Predicting March Madness an Insane Endeavour in 2017

Posted on: February 23, 2017, 11:15h. 

Last updated on: February 23, 2017, 11:15h.

March Madness is just two weeks away, and for those who are setting odds on the men’s basketball tournament, plenty of unknowns remain on which team is the best in the country.

March Madness odds sports betting Duke
Duke lost last night, but in the minds of oddsmakers, they’re still the team to beat in March Madness. (Image: John Angelillo/UPI)

Last night didn’t help. #10 Duke was one of the hottest programs, riding a seven-game winning streak that included road victories over #20 Notre Dame and #14 Virginia, as well as an at-home win over in-state rival #8 UNC.

During the run, sportsbooks shrunk the odds of the Blue Devils winning another national championship. Bovada’s most recent listing has Duke at +700, the best odds in the country, of going all the way. But last night, Duke was upended by an unranked Syracuse team on a last-second buzzer-beater.

The defending champion Villanova Wildcats, ranked #2 in the latest AP poll, also fell last night, though it was to a ranked team in #22 Butler.

The loss ended Nova’s own seven-game win streak, and puts the school at +1000 to repeat.

Betting on Gonzaga

The #1 Gonzaga Bulldogs are the only remaining undefeated team in Division I men’s basketball. But since they play in the West Coast Conference, the 28-0 group isn’t perhaps getting the respect in Vegas they might deserve.

Oddsmakers like teams that play in one of the so-called “major conferences.” The power five consists of the ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12, and SEC.

While Duke is playing teams like #8 UNC, #7 Louisville, and #18 Virginia, Gonzaga is taking on against schools like Pepperdine, BYU, and the University of San Francisco. That said, the Bulldogs are blowing games wide open and have three wins over ranked opponents, their best win coming against Arizona, now ranked #3 in the nation.

Their record is unblemished, but oddsmakers and sports bettors are struggling to get onboard. Books have Gonzaga at 17-2 to win the men’s tournament next month.

Duke Looses, Still Team to Beat

Despite the Blue Devils loss, their sixth of the year, the team is still the favorite in Las Vegas. Online sports betting sites including Bovada, 5Dimes, and SportBet also still believe in coach Mike Krzyzewski’s squad.

But before the March Madness tournament is set, bettors will get more proof on whether the continued enthusiasm is warranted.

Duke will host #19 Florida State on February 28th, and cap off the regular season by traveling to Chapel Hill to play UNC. The Tar Heels beat #7 Louisville last night, and should improve on their #8 ranking in the polls.

Duke will then play in the ACC tournament before beginning its quest to give Coach K his sixth NCAA Division I championship. For those who don’t think the Blue Devils have what it takes, there’s plenty of attractive betting opportunities.

Have a Lot of Faith

March Madness is an exciting time for sports bettors who took long odds on a Cinderella story. The unexpected is expected in college basketball, and books cater to the dreamers.

Teams likely to just barely sneak into the bracket have little to no real chance of winning it all, but that doesn’t stop bettors from taking seemingly absurd lines.

March Madness is expected to be truly mad this year, as there is no clear favorite to run away with the men’s NCAA basketball tournament next month.

Teams like Seton Hall, Texas A&M, Pittsburgh and Clemson all are at +50000 to win the title. Place just a $1 wager, and if any of those teams end up the last school standing, a $500 win is yours.