Bovada, an oddsmaking firm out of Las Vegas, has produced the odds of each team winning the NCAA Tournament. It’s unscientific and downright silly in some ways, but it’s completely fun. And in some ways enlightening.
* For instance, the odds of OU winning the title: 100/1. The odds of OSU winning the title: 40/1. Now, how does that happen? The Sooners have proven to be the better team over the course of the season.
But it’s completely understandable for a variety of reasons. Some of them relevant, some not. Let’s just go common sense. Does OSU have a better chance of winning it all? Yes, because of elite talent. The Cowboys have Marcus Smart and Markel Brown. The Sooners don’t have a player of that caliber. Not yet anyway. You never know; sometimes March is the launching pad for greatness. But right now, OSU has the elite talent.
The Cowboys have not taken advantage of that talent. They’ve had a disappointing season, falling to eighth place in the tough Big 12, going 8-10 in conference due to a variety of reasons. But the talent is there. OSU has all kinds of holes. Lack of size, lack of depth. But if Smart and Brown play at a high level, and they’re certainly capable, then OSU’s chances start rising
Plus, Bovada isn’t providing these lists just for our entertainment. They’re trying to get suckers to bet. And OSU has a higher profile than does OU this basketball season. Some people bet without a brain. They see a name they know, they’re enticed. You could get some people to bet on Valparaiso in this tournament, and Valpo isn’t even in the field.
* The odds of the favorites don’t seem too far out of line: Florida 11/2, Louisville 13/2, Michigan State 7/1, Arizona 9/1, Virginia 10/1, Kansas 10/1, Wichita State 10/1. The truth is, all of those odds are too low. Anyone making the Final Four is 3/1, because it’s a virtual crapshoot once you’re there. But to get to the Final Four is very difficult. Maybe a Florida is 5/1 or 6/1. But Virginia and Kansas and Wichita State are a lot more than 10/1.
* Big 12 odds: Kansas 10/1, Iowa State 33/1, OSU 40/1, OU 100/1, Texas 100/1, Baylor 100/1, Kansas State 200/1. Let’s forget the numbers for a minute. Who has the best chance to win the NCAA title, among Big 12 teams? I’d say that’s probably in the right order. KU, Iowa State, OSU. I’d put OU ahead of Texas but behind Baylor. The Bears are a flawed team, but they won’t run into a game that they are physically outmatched. OU could.
* Arizona State is a No. 10 seed and from a power conference. The Sun Devils are 500/1. Same as North Dakota State. Talk about a lack of profile.
* Tulsa is 1,000/1, along with every other 13, 14, 15 and 16 seed. Which is goofy. The odds of Cal Poly or Texas Southern winning the national title are about 1,000,000,000/1. That’s a billion. I might be low.
* Wichita State made the Final Four last year as a No. 9 seed and frankly could have won the whole thing. The Shockers took Louisville to the wire in the semifinals. The No. 9 seeds this year are OSU, Kansas State, Pittsburgh (66/1) and George Washington (250/1). If you’re looking for a good bet, some team on which to lay down $5, resist the urge and go buy yourself a sub sandwich. But if you can’t help yourself, George Washington might be a good place to start.
* Bovada also laid odds on each regional. Here’s the West: Arizona 2/1, Wisconsin 4/1, Creighton 4/1, San Diego State 9/1, OSU 12/1, Baylor 14/1, Oregon 14/1, OU 16/1, Gonzaga 18/1, Nebraska 40/1, North Dakota State 50/1, Brigham Young 66/1, Louisiana-Lafayette 75/1, American 100/1, Weber State 100/1, New Mexico State 350/1. Interesting. OU is the No. 5 seed but stands eighth on the West list. Here’s what Vegas thinks the American betting public thinks of the West Regional: 1. Arizona; 2. Wisconsin and Creighton; 4. San Diego State; 5. OSU; 6. Baylor and Oregon; 8. OU; 9. Gonzaga; 10. Nebraska; 11. North Dakota State; 12. BYU; 13. Louisiana-Lafayette; 14. Weber State and American; 16. New Mexico State. So rising were OSU (fifth in odds, ninth in seed), Nebraska (10th in odds, 11th in seed) and North Dakota State (11th in odds, 12th in seed). Falling were OU (eighth in odds, fifth in seed) and BYU (12th in odds, 10th in seed).
* The South Regional: 1. Florida 9/5; 2. Kansas 15/4; 3. Syracuse 5/1; 4. UCLA 9/1 and Virginia Commonwealth 9/1; 6. New Mexico 12/1; 7. Pittsburgh 14/1 and Ohio State 14/1; 9. Stanford 40/1; 10. Dayton 50/1 and Stephen F. Austin 50/1; 12. Colorado 66/1 and Tulsa 66/1; 14. Western Michigan 100/1 and Eastern Kentucky 100/1; 16. Albany 200/1 and Mount St. Mary’s 200/1/. So rising was New Mexico (sixth in odds, seventh seed), Pitt (seventh in odds, eighth in seed), Stanford (ninth in odds, 10th in seed), Dayton (10th in odds, 11th in seed) and Stephen F. Austin (10th in odds, 13th in seeds). Falling was Ohio State (seventh in odds, sixth in seed) and Colorado (ninth in seed, 12th in odds).
* East Regional: 1. Michigan State 5/2; 2. Virginia 11/4; 3. Villanova 15.4; 4. Iowa State 6/1; 5. North Carolina 12/1; 6. Cincinnati 16/1 and Connecticut 16/1; 8. Memphis 25/1; 9. Providence 33/1; 10. George Washington 50/1 and Saint Joseph’s 50/1 and Harvard 50/1; 13. Delaware 100/1 and North Carolina Central 100/1 and Wisconsin-Milwaukee 100/1 and Coastal Carolina 100/1. So rising was Michigan State (first in odds, fourth in seed), North Carolina (fifth in odds, sixth in seed) and Providence (ninth in odds, 11th in seed). Falling was Virginia (second in odds, first in seed), Villanova (third in odds, second in seed), Iowa State (fourth in odds, third in seed) and Cincinnati (sixth in odds, fifth in seed).
* Midwest Regional: 1. Louisville 8/5; 2. Duke 7/2; 3. Wichita State 4/1; 4. Michigan 11/2; 5. Kentucky 12/1; 6. Saint Louis 20/1; 7. Tennessee 25/1 and Iowa 25/1; 9. Texas 33/1 and Kansas State 33/1; 11. UMass 40/1; 12. Arizona State 50/1; 13. North Carolina State 66/1 and Xavier 66/1; 15. Manhattan 75/1; 16. Mercer 100/1 and Wofford 100/1; 18. Cal Poly 200/1 and Texas Southern 200/1. So rising was Louisville (first in odds, fourth in seed), Duke (second in odds, third in seed), Kentucky (fifth in odds, eighth in seed), Tennessee (seventh in odds, 11th in seed) and Iowa (seventh in odds, 11th in seed). Falling was Wichita State (third in odds, first in seed), Michigan (fourth in odds, second in seed), Saint Louis (sixth in odds, fifth in seed), Texas (ninth in odds, seventh in seed) and UMass (11th in odds, sixth in seed).
So Las Vegas thinks that the most overseeded teams in the field are Massachusetts, followed by OU and Colorado. Vegas thinks the most underseeded teams are OSU, Tennessee, Iowa, Michigan State, Louisville, Kentucky and Stephen F. Austin.