2019 March Madness Seeds vs. National Championship Futures Odds
Putting together a perfect NCAA Tournament bracket is unlikely to happen in our lifetime -- or in anyone else's lifetime. It's just not going to happen. But a very good bracket is possible, and we at Doc's Sports 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 pools. It won't be perfect, but the tips should help you contend for the top prize and unlimited bragging rights.
A method-among many-worth looking at is one the eliminates factors like stats, trends, home/away records, KPI, RPI, SOS, and all other three-letter abbreviations you can concoct. It is strictly based on odds, focusing exclusive on the linesmakers who never fail in making Las Vegas rich.
As always, the oddsmakers in Las Vegas have already done the heavy lifting
for you by releasing futures odds for the NCAA Tournament. If "the house
always wins," as they say, which teams will be winning over the next three
weeks? Let's find out, region by region.
All odds courtesy of MyBookie.ag
Duke is favored to win the entire tournament, so it only makes sense that Zion Williamson and company are considerable favorites to emerge victorious in the East (-170). But those regional odds for the Blue Devils may have been even more lopsided had they landed with a No. 2 seed other than Michigan State. Given that Duke is the No. 1 overall seed, it is curious that the Spartans-generally accepted as the team with the fifth-best resume to just miss out on the top line-are in the same region. Head coach Tom Izzo's team, which is coming off a Big Ten Tournament title, are +350 to reach the Final Four. Interestingly, fourth-seeded Virginia Tech (+900) is well ahead of No. 3 seed LSU (+1400) in the odds department and even more massively in front of fifth-seeded Mississippi State (+2000). Second-round contests between No. 4s and No. 5s are often expected to be competitive, but in this case, Vegas has the Hokies as a safe bet to reach the Sweet 16.
In the East, only two teams have better than +900 odds to prevail. The story is a much different one out West, where four Final Four hopefuls find themselves at no worse than +650. That is the number for fourth-seeded Florida State, which is behind region top seed Gonzaga (+110), Michigan (+300), and Texas Tech (+550). It is worth noting that No. 7 seed Nevada has the same region championship odds (+2000) as No. 5 seed Marquette. That may have a lot to do with the fact that the Golden Eagles have to go up against Ja Morant and Murray State in the opening round. Although this dangerous 5-12 matchup is expected to be competitive ( Marquette is a -3.5 favorite ), the Racers' chances of parlaying a first-round win into future success are not up to par with those of the Golden Eagles (Morant's men are + 10000 in the West)
According to the oddsmakers, the Midwest is the deepest section from top to bottom. Six different representatives are better than +1000 to reach the Final Four as they begin the Big Dance. North Carolina leads the way at +140, and why not? The Tar Heels are the top seed in the Midwest after compiling a 16-2 ACC record and sweeping Duke in the regular season (before losing a conference tournament semifinal thriller against their arch rivals). Still, UNC's success does not appear to be scaring off backers of other contenders in this bracket. Fellow blue bloods Kentucky (a +275 second choice) and Kansas (a +925 sixth choice) are in the mix, along with third-seeded Houston (+500), No. 5 seed Auburn (+800), and No. 6 seed Iowa State (+800). When the SEC Tournament winner is only tied for the fourth favorite in a region and saddled with an even worse seeded (fifth), you know it's loaded.
Based on seeding, of course, the 8-9 and 7-10 matchups are generally the toughest to pick in the first round. According to futures odds, however, that may not be the case in the East. Eighth-seeded Ole Miss (+3000) has a far better shot-albeit not a great one-of making it to Minneapolis than does ninth-seeded Oklahoma (+5000). Seventh-seeded Cincinnati is +1500 to cut down the nets in Louisville, while 10th-seeded Iowa is much further back at +5000. A much more even matchup according to futures is actually the ol' 5 vs. 12. Fifth-seeded Wisconsin is +2200 to triumph in the South, while 12th-seeded Oregon is all the way up at +3000 despite its relatively modest seeding. The Ducks are armed with plenty of momentum after being the last men standing among a motley crew in an unspectacular Pac-12 Tournament.
Using the current odds to win each region, the 2018 Final Four would feature all four No. 1 seeds: Duke vs. Gonzaga and Virginia vs. North Carolina. Now that doesn't sound like an especially interesting bracket; and it's one that not many pool-winning hopefuls like to have. If you want to switch things up at least a little bit, according to the odds you are best served doing so in the West and Midwest. Michigan is a +300 second choice behind Gonzaga to triumph in the West, while Kentucky is a +275 second choice behind UNC to advance out of the Midwest.
As for National Championship odds, Duke may not be favored over the entire field, but it is a heavy favorite nonetheless (+245). Virginia and North Carolina are second at +550, meaning an all-ACC final is expected (but not a rematch of the ACC title tilt, as that pit the Blue Devils against Florida State). If you don't want all No. 1s hanging around, Michigan State is the next best bet at +1200. But the Spartans find themselves in the same region as Duke, so….
Read more articles by Ricky Dimon
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