Final Four Odds: Bettors Starting to Believe in VCU
by Richard Gardner | Bodog Sportsbook Manager - 3/30/2011
Virginia Commonwealth is a university in Richmond, Virginia. It has a great arts and design program, but it’s not exactly known for athletics. Not until recently at least.
Yes, the VCU Rams are going to the Final Four of the 2011 NCAA men’s basketball tournament. On Sunday, they knocked off the top-seeded Kansas Jayhawks in a spectacular upset. That shock victory followed wins over Florida State, Purdue, Georgetown and USC.
The Rams, the No. 11 seed out of the Southwest Region, have been underdogs in all five of their games. They were getting 11.5 points against Kansas and won the game outright by 10 to book their ticket to Houston.
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That win over the Jayhawks in turn gave us a big win at Bodog’s online sportsbook, where our players were all over the favorites despite VCU's impressive run to the Elite 8.
"Once again we felt like nobody really thought we could win going into this game," said VCU coach Shaka Smart. "Our guys have done a phenomenal job of putting all the doubters aside, all the people that didn't believe in us, and going out to do their job."
The doubters have indeed been cast aside. We’ve seen substantial betting support for VCU to cap off its Cinderella run with a national championship. The Rams are getting +450 odds to win it all on Bodog’s NCAA futures board, which also has Kentucky at +145, Connecticut at +225 and Butler at +325.
In other words, if VCU wins its next two games we’re going to be paying out some serious money. And we won’t be alone. The news is full of stories about sports books on the hook if the Rams pull off the miracle. (Sports books are similarly worried about Butler winning the tourney after booking futures bets on the Bulldogs at big odds not long ago.)
It’s been extremely interesting, not to mention challenging, setting odds for the Rams during their remarkable run. Remember, we’re talking about a team that many experts thought didn’t deserve a bid. After all, VCU had dropped five of eight heading into the tournament, including losses to the likes of Drexel and James Madison. Heck, the Rams lost to Northeastern in February. And they just beat Kansas? I guess nobody ever said sports have to make sense.
We’ve got VCU giving 2.5 points to Butler in Saturday’s tourney semi-final for Final Four odds. If the Rams topple the Bulldogs, they’ll undoubtedly be underdogs to the winner of Kentucky (-2) versus Connecticut. And if they win that game, they’ll have won the tournament without being favored to win a single game.
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