NCAA Tournament Updated Bracket Picks: Final Four Predictions and Futures
by Dave Schwab - 3/25/2015
The first three rounds of this year's NCAA Tournament are in the books, and Bovada has reshuffled its future odds to win each of the four regions as well as this season's National Championship heading into the start of the Sweet 16 Round this Thursday night.
Using these updated odds for the 16 remaining teams from an original field of 68, I have come up my predictions for the winners in each of the regions that will make up this year's field for the Final Four.
Midwest Region- Kentucky Wildcats
I decided to start with the easiest region on the board considering that the No. 1 Kentucky Wildcats' betting odds to win the Midwest are a prohibitive 1/4. They have already gotten to this point with two lopsided victories against No. 16 Hampton and No. 8 Cincinnati by a combined 36 points, and heading into Thursday's matchup against No. 5 West Virginia they are favored by 13.5 points.
One of the most intriguing matchups in the Sweet 16 Round pits No. 3 Notre Dame against No. 7 Wichita State in the other Midwest semifinal, with the Shockers favored by 1.5 points. Both of these teams have 7/1 odds to win the region and 33/1 odds to win a national title, so I went with the current betting line as my tiebreaker.
That leaves Kentucky verses Wichita State in the Midwest Final. While the Shockers may be the sexy pick, I am going with the Wildcats' 1/1 odds to win a national title as my guiding force.
West Region- Arizona Wildcats
This region could be the tightest race on the board, but all the futures odds point towards No. 2 Arizona making it to the Final Four. The Wildcats are 5/6 favorites to win the West heading into Thursday's matchup against No. 6 Xavier as 10.5-point favorites, while No. 1 Wisconsin takes on No. 4 North Carolina as a 6.5-point favorite in the other region semifinal. The Badgers' odds to win the West have been set at 3/2.
The Wildcats already have the slight edge in a likely showdown against Wisconsin based on Bovada's futures to win the West, and they cement this pick as 13/2 second-favorites to win the National Championship Game. Wisconsin is fourth on that list at 8/1 odds to win it all.
East Region- Michigan State Spartans
The East Region has been the biggest bracket buster of the NCAA Tournament with both No. 1 Villanova and No. 2 Virginia bowing out in unexpected losses. While the No. 3 Oklahoma Sooners are still alive, they are tied with No. 4 Louisville as 13/5 second-favorites to win the East. The team that has emerged from the rubble as the new favorite is No. 7 Michigan State. The Spartans were giant killers in last Sunday's 60-54 victory against Virginia as 4.5-point underdogs, and they are now 8/5 favorites to advance to the Final Four out of this region.
Michigan State heads into Friday's region semifinal matchup against the Sooners as 2.5-point favorites while Louisville takes on No. 8 North Carolina State as a three-point favorite. The Wolfpack stunned Villanova 71-68 as 10-point underdogs last Saturday, but their odds to win this region stand at 5/1.
It is not all that often that a No. 7 seed advances to the Final Four, but it is happening this year with the Spartans making the trip. Michigan State's odds to go on and win a National Championship are set at 14/1.
South Region- Duke Blue Devils
The No. 1 Duke Blue Devils started this tournament as 9/5 favorites to win the South, and not much has changed heading into the Sweet 16 Round as 5/4 favorites on Bovada's current board. No. 2 Gonzaga is a 3/2 second-favorite followed by No. 5 Utah at 4/1 and No. 11 UCLA at 16/1.Duke will first face Utah as a six-point favorite in one of two South Region semifinal matchups on Friday's slate. Gonzaga has been listed as an 8.5-point favorite against the Bruins in the other game.
Going with the favorites in both, that would set up a South Final showdown between the Blue Devils and the Bulldogs. Gonzaga has been a fan favorite to make it to the Final Four when the brackets were first filled out, but the betting odds dictate that Duke represents the South as the champ. To cement this pick, the Blue Devils are 15/2 third-favorites to go on and win the national title while Gonzaga drops to fifth on the list at 12/1.
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