For your consideration:
Will Kansas Make the Elite 8? NO +110
There are land mines set up all over the place for the Jayhawks. They’re obviously a very good team, but there’s something off about them to me and they have obvious flaws. I think they’re a real threat to lose to either Miami or Michigan State in the second round. I like Miami against them better than the alternative, but the alternative is Tom Izzo.
The Sweet 16 is going to likely feature Iowa State, Nevada, or Purdue. Obviously ISU can play with them given that the Cyclones won at Phog Allen. Nevada’s got a pro or two and the guards and wings to compete with the Jayhawks. Purdue presents a monstrous frontcourt that might expose the lack of depth in that area for KU.
Will UCLA Make the Sweet 16? NO +165
I’m willing to die on the anti-UCLA hill. They’ll probably beat Kent State, but the Bruins are the most likely candidate to get overconfident and not take their first round opponent seriously. Whoever they get in the second round between Cincy and K-State, that team is gonna do their damnedest to make the Bruins grind it out in the halfcourt.
Who Has More Wins: Xavier or MTSU? XAVIER +110
In the Day 1 picks I took Xavier and bet against MTSU, so this isn’t a big surprise. You’ll get better odds if you just parlay the two, but this option at least let’s you get your money back if they both lose. I think the odds are the same they advance out of the second round, but you’d have to pay -140 for MTSU in this bet.
A-10 Wins: O/U 1.5? OVER +120
I like VCU and Rhode Island in their first round matchups and while I don’t think Dayton beats Wichita, they still have a pretty good chance. I think all of them could win multiple games.
Region to Win? SOUTH +250
Talent tends to win out this time of year and I think the South region has the most talent at the top.
Theoretically every region should be +250, but it’s Vegas and the South actually has the second worst odds.
I’m not in love with UNC, but they’re still very talented and there’s a great chance they stick around until the Elite 8. I filled out a bracket and ended up with Kentucky as my champion. I’ve repeatedly called UCLA overrated, but I could be wrong and their offensive skill could be enough to win it all. Oh, and there’s another KenPom top 10 team – Wichita – that’s in the South.
I think weird shit could happen in the other three regions. The top-end talent isn’t as recognizable.
I also liked the East region for this, but I think SMU or Wisconsin could win it and I don’t think they’ll beat the blue bloods in Glendale.
How Many #2 Seeds Make the Final Four? THREE +700
Said bracket has three 2 seeds in it, with the fourth – Arizona – making the Elite 8. Generally, I think the 2 seeds have an easier path to the Elite 8 than the 1 seeds do, largely due to my perceived weakness of the 3 seeds.
First #1 Seed Eliminated? KANSAS +240
I think there’s very little chance Gonzaga or UNC loses the first weekend, based on their draws. I also don’t value the 4/5 teams in their region very highly. I think Villanova got a pretty tough draw for being the defending national champs and the overall #1 seed, but I trust them a lot more than Kansas.
East Region Winner? SMU +600
I only see three teams possible of winning it and Nova and Duke have pretty low odds, so here we are. The Mustangs were second overall in the MLPPR.
Midwest Region Winner? MIAMI +5000
I think if there’s a region to get weird, it’s the Midwest. Might as well take a longshot and roll with Jimmy Larranaga.
South Region Winner? WICHITA ST. +1000
They’ve got a tough road, but I feel like Gregg Marshall should have our trust at this point.
West Region Winner? NOTRE DAME +1000
The weakest region by my estimation and the Irish continue to get no respect, despite their performances in the ACC regular season and conference tournament.