LAS VEGAS (AP) — March Madness isn’t just about filling out — and later trashing — brackets. There are more ways to bet the field in the NCAA Tournament, an event that will consume basketball fans over the next three weeks. Here’s a look at the favorites, underdogs and long shots.
WHO’S FAVORED TO REACH THE FINAL FOUR?
Earlier this week, top-seeded Houston was the plus-135 favorite to emerge as the Midwest Region representative and play in Houston, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. That means a $100 bet pays $135. The next top team in the region is No. 5 Texas at plus-350.
The most competitive region appears to be the West. Top seed Kansas opened as a slight favorite but later shared that spot with 2-seed UCLA at plus-330 (before the Jayhawks were ousted). No. 3 seed Gonzaga wasn’t far behind at plus-400.
Top seed Purdue was at plus-300 to come out of the East, but the Boilermakers lost in the first round.
WHO’S FAVORED TO WIN THE TITLE?
After a batch of upsets, the favorites heading into the Sweet 16 are (in order, as of March 19): Alabama, Houston, UConn, UCLA, Gonzaga and Texas, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.WHO IS THE BIGGEST UNDERDOG?
If you were looking for the next Saint Peter’s or Loyola-Chicago, check out these options.
Nineteen teams were listed at plus-50,000: Arizona State, Charleston, Colgate, Furman, Grand Canyon, Howard, Iona, Kennesaw State, Kent State, Louisiana-Lafayette, Montana State, Nevada, Northern Kentucky, Oral Roberts, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Texas Southern, UC Santa Barbara, UNC Asheville and Vermont. Furman did advance to the second round with a big win over 4th-seeded Virginia but that was it. Princeton, anyone?
WHAT’S THE BIGGEST SPREAD DIFFERENCE?
The old saying is that life is too short to bet the under, but it’s often the wise play. Some of these totals may give bettors second thoughts before taking the over, but that doesn’t mean it’s the wrong move.