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It's amazing how quickly the NCAA Tournament starts to dwindle. Of the 68 teams that came into last week with aspirations of winning a National Championship, just 16 remain heading into the new week. But this is where business slows down a bit, and the reality sets in that someone is going to have to win four games in a span of nine or 10 days to win a National Championship, and it's going to take a special team to pull this feat off.
We may as well start with the most chaotic region. We said at the outset of this bracket that we couldn't see anyone aside from Villanova or Duke winning it. Oh well. We were wrong, just like the rest of America. Now that everything has been reset and Florida, Wisconsin, Baylor and South Carolina are the four teams left ( and are quite possibly the four worst teams left in the tourney, might we add ), it's really anyone's game. Wisconsin feels like the least-imposture-ish of the bunch, and at a price of +1500 to win the National Championship, why shouldn't we back a team that has been to the Final Four a couple times in recent memory and has four straight runs into the Sweet 16? Nigel Hayes might be the most complete player left standing in this region.
Gonzaga and Arizona always were the two best shots to win the National Championship out of the West, and though most of the chalk has held up, the team that we like is West Virginia at +1800. Sure, the Mountaineers have a couple tough battles ahead just to get to the Final Four, but if they do happen to get there, they're almost certainly going to be favored to reach the National Championship Game. Still, we recognize that the path ahead just to win the West is a mountain, as the Cats and Dogs of this group are still the overwhelming favorites.
The Midwest was always going to be a lot of fun, and many are going to be picking Michigan to get to the Final Four out of this bracket now that it has gotten out of the first week of the NCAAs and is on a six-game run that included winning the Big Ten Tournament. But this is still Kansas' region to lose, and there's a reason why the Jayhawks are the favorites to win it all at +400. We just can't see them losing to Purdue, and they've got the guard play to take care of both Oregon or Michigan. Will they be favored if they run into North Carolina, Kentucky or UCLA? Maybe not. But they won't be dogs by much, that's for sure.
Butler has to wonder what it did to get stuck in this region. It could have been Florida and been placed in the East and all of a sudden had a great chance to reach the Final Four. Instead, the No. 4 seed in this bracket is 50 to 1 to win the National Championship with virtually no shot of actually getting the job done. All eyes are going to be on Kentucky and UCLA in a rematch from that December duel at Rupp Arena, but this is still UNC's bracket. The Tar Heels gave their C-game against Arkansas and still found a way to turn on the jets at the end and win the game. If that was their dud and they bring their A-game the rest of the way, they'll have a chance to avenge that heartbreaking loss to Nova in last season's title game. A price of +450 is still really good.
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