Oddsmakers Make Their Early Picks for 2016-17 March Madness

Oddsmakers Make Their Early Picks for 2016-17 March Madness
It’s almost time for the greatest tournament in North American sports – March Madness – and it is time to see who stands out. The Top 25 has been shaken and stirred all yearlong and now the hottest team heading into the tourney is one that didn’t even make an appearance in 2016.  
This time around the top teams are as follows and in this order: North Carolina, Kansas, UCLA and Villanova. Yes, the defending champs have fallen to fourth in the odds and for good reason.
The Wildcats lost to Butler twice and also unranked Marquette knocked them off their pedestal in January by a score of 74-72. They’re not as dangerous as they were last year, but they still should not be taken lightly even if they are ranked fifth in the odds. NCAA Sportsbook TopBet favors North Carolina (+650) to take back what they were just 4.7 seconds away from one year ago.
The sting of 2016 is still a fresh wound for the Tar Heels and although the odds are on their side, their numbers are starting to slide. Last season they took the ACC Tournament, which they may do again, and entered the Madness No. 2 in the final Coaches Poll. This year, however, they’ve suffered three losses in their final ten games of the season leading into this year’s conference tournament.
Keep in mind; the Heels lost four of their last ten season games last year. We point out their declining record this time around though because another top contender has emerged, who’s red hot right now!
The UCLA Bruins (+700) have lost two of their last 16, one of their last 10 and have ripped off nine straight wins. They entered the Pac-12 tournament as the three seed based on their slow start, but have been one of the hottest teams in the Association in 2017.
Projected top two pick Lonzo Ball, who’s let his play do the talking (unlike his father), has helped the Bruins become one of the best shooting teams in the nation. They lead the country with 91.3 points per game, as well as a field goal percentage of .526 and are third in the country with a 3-point percentage of .415.
This team is the total package and we’ll see if Lonzo’s father LaVar knew what he was talking about soon enough. Will Ball be the next big thing in the June 22nd NBA Draft or will another favorite emerge? We’ll get all of our answers and a 2017 champion crowned soon enough.