2019 March Madness Prop Bets and Predictions
When it comes to prop bets, March Madness is absolutely not the Super Bowl. In the Super Bowl you can bet on any possible aspect of the game - and a million things that you would never even think of. NCAA Tournament props are in very short supply, though. Disappointingly so. We'll seek out the best March Madness prop bets, and add some predictions, but it could be so much more interesting than it is. Where's the creativity? You can do better, oddsmakers. The props we will look at are from MyBookie.
Will a No. 1 seed win the title?: The yes is at -150, with the no at +120. In the 34 years of the tournament since it expanded to 64 teams, a top seed has won 22 times. If we had bet over the long term at the price for the yes here, we would have generated an overall profit of four units with a betting size of one unit. A profit is a profit, but that's not great. We need to look at the specifics of this year's bracket to see if we can justify a yes bet. Are Duke, Virginia, UNC, and Gonzaga combined likely to win the tournament more than 60 percent of the time? That's what they need to do to make the yes a profitable bet. They are all very good teams and are justifiably the four favorites to come out on top. And a healthy Zion Williamson, and good health for the other three, is a big factor, too. But the oddsmakers also like all of the two seeds, and No. 3 Texas Tech as well. This feels like a top-heavy tournament, and I have no problem with the suggestion that the top seeds are likely to win - particularly Duke or Gonzaga. But this feels like an aggressive number. I don't have an issue with the suggestion that the yes side is close, but it's not close enough to bet - there is no value here.
How many No. 1 seeds will make the Final Four?: We'll start with the easy ones. The four top seeds are impressive this year, but 2008 was the only time in the 34 years of a 64-team tournament that all four top seeds have won their region. Four pays +800, so the value there is awful. And we have only twice seen no No. 1 seeds advance, and it is hard to believe that all four of these teams will falter early, so +650 for 0 top seeds advancing is far from attractive, too. The tournament feels slightly more top-heavy than normal, with fewer really dangerous lower seeds to be worried about. So, two or three feel like the most likely numbers to me - and I lean towards three. The price is +500 for three, with two at +180. Three would be playable for fun, but not in a search for real value.
Highest point total by one team in the round of 64 - over/under 97.5: Both sides are priced at -120 here. This is a whole lot of points in college basketball. Last year just one team went over - Xavier had 102 against Texas Southern. And the only other team to exceed 89 points was Seton Hall with 94. In 2017 there was two 100-point games, and one at 103. And in 2016 we saw a 105-point game and a 99 pointer. Three straight overs might seem like a promising trend. But the problem is that they went under in the four years before that. It's hard to see any value on either side.
Will an ACC team win the tournament?: Both sides are at -115 here. With three No. 1 seeds and including the best player in the tournament - by far - and two other reasonable contenders in Florida State and Virginia Tech, this is a conference packing a serious punch coming into the tournament. The conference has won five of the last 10 titles. That is very impressive, but not good enough to be profitable over the long term at this price. But the conference hasn't been this loaded in those years. I would lean towards the yes, but more as a rooting interest than a sound investment.
Will a Big Ten team win the tournament?: This one is interesting. The Big Ten has been a deep and competitive team for years, but they have not won the tournament since 2000. That's a serious drought for them as a group. The Big Ten leads the way with eight bids this year, but that's a little deceptive. Michigan State could have been a No. 1, Michigan made the finals last year and is a better team overall this year, but beyond that there are a lot of also-rans. The yes pays +600, but you can get +1200 on the Spartans, and +2000 on the Wolverines. That is a better way to find value if you are a true Big Ten believer.
Will the tournament be won by an auto-bid team (+135) or an at-large (-160)?: This is a very interesting one. Duke, remarkably, is the only top seed that is an auto-bid. On the No. 2 line Michigan State is an auto-bid, but the other three are not. None of the three seeds are auto-bids, and none of the No. 4 squads are, either. So, if you bet the auto-bid side you are essentially just taking Duke and Michigan State - unless you see a longer shot coming through, which I don't feel at all confident about this year. You can get Duke at +250 and Michigan State at +1200, so if you like that side of this bet you could just bet a blend of those two prices and get a better return without significantly more risk.
Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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