Aside from the Final Four, the most anticipated day in all of college basketball is Selection Sunday, when 68 of the nation’s top teams, conference champions and at-large bids, are officially tabbed to compete in the NCAA Division 1 men’s basketball tournament.
And after yesterday’s Selection Sunday announcement, the 2017 NCAA tournament bracket is officially set – signaling the start of feverish betting on first-round games.
With the full field now set, and the path to potential regional-deciding matchups clear, online sportsbook Bovada has released championship odds for each of the 68 contenders.
At the top of the bracket, Villanova (31-3) earned the tournament’s top overall seed out of the East Region. Even so, these Wildcats find themselves tied with those from Arizona (30-4) – the second-seed in the South – along with the top-seeded Jayhawks of Kansas (28-4) in the Midwest, with odds of (+800) to win it all.
That puts the trio in third place, behind top-seeded North Carolina (27-7; +700) in the South, and Bovada’s favorite to win it all Duke (27-8; +600) in the East.
The fact that the Blue Devils have fewer wins and a non-number one seed, but still sit atop the betting board, speaks to the experience of legendary head coach Mike Krzyzewski. It takes players to put up points though, and Duke is powered by sophomore guard Luke Kennard and freshman forward Jayson Tatum in that regard.
Another role reversal in terms of seeding comes from the West, where top-seeded Gonzaga (32-1; +900) has the best win-loss record in the land – but not the best odds to win a title out of their region. That honor goes to aforementioned Arizona, who many bracketologists are labeling a dark horse candidate to down the ‘Zags en route to the Final Four in their backyard of Glendale, Arizona.
While bettors have 68 teams to choose from, only 24 of those offer odds better than 100 to 1, so more than one-third of the bracket is ostensibly comprised of Cinderella stories that aren’t likely to be told.
In terms of value, teams like Louisville (24-8; +1600) – the second-seed in the Midwest – and the East’s third seed Baylor (25-7; +2800) are decent sleeper picks.
The four “play-in” games take place on Tuesday and Wednesday, while full-fledged First Round action tips off on Thursday and Friday. For odds on all 68 NCAA tournament contenders, as offered by Bovada, see the table below:
2017 NCAA Tournament Odds
|Team||NCAA Tournament Odds on 3/13|
|St. Mary’s (CA)||+7500|
|Middle Tennessee State||+25000|
|East Tennessee State||+100000|
|Florida Gulf Coast||+100000|
|Mount St. Mary’s||+100000|
|New Mexico State||+100000|
|South Dakota State||+100000|