March Madness Sweet 16 Props Odds and Betting Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 3/21/2012
We are down to a Sweet 16 from 68, with the NCAA Tournament’s second weekend set to tip off on Thursday night in the East Region (Boston) and West Region (Phoenix). So it’s time to do a Bovada props reset from the opening of the Big Dance.
When writing about the NCAA Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player before the tournament, one guy I really liked was North Carolina’s Tyler Zeller at 15/1. But my caveat on that was only if UNC’s John Henson was healthy. Henson didn’t play in the Heels’ opening win over Vermont but did in the Round of 32 victory over Creighton. However, that win was costly. North Carolina point guard Kendall Marshall broke his right wrist in the game and had surgery Monday. Heels Coach Roy Williams isn’t planning on Marshall to play in the Sweet 16, although Marshall wants to give it a try. This injury completely changes my view on Zeller to win the MOP award.
Marshall isn’t North Carolina’s best player but he’s probably the most important and leads the nation in assists. He makes that team go and there’s essentially no one of value behind him. Now I don’t think the Heels reach the NCAA Championship Game, meaning Zeller (now 18/1) won’t win the MOP award.
Kentucky freshman Anthony Davis remains the favorite to win MOP but he’s now down to 4/1 after opening at 11/2. I do think UK waltzes into the Final Four as I don’t see the Cats having much trouble with Indiana and then either Baylor or Xavier. In New Orleans, certainly anything could happen. Davis is averaging 15.5 points, 10.5 rebounds, 4.5 blocks and 4.0 assists in the first two rounds. He’s probably going to win this award.
The only other guy I would even bet on at this point is Michigan State’s Draymond Green at 10/1 (previously 14/1). He opened the tournament with a triple-double – 24 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists -- against LIU-Brooklyn, joining Magic Johnson and Oscar Robertson as the only players in history to have more than one triple-double in the tournament (his other one came last year). Then Green put up 16-13-6 in the Round of 32 win over Saint Louis. He has turned the ball over only three times so far. Kentucky and Michigan State would meet in the Final Four if both advance. So I’d bet on both Davis and Green and then you are likely covered.
Of the 16 remaining teams in the Big Dance, four are from Ohio: Cincinnati, Xavier, Ohio State and Ohio University. You can also bet on what state the National Champion comes from. Ohio is the +300 third-favorite. Cincinnati faces OSU in the Sweet 16 and both Xavier and Ohio University are solid dogs against Baylor and North Carolina, respectively, on Friday. The state favorite is Kentucky at +210, with the Cats as the overall favorites at 11/5 and Louisville still around but a five-point dog on college basketball odds Thursday night against Michigan State. North Carolina (+650) and Wisconsin (+1000) are your other options as states with multiple teams left. Think you have to go Kentucky here.
Even though UK is the overall favorite, the SEC at 19/10 isn’t the favorite to be the conference from where the National Champion emerges. Florida is the only other SEC team left and a slight dog Thursday night against Marquette. The Big Ten, with Michigan State, Ohio State, Wisconsin and Indiana remaining, is the 11/10 favorite. It’s possible that three Big Ten teams could reach the Final Four – the only region without one is the Midwest. I think I would take a flier on the Big East at 6/1. It’s plausible that we have two all-Big East regional finals: Louisville-Marquette in the West and Syracuse-Cincinnati in the East.
All four No. 1 seeds have made it to the Sweet 16 but all four have made the Final Four just once, in 2008. All four making it again is at +1400. The favorite is two at +140, followed by one (+200), three (+300) and none (+900). A tournament with zero No. 1 seeds making has happened three times, including last year. I would lean toward three here purely on value.
Another interesting value bet is whether a No. 2 seed wins it all: ‘yes’ is at +250 and ‘no’ at -400. I like yes here; that means you are betting on either Ohio State or Kansas. The Buckeyes should beat Cincinnati and then would face the Syracuse/Wisconsin winner for a trip to the Final Four. OSU and the Badgers split this season (each winning in the other’s gym), and remember the Orange don’t have Fab Melo. Kansas should beat N.C. State in the Sweet 16 and then likely gets North Carolina, which may not have Marshall (he certainly won’t be 100 percent if he does play). KU and Ohio State would have to face off in the Final Four, but then you are guaranteed a No. 2 seed in the title game, where anything can happen. If you wanted to double up, you can bet on the prop on what seed number wins it all (listing all the remaining seeds): a No. 2 is 5/2 there, with a No. 1 at 2/3.
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