How NCAA Tournament Seeds Compare to Bookie National Championship Odds
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 contend for first place.
One method I look to when filling out one of my brackets is the Las Vegas 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 line makers 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 regions features the No.1 overall team in the country in the Virginia Cavaliers. Despite earning the No. 1 overall seed, the Cavaliers are in an awfully tough region with the likes of Cincinnati, Arizona, Tennessee and Kentucky. While Virginia may be the favorite to emerge from the South Region at +130, they are not the tournament betting favorites (second favorites at +550 behind Villanova). The next favorites in the South region are Cincinnati (+280) Arizona (+350) and Tennessee (+650). If these odds are any indication, we shouldn't be shocked to see the Cavaliers take on the Bearcats in the Elite Eight.
Something that stood out to me when going over the odds for the South region is the fact that No.12 Davidson has better odds to win the tournament than No.9 Kansas State and No. 10 Texas. Davidson takes on Kentucky in the opening round and are currently 5.5-point underdogs .
The West region might be the most unpredictable region from top to bottom. Teams like Xavier (+1600 to win the tournament outright), Michigan (+1600), North Carolina (+1800), and Gonzaga (+2000), have all shown brilliance at times this year. What's confusing to me, though, is that UNC is the odds-on favorite to win the region but is behind Xavier in the overall tournament betting odds. I understand that UNC is the defending champion and that champions don't repeat very often, but I'd rather have my money on the team from Chapel Hill.
Odds to win the region are as follows: North Carolina +250, Gonzaga +333, Michigan +400, Xavier +450 and Ohio State +1000. Las Vegas expects a showdown between Gonzaga and UNC in the Elite Eight, but Michigan looks poised to spoil those plans.
The East Region looks like the weakest region of the bunch. No. 1 seed Villanova is the clear-cut favorite to advance out of the Region at +120. The Wildcats are also the tournament betting favorites at +525. Going off odds alone, the East Region is seemingly on a path to an Elite Eight matchup that pits No.1 Villanova against No.2 Purdue. The Boilermakers are currently +290 to win the region and +1200 to win the tournament. Behind them, West Virginia checks in at +650 to win the region, while Texas Tech and Wichita are +1000.
There are no surprises when it comes to the odds in this region. The top half of the seeds are the better teams on paper, so I would be hesitant to predict any crazy upsets in the first two rounds of the tournament. Once the field dwindles down to the Sweet 16, I would try to find a matchup that features a mismatch in styles and look to exploit that potential upset.
This region features the likes of Duke (+750 to win the tournament outright), Michigan State (+850), Kansas (+1400), and Auburn (+6000). Despite the Jayhawks being gifted with the No.1 seed, the Blue Devils and Spartans both have a better chance to reach the Finals than the Jayhawks, according to the bookies.
The odds to win the region are as follows: Duke +205, Michigan State +230, Kansas +270, Auburn +850 and TCU +1500. In my opinion, despite being the No.1 seed, the odds on 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 rather trust Duke or Michigan State - two disciplined programs with coaches who know how to get their team to perform at the maximum level.
However, barring any major upsets, the Elite Eight will pit the Blue Devils against the Jayhawks, since Duke and Michigan State will run into each other in the Sweet 16.
Using the current odds to win each region, you would end up with a Final Four matchup between Villanova and Duke on the right side of the bracket and a battle between UNC and Virginia 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 Wildcats and Cavaliers are one-two in the betting odds at +525 and +550, respectively, so that would be chalkiest finals 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 Final for the first time in in the history of their programs.
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