The field of 68 teams for the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament has quickly been pared down to the Sweet 16. And to add to betting excitement of this week's games, BetOnline has released a whole page of team props to provide some extra action.
In one of last week's top prop picks, I went with the "over" that at least two No. 1 seeds would advance to the Final Four at +110 betting odds. That wager is still alive and well with all four No. 1 seeds advancing to the Sweet 16, but things start to get tricky from here with some solid competition still left in the other 12 teams. The following are a few more picks for these special NCAA Tournament team props based on the best value in the betting odds.
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NCAA Tournament Winner is a No. 2 Seed?
The betting odds for this prop are heavily skewed at "no" with the moneyline set at -700. The odds a No. 2 seed does win it all are set at +450.
I am going with the high-risk/low-reward play on the no in this prop given the current situation for the No. 2 seeds in this year's tournament. I am not all that surprised that Xavier lost to Wisconsin as a two-seed in the East, but I am still trying to figure out what happened in Michigan State's bracket-busting meltdown against Middle Tennessee as a highly-touted No. 2 in the Midwest.
That leaves just Oklahoma in the West and Villanova in the South as the only other two seeds left. Both teams have gotten off to a strong start in their first two games, but they also face a formidable challenge in their next game. The Sooners are 2.5-point favorites against No. 3 Texas A&M in their Sweet 16 matchup, while the Wildcats have been listed as four-point favorites against No. 3 Miami in this Thursday's Big East/ACC showdown.
I picked against both Oklahoma (against Texas A&M) and Villanova (against Miami) in these exact same matchups in my original bracket, and I am sticking to my guns that the Big Dance ends this Thursday for both of these No. 2's.
NCAA Tournament Winner is a No. 1 Seed?
With all four No. 1 seeds advancing to the Sweet 16, the odds now favor a "yes" that a No. 1 seed will win it all with a -165 moneyline. The odds that all four go down in a loss have been set at +135. The simple fact that all four teams are alive and well adds some tremendous value to going with the added risk of "yes" in this prop, but the two main reasons I am going this way are Kansas and North Carolina.
This was my original pick for the matchup in the national title game on Monday, April 4, and everything I have seen from both of these national powers in the first two rounds has them pointed in the exact same direction. The Tar Heels' road to the Finals is a bit bumpier starting with Friday's Sweet 16 matchup against Indiana as 5.5-point favorites. However, with Michigan State out of the way, the path from there opens up. North Carolina's toughest competition could be Virginia in the Final Four. However, since the Cavaliers are also a No. 1 seed, that would be a win-win matchup for me.
The Jayhawks appear to be primed for a title run after finishing the regular season and the Big 12 Tournament on a winning note. Add in the first two victories in this tournament, and it all adds up to a 16-game winning streak. Kansas will play Maryland on Thursday as a 6.5-point favorite, and lurking down the road are teams such as Miami or Villanova in their own region. From there, the Jayhawks could be pitted against Duke, Texas A&M or Oklahoma in the Final Four. However, if it happens to be No. 1 Oregon, I am faced with another win-win situation.
Will Two or More No. 1 Seeds Reach the Final Four?
The betting odds that two or more No. 1 seeds reach the Final Four have been set at -170 for yes and +140 for no. Given the favorable scenario I already laid out above, I would also go with the added risk on the moneyline and say yes.
If you really want to roll the dice that all four No. 1 seeds advance to Houston in this year's Final Four, you would stand to make +1400 on a $100 wager, but I don't think that will be the case. Even the betting odds for three of the four No. 1 seeds making it all the way to the Final Four at +250 betting odds would be a risky bet. That being said, my confidence level that two of the four No. 1 seeds survive to reach the Final Four remains rather high.
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