- When the Super Bowl ends college basketball will take center stage for many fans.
- Selection Sunday is March 17.
- Duke is a heavy favorite, other contenders offer value.
Several weeks into conference play, the cream has started to rise to the top in most college basketball leagues. When we last looked at the 2019 NCAA Tournament odds, Duke was a big favorite, with Gonzaga the clear second choice.
Our suggestion at that time was to bet on Virginia and Michigan State, which both seemed like value picks. Both the Cavs and Spartans have seen their odds drop significantly.
In our view, there are only 9 or 10 teams that can legitimately win it all, but there are a few bets that seem worthwhile as we head into the stretch drive.
Let’s look at the updated odds to cut down the nets in Minneapolis.
All odds are from BetOnline.ag.
NCAA Basketball Championship Odds
|Team||Odds to win 2019 March Madness|
The Favorite: Duke
When you have three of the first half-dozen picks in the next NBA draft, it makes sense that your team is the favorite. Add in a Hall of Fame coach and the Blue Devils are heavy chalk for a reason. That said, they’ve lost to Gonzaga and Syracuse, and have only reached the Final Four once in the last eight seasons.
Top Challenger: Virginia
There is going to be a stigma with UVA in this year’s tournament. Last year, they lost to UMBC in the first round, becoming the first #1 seed to lose to a #16 in the big dance. While Tony Bennett has built a perennial power, Virginia has not been to the Final Four since 1984.
However, they are much better offensively than they have been in the recent past, still incredibly stingy on defense, and De’Andre Hunter being healthy will make all the difference compared to last year.
The Value Picks: Gonzaga and Nevada
It is unclear why the odds on Gonzaga have gone up. They have two losses (Tennessee on a neutral and at North Carolina) and own wins over Duke, Arizona, and Washington.
Sure, the WCC is not the ACC, but they have won six leagues game by an average margin of 25 points a game. Early on, including during the win over Duke, they were without Killian Tillie, one of their best players. The Zags have an excellent opportunity to go to the Final Four.
If you are looking for a little bit bigger price, consider Nevada. The Wolf Pack are a mid-major squad in league only; their entire roster seems to have transferred from power-five schools. Coach Eric Musselman has an NBA pedigree, and they are 19-1 this season. Last year, they lost by a point in the Sweet 16.