NCAA Tournament - Sweet 16 Futures Odds and Predictions
by Dave Schwab - 3/20/2012
The original field of 68 teams for this season’s NCAA Tournament has been pared down to the Sweet 16 through three rounds of games. And while a few top seeds fell by the wayside, the majority of the favorites, including all four No.1 seeds, are still in the hunt for this year’s national title.
The following is a look at Bovada’s updated futures odds for the final 16 teams to win their particular region as well as this year’s National Championship along with some predictions for betting.
No.4 Wisconsin (4/1, 30/1) vs. No.1 Syracuse (21/10, 10/1)
No.2 Ohio State (11/10, 11/2) vs. No.6 Cincinnati (8/1, 50/1)
The Ohio State Buckeyes have leapfrogged Syracuse as the favorite to win the East Region mainly because the Orange’s seven-foot center Fab Melo was ruled ineligible for this tournament. They have been given additional respect because their big man, Jared Sullinger, is playing at a high level heading into the stretch run of this tournament.
The reality is neither the Buckeyes nor the Orange offer much value in their current odds as they will both have their hands full in the Sweet 16. Do not be surprised if Wisconsin or even Cincinnati comes out of the wreckage in the East as both teams are playing at a high level of their own.
No.1 North Carolina (1/1, 7/1) vs. No.13 Ohio (25/1, 150/1)
No.2 Kansas (11/10, 8/1) vs. No.11 NC State (9/1, 60/1)
The Tar Heels’ odds to win the region and the national title would have been much lower if point guard Kendall Marshal did not break his wrist against Creighton. With his status for the rest of the tournament in serious doubt, it’s hard to know how much his absence will affect this team. This, in-turn, saps most of the value from North Carolina’s odds.
Kansas remains a very viable team to make it all the way to the title game with a clearer path in the region and a legitimate shot at knocking off whichever team comes out of the East. However, the Jayhawks’ lackluster three-point win over Purdue as an eight-point favorite in the third round hardly instills confidence in them making a four-game run to the championship.
No.1 Kentucky (4/9, 11/5) vs. No.4 Indiana (6/1, 35/1)
No.3 Baylor (7/2, 16/1) vs. No.10 Xavier (18/1, 75/1)
Wagering on the Kentucky Wildcats to roughly get a two-to-one return on your money does not sound sexy, but it is far better than no return at all if you decide to wager against them. This is not to say that one of the other teams on this list cannot beat Kentucky, it’s just highly unlikely they will. The Tar Heels may have had the best shot, but we all know what happened there. Michigan State could get in the Wildcats way in the Final Four, but it first has to get out of the West, which is no small task. Next to North Carolina, the Buckeyes probably have the best shot from the other half of the bracket, but there is still a good chance we will never even see that matchup due to the remaining competition in the East.
If you feel bold and have some money to burn, take a flyer on Baylor to come out of the South in a major upset. The Bears should get by Xavier with relative ease and will be playing with house money in a nothing-to-loose matchup against Kentucky. Just remember this bet should be made with money to burn.
No.1 Michigan State (6/5, 13/2) vs. No.4 Louisville (11/2, 30/1)
No.3 Marquette (5/2, 20/1) vs. No. 7 Florida (7/2, 22/1)
The Spartans are the clear-cut favorite in the West, but there is something about the other teams left in this region that should give you great cause for concern to wager on Michigan State to make it to the Final Four. All three teams are more than capable of pulling off the upset. This automatically drains just enough value out of Michigan State’s odds, especially when you consider its close call against Saint Louis in the third round.
The Marquette Golden Eagles appear poised to play the role of spoiler by engineering a two-game rally to secure their own trip to New Orleans. Unfortunately, that would be about as far as it goes for this team, as it would suddenly be in deep over its head against Kentucky.
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