The NCAA Tournament has been a memorable one thus far. From buzzer-beaters, to half-court, game-winning shots, and to blown 12-point leads with under one minute to go, we’ve seen it all.
The NCAA Tournament is unpredictable because there are 68 teams in the field. Teams have to win at least six games just to win it all. That means anyone can get upset in a given game if they have an off game, or their opponent shoots lights out.
That doesn’t mean I think you should avoid betting against the NCAA Tournament odds altogether. There can still be some value to be had, but there isn’t much value if you just bet the favorites.
That being said, my bracket does have most of the favorites in the Final Four. My pick to win it all from the beginning was North Carolina +625.
I also had Michigan State, Kansas and Oregon in my Final Four. While the Spartans went out first round, the Jayhawks and Ducks were both bounced in the Elite 8 by Villanova and Oklahoma, respectively, over the weekend.
Now we’re down to four teams left with UNC, Oklahoma and Villanova. But there’s one huge surprise making the trip to Houston. That would be the No. 10 seed Syracuse Orange, who many believed didn’t even belong in the NCAA Tournament. Let’s take a look at the four teams left and their odds to win the championship.
North Carolina (+105)
Now the Tar Heels are the prohibitive favorite to win it all at +105 odds entering the Final Four. I really like my +625 ticket now that I put in at the beginning of the NCAA Tournament.
North Carolina routed Indiana 101-86 in the Sweet 16 as 5-point favorites, and then topped Notre Dame 88-74 as 9.5-point favorites in the East Region Final.
The Tar Heels now catch a bit of a break in getting to play a No. 10 seed in Syracuse. They are 9-point favorites over the Orange, who they beat by 11 points at home and by 5 points on the road to sweep the season series.
Perhaps the most impressive team over the weekend was the Wildcats. They routed Miami 92-69 as 4-point favorites before upsetting No. 1 overall seed Kansas 64-59 as 2-point underdogs.
It makes sense that the Wildcats are the second favorite to win the championship when you consider that they are 2-point favorites to beat Oklahoma in Houston in the Final Four. But whoever wins that game will be an underdog to North Carolina if the Tar Heels advance.
The Sooners were also extremely impressive over the weekend. They dominated No. 3 seed Texas A&M 77-63 as 2.5-point favorites in the Sweet 16. They followed that up with an 80-68 win over No. 1 seed Oregon as a 1-point underdog in the West Region Final.
There’s no denying that the Sooners have the best player left in the tournament in Buddy Hield, who has scored a combined 117 points in four games thus far. If he stays red hot, they are going to be very tough to beat. However, they are 2-point underdogs to Villanova.
The surprise of the tournament is clearly the Orange, who were the No. 10 seed in their region. They got a break when Michigan State lost in the first round as they would have had to play the Spartans in the Round of 32.
But Syracuse continues to take advantage of its breaks. It rallied past Gonzaga 63-60 as 4-point underdogs in the Sweet 16, then did it again against Virginia in a 68-62 win as 8-point underdogs. The Orange trailed by 14 at halftime in that game.
But the Orange certainly aren’t getting any more breaks now. They are massive 9-point underdogs to North Carolina in the Final Four, a team that they have already lost two twice by a combined 16 points in their two previous meetings this season.
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