The Duke Blue Devils are strong +225 favorites to cut down the nets in the 2019 NCAA Tournament. But the Blue Devils are even stronger favorites to advance to the Final Four from the East Region at -170 on the 2019 March Madness props as the top overall seed in the Big Dance.
Duke beat out two more schools from the ACC as the top seed, but the Virginia Cavaliers (South) and North Carolina Tar Heels (Midwest) still earned No. 1 seeds in their respective regions while the Gonzaga Bulldogs (West) are the fourth. All of them are listed as favorites to advance to the Final Four as well, but you can get much better odds on the Cavaliers, Tar Heels and Bulldogs making it compared to the Blue Devils.
North Carolina has the best payout of the other three No. 1 seeds at +185 to win the Midwest but also might have the most competition with five contenders currently sitting at +1000 or less on the betting board.
The second-seeded Kentucky Wildcats are the +275 second choice behind the Tar Heels followed by the third-seeded Houston Cougars (+550), fifth-seeded Auburn Tigers (+900), sixth-seeded Iowa State Cyclones (+900) and fourth-seeded Kansas Jayhawks (+1000). Oddsmakers obviously do not believe in the seeding of the Jayhawks in a down year for the program that saw them fail to at least tie for the Big 12 regular-season crown for the first time in 15 seasons.
In the East, Duke is the heavy favorite, but the second-seeded Michigan State Spartans hold some value as the +350 second choice on those 2019 March Madness props.
The Spartans defeated the Michigan Wolverines for the third time this year last Sunday to win the Big Ten Conference Tournament, and they probably should have been placed in any other region but the East considering they are the fifth-ranked team in country according to the AP Top 25. Instead, they must try to get past the Blue Devils, much to the dismay of head coach Tom Izzo, who has done one of his best jobs with his team this season. The good news for Michigan State though is that the region is fairly weak outside of Duke.
Virginia may have the toughest road to the Final Four based on the other contenders seeded second through fourth. But the Cavaliers are the second-biggest favorites to win their region at +125 on those 2019 March Madness props followed by the second-seeded Tennessee Volunteers (+300), third-seeded Purdue Boilermakers (+550) and fourth-seeded Kansas State Wildcats (+1000).
The defending national champion Villanova Wildcats are also in the mix as the sixth seed with odds of +800, putting them between Purdue and Kansas State. Villanova has won the national championship in two of the previous three years but has lost a lot of talented players to the NBA and graduation during that stretch.
Perhaps the most vulnerable of the No. 1 seeds is Gonzaga because the school comes from such a weak league in the West Coast Conference. However, the Bulldogs did a great job of scheduling highly ranked non-conference opponents this season, including the Blue Devils, Tar Heels and Volunteers. They lost to Tennessee and North Carolina in back-to-back games after upsetting Duke, and the school’s only other loss was 60-47 in the WCC Tournament title game versus the Saint Mary’s Gaels as 15-point favorites.
The second-seeded Wolverines are the +275 second choice on those 2019 March Madness props in the West followed by the third-seeded Texas Tech Red Raiders (+500) and fourth-seeded Florida State Seminoles (+600).
Michigan went to the Final Four as the No. 3 seed in the West last season and proceeded to lose in the national title game for the second time in six years. Texas Tech has never made it to the Final Four while Florida State appeared back in 1972. Gonzaga made its lone Final Four appearance two seasons ago before falling to North Carolina 71-65 as a one-point underdog for the championship game.