NCAAB Betting: The Three Cinderella Teams We Are Betting on to Make the Final Four

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  • St. Mary’s is second in the country in opponent scoring
  • Dayton has a point differential of +9.0
  • David Jones is averaging 21.7 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 2.1 steals this season

Selection Sunday is just a few days away, which means now is the time to start preparing for your March Madness betting. After mid-majors dominated last year’s tournament, gaining familiarity with the country’s smaller programs ahead of next week is crucial.

We are here to help boost your chances of winning at betting sites during the tournament. Below, you will see the top three potential Cinderella teams as determined by our USA Legal Betting experts. We’ll share why they think each will succeed, and the latest odds to reach the Final Four.

Saint Mary’s Gaels 

Odds to make the Final Four: +1600 at FanDuel Sportsbook 

The Gaels had a brutal start to the season, opening with a 3-5 record. However, something clicked after that, leading them to go on a 23-2 run. While the run did not feature many great teams, they do have two wins over Gonzaga. That includes in the WCC Tournament, where they beat the Zags 69-60.  

St Mary’s biggest strength is their ability to play lock down defense. They are second in the league in opponent scoring (58.7 PPG) and eighth in opponent field goal percentage (39.5%).  That defense has allowed the Gaels to post a point differential of +15.5, which is the sixth best in the country.  

For fans of advanced stats, the famous KenPom rankings love this St. Mary’s team. They have St. Mary’s as the eighteenth best team in the country, with an adjusted efficiency margin of +19.86.  

Teams that play defense and are as efficient as the Gaels are incredibly hard to beat in March. While we haven’t seen them shut down a team from a Power-5 conference, they did it to Gonzaga in all three of their matchups. They held the Zags to 70 or fewer points in each, a mark that is far below their 84.9-point average (6th in the country). 

Dayton Flyers 

Odds to make the Final Four: +1900 at BetRivers Sportsbook 

Dayton is a team many experts are falling in love with. They are currently ranked twenty-fourth in the country, despite finishing third in the A-10. The Flyers went 5-3 to finish the season, but those three losses were all on the road and by no more than five points. In fact, Dayton has just one loss of more than five point, which came against top-ranked Houston back in November.

The key to the Flyers’ success is their balance. The team is fourth in the A-10 in scoring (75.3 PPG) and third in opponent scoring (66.3 PPG). Those numbers give them impressive +9.0-point differential, the best in the conference.  The KenPom rankings also love this team, ranking the twenty-seventh in efficiency.

The Flyers’ lack wins over the country’s top teams, but they do have some that stand out. They beat St. Johns and Cincinnati in neutral court games and blew out Horizon-League champions Oakland at home.

Memphis Tigers 

Odds to make the Final Four: +12500 

The Tigers’ are far from a lock to make March Madness, but their current price is well worth the risk. The team’s tournament chances took a hit in January when they lost four straight games to South Florida, Tulane, UAB, and a terrible Rice team. They would bounce back to win seven of their final ten games, but the damage to their tournament resume was already done.

While Memphis finished with a mediocre 11-7 record in the AAC, but they have one of the most impressive non-conference wins in the country. The Tigers posted wins against four teams that were ranked when the played:  #20 Arkansas, #21 Texas A&M, #13 Clemson, and #22 Virginia. Very few teams had that kind of success to start the season, leading the Tigers to be ranked as high as tenth in the country.

The Tigers have no problem scoring (81 PPG), but their defense remains a question mark (75.9 OPPG). While that would normally be a pretty big red flag this time of season, we think it is negated the team having a star like David Jones. The forward is averaging 21.7 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 2.1 steals this season. Jones plays bigger than his size, while also being the team’s top three-point threat (37.9 3P%).

A star like Jones can carry a team far in the NCAA Tournament. Combine that with their impressive non-conference wins, and you can see why our experts love them as a long-shot Final Four bet.