2023 NCAA Basketball Futures: Baylor, Arkansas could make tournament runs

  • What: 2023 Men’s NCAA Basketball Championship Game
  • When: Monday, April 3, 2023. Time is TBD
  • Where: NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas


The 2022-23 NCAA Basketball season is only just around the corner, which means there may be no better time for bettors to get the best bang for their buck in terms of March Madness Futures. Only one team will be cutting down the nets as champions in Houston in early April, hoping to follow in the footsteps of the reigning champs in the Kansas Jayhawks. Early on, betting favorites include the likes of Gonzaga (+800), Houston (+850), and North Carolina (+900), but there’s some outstanding value to be found on some of the teams considered fringe contenders by sportsbooks. We’re going to take a look at some of the best NCAA Basketball Futures picks for this year’s March Madness tournament.

We’re going to focus on two programs that are deemed to be on the outside looking in when it comes to their odds of winning the championship in 2023; Baylor and Arkansas. We’ll take a look at why these two teams could be dark horse contenders to win the NCAA Championship in 2023, and why they present tremendous value at their current odds compared to the rest of the pack. Before doing so, make sure to check out some of the best sites to bet on March Madness, as well as our college basketball betting page in order to get all the tips and tricks needed.


2023 NCAA Basketball Championship Odds

To Win 2023 NCAA TournamentBovada
North Carolina+900
Texas Tech+3500

Arkansas Preview

Arkansas’ basketball program has taken tremendous strides in recent years and has developed into something of a powerhouse in the SEC. That is evidenced by their elite recruitment, which saw them bring in as many as three 5-star prospects in the Class of 2022.

The recruiting class is headlined by superstar guard Nick Smith, who is a Little Rock, Arkansas native. The five-star combo guard is one of the highest-rated players in the entire class of 2022 and should make an immediate impact for the Razorbacks in 2022-23. He’s joined by fellow five-star recruits in small forward Jordan Walsh and point guard Anthony Black. The trio of five-star recruits will join up with returnee and team leader Davonte Davis, who averaged 8.3 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 2.8 assists per game last year.

Perhaps the team’s most important addition in the offseason was Missouri transfer Trevon Brazile. The 6’9 big man left Missouri after just one season but landed in an outstanding situation with Arkansas. He figures to get significant run in the frontcourt and could turn out to be a key defensive cog for this team. Eric Musselman’s squad figures to be among the best defensive teams in the country next year, which will be crucial as they aim to make a deep run during the NCAA Tournament, and Brazile will be critical toward making life difficult for opponents at the rim.

Preseason rankings have the Razorbacks entering the year as the No. 6 ranked team in the country, and the strides they have made on the defensive end could see Arkansas make a deep run in the tournament. The Razorbacks entered last year’s NCAA Tournament as a No. 4 seed after finishing the regular season with a 28-9 record. They were the No. 17 ranked team in the nation in the final AP Poll, before advancing as far as the Elite Eight. During their run, they took down Vermont, New Mexico State, and No. 1 overall seed Gonzaga before losing to Duke in the Regional Finals.

Baylor Preview

Baylor is returning plenty of talent from their loaded 2021-22 squad and could make a case for having the best backcourt in the entire country. The tandem of Adam Flagler and LJ Cryer will look to continue to dominate for Baylor out of the backcourt. Last year, Flagler averaged 13.8 points, 3.0 assists, and 2.8 rebounds while shooting at a 38.7 percent clip from 3-point range, knocking down 2.4 per night.

Cryer, on the other hand, averaged 13.5 points, 1.7 assists, and 1.6 rebounds per game. He was remarkable from 3-point territory, hitting 2.7 per night at a stunning 46.8 percent clip. With those two in the backcourt, the Baylor offense will be a constant threat from the perimeter. But Baylor also went out and added a five-star guard to the mix. Shooting guard Keyonte George, is considered among the best players in the class of 2022, and he’s set to add even more star power to the already-loaded backcourt in Waco. The Bears are also bringing back the likes of Flo Thamba in the frontcourt.

Thamba, who boasts NCAA Championship experience from his 2021 win with Baylor, figures to play a key role in the paint for the team. Last year he averaged 6.2 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 1.0 blocks per game across 20.5 minutes of run per night. Scott Drew will be looking to make another deep run in the tournament after last year saw his Baylor team stunningly bounced in the second round of the tournament by North Carolina.


Baylor and Arkansas both have the potential to make deep runs in the tournament, and for different reasons. Baylor’s elite outside shooting and offensive capabilities make them a threat on any given night, while Arkansas figures to play some high-intensity transition basketball, honing in on making defensive stops to set up easy baskets. Given the odds (+1500) for these teams to win the championship, either one would be a valuable choice. Between the two, I prefer rolling with the defensive-minded Arkansas squad. 

Arkansas RazorbacksTO WIN 2023 NCAA TOURNAMENT
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Chris Boline

Chris Boline is an avid sports fan and currently works within the sports industry. He has previously written for outlets covering the NBA G League, Los Angeles Chargers, Mountain West Conference football and basketball and has been a writer for over 10 years. Chris is very involved within his local community and spends his free time working with community organizations, sitting on boards, and spending time with friends and family.

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