I'm sure by now we've all heard about how putting together a perfect bracket is likely never to happen in our life time. We at Doc's Sports fully understand that and we are doing what it takes to help you come up with solid methods on how to put together the best possible bracket for your office tournaments. It won't be perfect, but the tips should help you contend for first place.
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One method I look to when filling out one of my brackets is the Oddsmaker Method. I just named it now, but this method avoids looking at things like stats, trends, home/away records KPI, RPI, SOS and any other three-letter abbreviation you can think of. This method focuses on the linesmakers work, and all you have to do is open your eyes and trust those responsible for keeping Las Vegas rich.
The oddsmakers in Las Vegas have already done the heavy lifting for you. They release the futures odds and are fairly confident nobody will beat the system. That's why the saying "the house always wins" may be the most accurate term when it comes to betting. I would much rather side with the Las Vegas sportsbooks than the betting public.
For the nature of this article, I've decided to use the futures odds in filling in my bracket. This method is dependant on favorites coming through with wins.
I will break down each region for you and try to help you understand what the books are predicting in terms of odds and matchups. As always, odds are courtesy of Bovada .
The South Region features three of the most prolific NCAA programs in
history. Kentucky, North Carolina and UCLA account for 25 National
Titles between the three of them. This bracket is stacked, and that is
evident when you look at the futures odds. North Carolina currently
sits at +600 (co-favorite) to cut down the nets in Phoenix on April 3,
while UCLA and Kentucky check in at +1000. If these odds are any
indication, we shouldn't be shocked to see a UNC vs UCLA/Kentucky Elite
Eight matchup as the Tar Heels got the benefit of being placed in the
upper portion of the bracket.
Odds to win the region are as follows: UNC +110, Kentucky +300 and UCLA +450. Beyond that, the next team in line is Butler +1200. Las Vegas expects what we all hope to see - a dynamic and historic Elite Eight showdown.
Something shocking stood out to me when going over the odds for the South Region. Middle Tennessee State - a 12-seed- is currently +4000 to advance to the Final Four. That is better odds than the No.8, 9, and 11 seed. Not to mention, they are currently a one-point favorite to beat the No. 5 seeded Minnesota Golden Gophers.
The West region might be the most competitive region from top to bottom. Teams like Gonzaga (+900 to win the tournament outright), Arizona (+700), Florida State (+4000), West Virginia (+2500), Notre Dame (+5000) and Maryland (+10000) have all shown brilliance at times this year. It should come as no surprise to you to see Arizona a slight favorite over Gonzaga to win the tournaments because they have a supposed "easier" path to the Championship Game.
Odds to win the region are as follows: Gonzaga +160, Arizona +225, West Virginia +550, Florida State +600. Las Vegas expects a showdown between Gonzaga and Arizona in the Elite Eight, but West Virginia looks poised to spoil those plans.
Looking at this region as a whole, there would be no "upsets" in the making should all the higher seeds win their opening-round game. All of the higher seeds have the lower odds to advance and would be the betting favorite come game time.
The East Region features the No.1 overall seed - Villanova. They are currently not the favorites to defend their crown, checking in at +800, which is behind Duke, UNC, Arizona and Kansas. However, they are being tabbed as favorites to at least crack the Final Four as they sit at +160. Next in line is Duke at +250, and then it drops off to SMU at +800.
Interestingly enough, SMU (a six-seed) has better odds to win the region than No. 3 Baylor, No. 4 Florida and are tied with No. 5 Virginia. I am a firm believer in the product over at SMU, so I am not exactly surprised by this. I believe they can get through Providence/USC and then (likely) Baylor to set up a showdown with Duke in the Sweet 16.
This region features the likes of Kansas (+700 to win the tournament outright), Louisville (+1800), Oregon (+2500) and Purdue (+2500). Only the Jayhawks and Cardinals are within the Top-10 favorites, which means the winner of this year's tournament will likely come out of one of the other three regions.
The odds to win the region are as follows: Kansas +180, Louisville +375, Oregon +450, Purdue +600, Iowa State +1000 and Michigan +1000. In my opinion, the favorites from Kansas simply aren't worth it after looking a bit further into the Jayhawks' history at the tournament. Despite a 2008 tournament win, they tend to crash out of the tournament rather unceremoniously. I would look at Purdue or Iowa State for not only value plays but also confidence in their abilities to handle Kansas in the Sweet 16.
Using the current odds to win each region, you would end up with a Final Four matchup between Villanova and Gonzaga on the left side of the bracket and a battle between UNC and Kansas on the other side. I would be willing to bet that the Final Four features a maximum of two of the four teams mentioned above.
Turning to the odds to win the national title, the Tar Heels and Blue Devils are current co-favorites at +600, which would make this the likeliest outcome. However, we all know the game isn't played on paper or on the tote board. Both teams will need to play well and get a few good bounces to meet in the NCAA finals for the first time in the illustrious history of their programs.
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