March Madness Odds Vegas
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March Madness Betting Tips
By Eric Uribe
With Selection Sunday being right around the corner on March 13, we take an early peak at the front runners to cut down the nets during the NCAA Tournament. Below are the current odds of winning the NCAA Tournament, per Bovada.
North Carolina (+600)
Sure, the Tar Heels are the co-favorites, but you may want to pump the brakes on any victory parades. On Monday, North Carolina suffered a a ten-point shellacking at the hands of Virginia. The Tar Heels offensive was sluggish, mustering just 43 points and turning the ball over 12 times. With the loss, the Tar Heels need to top Duke — a team they lost to by 10 points last month — at home to win the conference title outright. Saturday’s matchup between the two rivals will tilt both their odds heavily.
At 25-6 on the season, North Carolina has proven to be battle-tested. They have the sixth highest RPI in the nation and no conference is as stiff as the ACC. But a shaky offense, one that’s shooting 47 percent (48th in the nation), might doom them come tourney time.
The co-favorites have the highest-scoring offense in the nation at 91.6 points per game. The scary part of the Bruins offensive attack is they can score at all angles. UCLA has a whopping six players averaging double-digit points, and collectively shoot just under 53 percent from the field.
This isn’t a one-man show, even with freshman phenom Lonzo Ball. That’s a huge plus in the NCAA Tournament. Even if one of UCLA’s players has a down game, there’s enough offensive firepower around to pick up the slack. The Bruins are averaging a jaw-dropping 21.7 assists per game — a figure that hasn’t been seen in the past 26 years.
It’s easy to compare UCLA’s playing style to the Golden State Warriors. However, unlike the Dubs, we expect the Bruins to finish in the finals and are our pick to win the national championship.
The Jayhawks are the model of consistency in college basketball. Kansas has already locked up their 13th consecutive Big 12 championship. Sure, their 54-game home win streak may be a thing of the past, but the Jayhawks have proven they have ice in their veins. Seven of their 15 conference wins have come by five points or less. Moreover, they are a perfect 5-0 against top-10 opponents this season. That big-game experience will be crucial during the pressure-cooking Big Dance.
Kansas currently sits at 27-3, and after Gonzaga dropped their first game of the season, a No. 1 seed in the tournament likely awaits the Jayhawks. However, recent history shows this team has been prone to upsets. They haven’t reached the Final Four in the last four years, which includes two Round of 32 exits.
A week ago, the Blue Devils were actually the favorites at +600. However, a pair of road losses against Syracuse and Miami in the last week have tumbled the Dukies odds.
The biggest question for Duke is will they be healthy come March Madness? They started their tenth different starting lineup last weekend against Miami. Superstar Grayson Allen missed the loss against the Hurricanes with a lingering ankle injury. Senior leader Amile Jefferson is also nowhere near 100 percent healthy. Heck, even head coach Mike Krzyzewski had back surgery earlier this year.
The laundry-list of injuries have altered Duke’s championship trajectory. But remember, this was the No. 1 ranked team during the preseason and are two years removed from winning the Big Dance. At +1000, that’s good value for this talented squad.
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