NCAA Tournament Wins Props and Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 3/21/2013
I touched on the total number of wins for the Big Ten, the nation's best conference, in an earlier NCAA Tournament props story and recommended “over” 13. Now let's look at the prop options for the other power six conferences in the Big Dance:
--At Sportsbook.ag, the Big East's total is set at 12, with the “under” a -125 favorite. That's Cincinnati, Georgetown, Louisville, Marquette, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Syracuse and Villanova. So the Big East gets one less win despite having one more team than the Big Ten. But it makes sense because it's quite possible that only No. 1 Louisville and second seed Georgetown win in the first round, much less reach the Sweet 16. The No. 10 Bearcats are first-round underdogs against No. 7 Creighton. No. 3 Marquette is only a 3.5-point favorite against a dangerous Davidson club. The Irish are just 1.5-point favorites against Iowa State. Pitt is -4 against Wichita State. Syracuse has mostly struggled down the stretch and is -12.5 against Montana but then could face a very talented UNLV (or Cal) team in the Round of 32. And Villanova is a four-point dog against North Carolina. I project six Big East teams to win their openers but only U of L, Georgetown and Syracuse to reach the Sweet 16. The Hoyas and Cards should go one more round, but not likely the Orange. That totals 11 wins. Louisville itself could be good for two more, so take the over.
--Over/under 4.5 wins for SEC teams Florida, Missouri and Ole Miss. Here you are essentially betting on the third-seeded Gators reaching the Final four at a minimum. The Tigers are slight first-round favorites against a good Colorado State team, and the inconsistent Rebels, the SEC Tournament Champions, are six-point dogs to Wisconsin. UF should reach the Sweet 16 with little problem but then likely runs into Georgetown. I expect no better than four wins for the SEC.
--Over/under 3.5 wins for Pac-12 teams Arizona, Colorado, California, Oregon and UCLA. That's how little is thought of the Pac-12 in that five teams couldn't manage four total wins? I think Arizona is talented enough to win four itself, but the up-and-down Wildcats also could lose their opener against Belmont. No. 6 UCLA, without the injured Jordan Adams, is a rare lower-seeded dog at +3 against No. 11 Minnesota. The Buffs are dogs in their opener against Illinois, the Bears are against UNLV and the Ducks are against Oklahoma State. Still, I like the over here because all five could win their first game.
--Over/under 6.5 wins for ACC teams Duke, Miami (Fla.), North Carolina and NC State. No. 2 seeds Duke and Miami should reach the Elite Eight, and I think they do, which gets this conference to six wins alone. NC State (vs. Temple) and North Carolina (vs. Villanova) are first-round favorites. I think the ACC was a tad overlooked this season simply because it was top-heavy. Take the over.
--Over/under 6 wins for Big 12 teams Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. I really don't know what to make of the Big 12 this year. Conference champions shouldn't have three-game losing streaks like Kansas did this season. I could definitely see no Big 12 teams in the Sweet 16, with top-seeded KU potentially falling to North Carolina in the Round of 32. Oklahoma State is the next highest-seeded team at No. 5 and is only a slight favorite against No. 12 Oregon in the first round. Then the Cowboys likely would play chic sleeper team Saint Louis. Take the under here.
You can also bet on total tournament wins for No. 1 seeds at 12, with the over a -130 favorite. If all four -- Louisville, Indiana, Gonzaga and Kansas -- reach the Elite Eight then you are right at 12. I'm not sure Kansas does but think at a minimum that Louisville and Indiana do it, and that they also reach the Final Four. Take the over here.
How about President Obama's bracket? There's an over/under of 1.5 correct Final Four picks among his choices of Louisville, Ohio State, Florida and Indiana. Mr. President didn't exactly go out on a limb there with two No. 1s, a No. 2 and a No. 3. I lean the over at -125.
BetOnline has several team vs. team tournament wins props. I love Indiana at -210 over Gonzaga (+170) and Kansas (also +170). Louisville has the same price against the two, and I'd take that as well. Also take the Zags at -115 against Kansas (-115).
How about Ohio State (-130) vs. Michigan (+100)? The Buckeyes seem to have a much easier path to the Elite Eight as a No. 2 seed as they would beat Iona, Notre Dame and New Mexico if chalk held. UM would have to beat South Dakota State -- look for that game to be close -- VCU and Kansas if form held. Michigan hasn't played well of late and usually gets killed on the boards. Their lack of height will catch up to the Wolverines. Take OSU there. I also really like Miami (-145) over Georgetown (+115) simply because the Hoyas are likely to face Florida -- which is the third overall favorite to win the tournament at some books -- in the Sweet 16, while UM probably gets Marquette or Butler and would be solidly favored.
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