Updated NCAA Men’s Tournament Futures Ahead of Final Four

  • The Final Four begins Saturday (Apr. 6) in Minneapolis
  • #1 Virginia and #2 Michigan State are the favorites
  • Value exists in a variety of ways in the futures market

The first weekend of this year’s NCAA Tournament was as chalky as anyone can remember. There were no major upsets and all of the teams expected to advance moved on.

The Sweet 16 and Elite 8 brought havoc. Good night Duke. Adios North Carolina. Thanks for playing Kentucky. It was fun while it lasted Tennessee. You’re so cute, Gonzaga, now go back to the Kennell.

The odds have changed drastically from last week, with so many favorites being dismissed. Let’s look at the futures odds from BetOnline prior to the semifinals.

2019 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship Odds

Team Odds to Win 2019 March Madness
#1 Virginia Cavaliers +150
#2 Michigan State Spartans +200
#3 Texas Tech Red Raiders +450
#5 Auburn Tigers +500

*Odds from 4/1/19

Virginia Cavaliers Outlook

While UVA is the deserving favorite from a power-rankings standpoint, they are still unbelievably fortunate to have reached this point. The Cavaliers are an elite defensive team but prone to close calls as evidenced by not just the Purdue game, but their Sweet 16 slugfest with Oregon.

While Virginia might be the best team, their margin for error is small because they play at such a slow pace. (The fewer possessions there are in a game, the fewer the chances that better players/teams have to be better.) This is the same program that lost to UMBC in the first round of the big dance last year, and they are playing the same Tony Bennett style.

Michigan State Spartans Outlook

Tom Izzo has won a National Title and reached six Final Fours during his tenure at MSU. Every other coach still alive is going to his first Final Four. The Spartans have the best leader left, Cassius Winston, who was nothing short of amazing in the regional final against Duke.

Winston leads a veteran group that defends and rebounds and plays with a toughness fit for a champion.

Texas Tech Red Raiders Outlook

The career arch of Red Raiders coach Chris Beard is astounding. He has found success in many stops because his teams guard as well as Virginia, and have the roll-up-the-sleeves attitude of Michigan State.

Sophomore Jarrett Culver is a likely lottery pick, and gets big buckets when they count for a squad that feels a lot like MSU, with a much better price.

Auburn Tigers Outlooks

When the Tigers won the SEC Tournament, it seemed more like Tennessee had thrown their best punch at Kentucky in the semifinals and then had little left for the championship game.

Sure, Auburn forces turnovers and shoots threes like they are running out of style, but it was hard to envision them taking down Kansas, North Carolina, and Kentucky to reach the Final Four.

Yet, here they are. Can they pull a third straight upset? With Chuma Okeke out, it is hard to see them winning two more games against top opponents.

Best Bet: Texas Tech (+450)

The Red Raiders may not win the title, but they offer by far the best value. They have almost a 50/50 shot at beating Michigan State and play the exact same style as Virginia.

If they face the Cavs for the title it is going to be a one or two-possession game. The price is right for Texas Tech.

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