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CBB title futures: Teams that can improve their resume

Lance King / Getty Images Sport / Getty

The lengthened NFL season pushes the Super Bowl into mid-February. The shift condenses the major sports calendar to the point where you come out of the big game realizing March Madness is like an object in a rearview mirror - it's closer than it may appear.

The NCAA Tournament committee revealed its top end of the bracket teaser last Saturday, so you're officially welcome to start your March Madness research process. When it comes to futures betting, most of the teams listed above aren't going to improve their standing enough to be worth a bet now.

There are less than a handful of games left in the regular season, and then it's the conference tournaments. This is probably your last chance to buy a national title future on a team that could see its price shorten before Selection Sunday.

National Championship odds

Houston +650 
Kansas +800
Alabama +850
Purdue +1000
UCLA +1200
Baylor +1400
Arizona +1500
Tennessee +1700
Creighton +2200
Texas +2200
Virginia +2200
Connecticut +2500
Gonzaga +2500
Indiana +2500
Saint Mary's +2800
TCU +3000
Marquette +3300
Iowa State +4000
Kansas State +4000
Kentucky +4000
North Carolina +4000
Xavier +4000
Arkansas +5000
Duke +5000
Miami +5000

The goal should be to back a program that'll improve its resume in the next two weeks. How? Here's a quick criteria checklist:

  1. Long enough odds with room to shorten
  2. Beneficial late schedule
  3. Winnable conference tournament

Best bets

Marquette (+3300)
Current projected seed: No. 4
Remaining schedule: Depaul, @ Butler, St. John's

With the worst Big East teams left on its path to first place, the conference tournament is certainly winnable for Marquette. At that point, the Golden Eagles could move up to the 3-line in the bracket and are probably shorter than Connecticut (+2500) and Creighton (+2200) by the tournament's tip.

Miami (+5000)
Current projected seed: No. 5
Remaining schedule: Florida St., Pitt

After winning on the road at Virginia Tech for its seventh straight victory, Miami will be significant home favorites in its final two games. With the ACC a shadow of what it used to be, the Hurricanes have as good of a chance as any to win the conference tournament. At that point, they'll have garnered enough attention for a potential 3-seed and a path better than 50-1. That's not bad for a team that made it to a regional final last year.

Michigan State (+10000)
Current projected seed: No. 7
Remaining schedule: @ Iowa, @ Nebraska, Ohio St.

Michigan State's next game in Iowa will be tough. Still, the program has the pieces - three seniors and a junior as their top-four scorers - to make an old-fashioned Tom Izzo-style run. Malik Hall missed a chunk of time early in the season, but the Spartans have teetered on the top 20 in's power ratings since Jan. 1. Regardless of whether Michigan State moves up a seed line or two thanks to a deep Big Ten Tournament run or not, its chances are better than 100-1 to win it all in a year this wide open.

Texas A&M (+12500)
Current projected seed: No. 8
Remaining schedule: @ Miss. St., @ Ole Miss, Alabama

The rest of the regular season will be tricky, but Texas A&M's 13-2 conference record should solidify the school's spot in the NCAA Tournament. It's long been forgotten, but everyone was up in arms last year about the Aggies' snub after they made it to the SEC Tournament final. Buzz Williams has continued to develop a group that includes top scorers Wade Taylor and Tyrece Radford and quality front-court support from transfers Dexter Dennis, Henry Coleman, and Julius Marble.

Boise State (+20000)
Current projected seed: No. 10
Remaining schedule: New Mexico, @ San Jose St., San Diego St., @ Utah St.

A beneficial remaining schedule doesn't always mean easy. Sometimes a schedule can give you a chance to get noticed and bump up your resume with one good performance. Boise State gets San Diego State at home, and a win there will look more impressive than it actually is and would secure the school's ticket to the Big Dance. A run to the Mountain West final on national TV while the committee deliberates could bump Boise State up one or two seed lines.

North Carolina State (+20000)
Current projected seed: No. 8
Remaining schedule: Wake Forest, Clemson, @ Duke

Pittsburgh (+25000)
Current projected seed: No. 9
Remaining schedule: Syracuse, @ Notre Dame, @ Miami

Let's include a pair of ACC teams due to a single rule: If you're listed longer than schools like Butler, LSU, Colorado, and Georgia but are a projected 9-seed or better, we can still make a play. Both Pittsburgh and N.C. State could go deep in the ACC Tournament and have a better seed for the Big Dance. But at 200-1 or longer, does it even matter?

Villanova (+30000)
Current projected seed: Out of tournament
Remaining schedule: Creighton, @ Seton Hall, UConn

Admittedly, unless Villanova sweeps the rest of the regular season, the Wildcats probably need to win the Big East Tournament to get into the NCAA tourney. Lead guard Justin Moore has been back for six games, and three wins at Madison Square Garden aren't out of the question. At 300-1, Villanova needs to be included here.

Matt Russell is a betting writer for theScore. If there’s a bad beat to be had, Matt will find it. Find him on Twitter @mrussauthentic.

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