Las Vegas oddsmakers are sleeping off their NFL Playoffs and Super Bowl LI hangovers this week, and fortunately for those who didn’t fare well, there’s plenty of time to regroup.
With both college and pro football over, February marks a relatively lethargic month at Nevada sportsbooks. There is no football or baseball, and the NBA and NHL are in the middle of their seasons.
The good news is that the next marquee event that appeals to Americans is also one of the most bet sporting events of the year: March Madness. Vegas oddsmakers are surely focusing their attention to the NCAA hardwood to learn as much as they can over the next 40 days.
Perhaps the most glorious time of the year, with spring on the horizon and one nail biter after another tuned up on the television, the NCAA announced this week that the 2017 Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament will tip-off on March 12 with Selection Sunday.
In Nevada, Kentucky (15/2), Kansas (8/1), UCLA (8/1), Duke (9/1), and the defending champion Villanova Wildcats (9/1) round out the top five college basketball futures to win the tournament. Undefeated Gonzaga and North Carolina follow closely at 10/1.
Over the next few weeks, betting traffic in the Silver State will be rather mundane. And after a wild 12 months, some oddsmakers are presumably glad to have a bit of down time.
In sports, the last 365 days have been quite a rollercoaster ride.
Madness Goes Insane
A year ago this April, #2 seed Villanova beat #1 North Carolina on a three-point buzzer beater to give the Wildcats, a small Catholic University in the Philadelphia suburbs, its first college basketball title since 1985. The two-point underdogs won by three, and also covered the over.
Finals Finally Gives Cleveland Title
Then there was the Cleveland Cavaliers, led by LeBron James, that gave the city its first major professional sports title in 52 years. Down 3-1 to the defending champion Warriors in the NBA Finals, the Cavs overcame seemingly insurmountable odds to beat Golden State in seven.
Next up, the Chicago Cubs. The franchise hadn’t won the World Series since 1908, and like the Cavs, were down 3-1, ironically to the Cleveland Indians. The series went seven, with the Cubbies winning in the 10th inning.
Tide Doesn’t Roll
Undefeated Alabama entered the College Football Playoff National Championship as a 6.5-point favorite over Clemson. Down 24-14 entering the fourth quarter, the Tigers made a miraculous comeback by scoring 21 unanswered points to win the title.
Brady Being Brady
Finally, a historic Super Bowl LI. A three-point favorite, the New England Patriots were down 28-3 in the third quarter before going all Clemson-like and running off 25 unanswered.
Whatcha Got, 2017?
It’s hard to argue that the last 12 months might have just been the best year for championship title games in the history of sports. One upset, one comeback, one buzzer-beater after another.
It wouldn’t seem that the odds favor a more exciting period ahead, but the sports year now behind us might attract new bettors to test their lucky and knowledge in Las Vegas in 2017. Rest up, oddsmakers.