College Basketball National Championship Odds and Expert Predictions
by George Monroy - 3/17/2015
The 2015 NCAA tournament is set to truly begin on Thursday, March 19, at 12:15 p.m. ET when No. 3 Notre Dame tips off against No. 14 Northeastern in the Midwest bracket during the first of 16 games for the day. The next set of second-round matchups (the play-in games are now considered the first round) will conclude on Friday, March 20, with a Kansas versus New Mexico State game to begin in the morning and a Gonzaga versus North Dakota State matchup to conclude the evening.
Most sports fans will spend the next few days joining pools and trying to figure out which upsets to pick in their March Madness brackets, but for sports bettors, the next few days will consist of pouring over lines, prop bets and futures odds in order to find the juiciest wagers on the board. Let's take a closer look at the college basketball National Championship odds with predictions and analysis. All odds come from Sportsbook.ag
The No. 1 Seeds
Midwest : Kentucky: Even
West : Wisconsin: +800
East: Villanova: +900
South : Duke: +800
Kentucky is the huge favorite here, as they should be, and according to most college basketball experts they also have the easiest road to the Final Four. The betting choices are fairly easy for this group of teams-if you love rooting for history and dominant teams then taking the Wildcats and rooting for the first perfect season in nearly 40 years is the way to go. However, if you love to root for the underdog then wagering on another No. 1 seed or even taking a squad with larger odds will be your best bet.
The only aberration concerning the No. 1 seed's odds is Villanova, who earned a top spot in the East bracket but are still trailing the Arizona Wildcats in the minds of the oddsmakers and are receiving Top 4 odds at Sportsbook.ag. Villanova seems to have a winnable bracket and could easily make a Final Four appearance, which gives value to its +900 odds.
The No. 2 Seeds
Midwest: Kansas: +6000
West: Arizona: +800
East: Virginia: +1200
Arizona is being considered as the strongest No. 2 seed in the bunch, which probably has to do with the squad's relatively straightforward road to the Final Four. The Wildcats will not face any threatening opposition until it potentially makes a Sweet 16 appearance against Baylor and then would face North Carolina, Arkansas or Wisconsin in the Elite Eight. The top half of the West bracket is particularly brutal, and Arizona will luckily skip over most of it.
Gonzaga and Virginia have clear paths to the Elite Eight, and once a team gets that far anything can happen. The Bulldogs seem to underachieve during the NCAA tournament and have not made a meaningful run since a 2009 Sweet 16 appearance. Virginia has a capable squad that could do some damage and possess value at +1200 odds, while Kansas is in the unlucky position of potentially having to beat Notre Dame and Kentucky to make a Final Four appearance-stay away from that +6000 line.
Midwest: No. 4 Maryland: +400
West : No. 10 Ohio State: +10000
East : No. 7 Michigan State: +7500
South : No. 12 Stephen F. Austin: +100000
No. 4 seeds are not traditionally considered Cinderellas, but when you are playing in Kentucky's bracket, anyone coming out of the Midwest will probably be considered a huge upset. The Terrapins have been fantastic this season and are the team most experts expect to give the Wildcats their first test of the tournament.
No. 12 seeds do not win National Championships, but if Stephen F. Austin gets hot, the team could do some damage and put a scare in just about any team in the tournament. Michigan State has three straight Sweet 16-or-better runs, while Ohio State has four Sweet 16-or-better runs over the last five seasons. Either team has the coaching experience to get hot and surprise a lot of schools.
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Read more articles by George Monroy
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