A win is a win if it’s by one point or 100. That’s what the Duke Blue Devils will say after the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament escaped a near upset and advanced to the Sweet 16. We had a close call for one of the top seeds, but that was all we had over the first weekend. In fact the script played out almost according to plan as the No. 1s, 2s and 3s all reached the regional semifinals. And that means the top four teams on the odds board to win the 2019 NCAA men’s basketball national championship haven’t changed.
Duke remains the betting favorite with odds of +250 with Gonzaga and Virginia both at +450. The other No. 1 seed, North Carolina, is the fourth favorite at +800. Only one double-digit seed made it through to the Sweet 16 and there is plenty of value to be had with the Oregon Ducks, who certainly didn’t look like a 12th-seeded team in a pair of big wins over Wisconsin and UC Irvine. The Ducks have the longest odds on the board at +8000.
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Here are the updated college basketball national championship odds.
Odds to win 2019 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament
North Carolina +800
Michigan State +1000
Texas Tech +2000
Florida State +4000
Virginia Tech +4000
There is clearly some separation at the top of the list with the four No. 1s holding down the top spots. I guess that’s why they are seeded where they are. However, we didn’t see any major upsets in the first two rounds and the games are getting tighter as the best of the best advanced to the regional semifinals.
It is difficult to judge teams based on their seeds. If we went by that number alone Virginia would be playing for a trip to the Final Four. The Cavs get No. 12 Oregon in the South Region semifinal on Thursday, but the Ducks are playing like a much higher seeded team.
Winners of 10 games in a row, the Ducks mowed down the competition in San Jose, winning two games by an average of 18.5 points. They have the athleticism to compete with the Cavs on the offensive end and their defense was just as stingy holding their opponents to exactly 54 points in each contest.
There is some history to consider when wagering on a team to win the national championship. The lowest seed ever to win a title since the field was expanded to 64 teams was the Villanova Wildcats, who advanced as the No. 8 seed to upset Georgetown in 1985. In fact, no team seeded below No. 8 has ever reached the title game, let alone win it.
Then again we never had a No. 16 seed beat a No. 1 until last season when Virginia was upset by UMBC, so I guess there is always a time for the first of anything.
There are no bad teams that reach the Sweet 16, so picking a winner is even more of a gamble. It almost seems like this is Duke’s year, though, after the Devils squeaked by UCF. I still don’t know how that last-second putback by Aubrey Dawkins didn’t go in. Some might call it luck. Others, like Mike Krzyzewski, called it a will to win. It takes both to win a national championship, and the Dookies have them.
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