allen and Marcus Carr, who both averaged double-digit points scored per game last season, will be returning and the team has added Dillon Mitchell and Tyrese Hunter. I think Texas has a solid shot at the title this year.
Brad Pinkerton: Baylor Bears (+2000 at FanDuel)
Watch out for Scott Drew's team next season. After winning the national title in 2021, the Bears (27-7, 14-4 in Big 12) ran into a red-hot Tar Heels team on its way to the national title game. That loss to UNC, especially after an improbable comeback, will fuel an experienced Baylor team to make another deep tourney run next season. That team, which finished first in the Big 12, will return top scorers LJ Cryer and Adam Flagler, along with super-sleeper Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua, and will add NBA lottery prospect Keyonte George. Drew has all the pieces he needs to make it back to the Final Four in 2023, so grab these +2000 odds while you can; they're as low as +1500 at other books, making this look like an even better value.