The college basketball season is right at the halfway mark. Teams once considered long shots have emerged as contenders, and some legitimate preseason contenders look farther off than thought.

Just before the season began, I suggested UCLA (at 60-1) as a sexy sleeper pick. Now, the Bruins have the second-best odds (at 6-1) of bringing home the hardware, according to VegasInsider.

Now that the odds have been updated, let's see if we can make you some money on five more value bets worth taking a flier on because, basically, I'm a wizard.

North Carolina Tar Heels

Odds to win national title: 9-1

OK, so we're not exactly starting with a sleeper pick. But if you're looking to invest your money on a team not favored but not far from it, this is a splendid choice. The Tar Heels have the fifth-highest odds but even that seems low given their play at times.

The Tar Heels have everything to make another strong NCAA Tournament run: Hall of Fame coach (Roy Williams), All-ACC caliber point guard (Joel Berry II) and an athletic frontcourt with three players scoring in double digits.

Remember, we're one Kris Jenkins buzzer-beater away from UNC being the reigning national champion. This team has depth, and just got more. Theo Pinson, who was in line to take over a starting role, is back from injury and could be the X factor that helps take the team to a new level defensively. They are 4-0 since his return.

Wisconsin Badgers

Odds to win national title: 35-1

The transition from Bo Ryan to Greg Gard has been smooth, helped by having a senior-laden team with Final Four experience. Four starters are seniors, and rising sophomore center Ethan Happ is one of the most impressive players at his position in the Big Ten. He can score, put the ball on the floor and plays perfectly in the defensive scheme as a rim protector.

Wisconsin is 4-1 in conference play, and that's without senior sharpshooter Bronson Koenig playing his best. Koenig and Nigel Hayes are to be feared when firing on all cylinders. The Big Dance was made for a team like the Badgers.

Michigan State Spartans

Odds to win national title: 50-1

A shaky start by the Spartans to kick off the season had many -- including myself -- questioning whether their NCAA tourney streak may end at 19. Alas, Tom Izzo has turned me into a fool.

The Spartans went through a rough patch when star freshman Miles Bridges missed seven games, though they learned to win without their best player. Now starting three freshmen in Bridges, Nick Ward and Josh Langford, Izzo has a blend of youth to go with savvy veterans. Despite some ups and down, this team could be dangerous in March.

Should Michigan State fall to an 8-seed as CBS Sports' Jerry Palm projects, then watch out. I wouldn't write them off in the potential third-round vs. a 1-seed matchup.

Florida Gators

Odds to win national title: 85-1

Kentucky gets all the praise in the SEC, but the Gators are 5-1 in conference play and just had a seven-game winning streak snapped at South Carolina on Wednesday. Favored in 10 of its next 11, according to KenPom, Florida may be the only legit challenger to Kentucky for the SEC regular-season title.

The Gators have three players scoring in double figures -- KeVaughn Allen, Canyon Barry and Devin Robinson -- who could parlay their experience into a nice tournament run.

Iowa State Cyclones

Odds to win national title: 200-1

Three words: Backcourt, backcourt, backcourt. The Cyclones' four-guard lineup is the college game's equivalent to Golden State's Death Lineup.

When theye go small (which, frankly, they always do given their lack of size), they're tough to beat. Deonte Burton, a big-bodied, 6-foot-5 power forward, can stretch the floor with his ability shoot it from deep, creating space so point man Monte Morris can operate.

But for Iowa State, its biggest strength is also a weakness at times. No one on the roster is taller than 6-foot-8. A matchup with Kentucky would be a death sentence with Bam Adebayo and Wenyan Gabriel's length being too much to handle. As good as the Cyclones backcourt is, it could easily carry the team deep in the tournament. This is a deep sleeper, but capable of making noise.