Showdown Saturday Dismantled The NCAAB Final Four Odds
As the month of February draws to a close, college basketball fans begin to get a little excited. Why? Because that means it will soon be time for March Madness, of course! Selection Sunday will be here before you know it, and the stage will be set for another memorable and exciting NCAA tournament.
That also means it will be time to fill out your brackets and place your bets. Fans will have to figure out the tough questions. Who is going to get upset in the first couple of rounds? Who will be this year’s Cinderella team? Which blue bloods are built to last?
Picking a winner is always fun, but if you are torn between a few teams, then maybe choosing the Final Four is the way to go for you.
Final Four Odds: It’s A Tough Crowd This Year
The easiest thing to do would be to just look at the top 25 and go with the top four teams—Kansas, Baylor, Gonzaga, and Dayton. According to the oddsmakers at DraftKings, you would have three of them in Kansas (-134), Baylor (-125), and Gonzaga (-125).
All three are not bad choices and will likely be No. 1 seeds in their respective brackets. Between them, they have lost only seven games and have owned the No. 1 spot in the top 25 for most of the season. But at least one, if not two, of them will not make it. The last time three 1-seeds made the Final Four was 2015.
Only one 1-seed made it last year, and two made it in ’18 and ’17. Since 2000, only one 1-seed made it to the Final Four nine times, and two made it just six times (not counting times where three or all four made it).
So—how about the best of the rest? With the number of good teams in college basketball this season, there are plenty of good candidates. However, there are few that could legitimately be called great ones.
DraftKings oddsmakers have 11 teams outside of the top three with odds of +500 or better:
- Duke +200
- Dayton +275
- Louisville +300
- Maryland +300
- Florida State +400
- Kentucky +400
- San Diego State +450
- Villanova +450
- Auburn +500
- Michigan State +500
- Oregon +500
Reading the NCAAB Final Four Odds Tea Leaves
How do you choose among those teams? Do you trust Duke, a team that hasn’t made it to the Final Four since 2015 and recently lost to unranked Wake Forest? Auburn made it there last year as a 5-seed and has been one of the better teams in the country this year (No. 15 in the AP; 23-4). But two of their four losses were recent and against lackluster Georgia and Missouri squads.
Maryland is a top-ten team and was riding a nine-game winning streak before their recent loss to Ohio State. It is hard to have faith in a Louisville team that has lost three of its last five or a Michigan State team with nine losses on the season, including four of their last seven.
Villanova missed the Final Four last season but did make two of the last four. Florida State is looking good this year and could make the Final Four for the second time in program history. It is always easy to bet on Kentucky, too, even though they last made it that far in 2015.
Oregon would be a solid choice as would San Diego State, but is there a team with longer odds that could shock the world?
What about West Virginia (NCAAB Final Four Odds +725)? With losses in five of their last six games, it may be kind of hard to justify putting money on them. But what about last year’s surprise team, Texas Tech (+850)? Or 2018 national runner-up, Michigan (+900)?
Both have good teams, but it may be difficult to see either going on the kind of run they would need to make this year.
At least one 5-seed or higher has made the Final Four in each of the last seven years. So, teams that appear to be good but not great like Creighton (+1400), Houston (+1150), or Florida (NCAAB Final Four Odds +2050) shouldn’t be counted out just yet.
With 68 teams and no room for error, there is no telling what will happen.