March Madness 2014 Bracket: Latest Picks and Odds Advice Before 1st-Round Day 1

Sean ODonnellContributor IIIMarch 18, 2014

ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 16:  Scottie Wilbekin #5 and Casey Prather #24 of the Florida Gators celebrate their 61 to 60 win over the Kentucky Wildcats in the Championship game of the 2014 Men's SEC Basketball Tournament at Georgia Dome on March 16, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The madness is finally upon us. Tuesday marks the first day of the 2014 NCAA tournament, as Albany and Mount St. Mary's clash for the right to take on Florida, and N.C. State and Xavier compete to face St. Louis in Round 2.

Once the first round of action comes to a close, the final 64 teams will begin their journeys on Thursday in effort of obtain the coveted national title. Before all of these contests get underway, and brackets are filled out with feverish enthusiasm, it's important to know the latest trends in college basketball.

All Your Bracket Essentials:

Bleacher Report

Keeping that in mind, let's break down the latest tournament odds and important picks to make as March Madness creeps closer.

 

Full Tournament Odds

2014 NCAA Tournament Odds
TeamOdds
Florida5-1
Michigan State11-2
Arizona8-1
Louisville8-1
Kansas10-1
Wichita State15-1
Syracuse18-1
Duke18-1
Virginia18-1
Wisconsin20-1
Michigan30-1
Creighton35-1
Villanova35-1
Iowa State40-1
UCLA45-1
North Carolina50-1
Kentucky50-1
Oklahoma State60-1
San Diego State65-1
Ohio State65-1
Oklahoma75-1
Baylor75-1
UConn80-1
VCU90-1
Cincinnati90-1
Pittsburgh95-1
Oregon100-1
Tennessee115-1
New Mexico115-1
UMass125-1
Iowa125-1
Memphis125-1
Gonzaga125-1
Texas125-1
Saint Louis125-1
Providence225-1
Stanford225-1
Kansas State300-1
St. Joseph's350-1
Nebraska450-1
Dayton500-1
BYU500-1
Colorado500-1
Xavier500-1
Arizona State500-1
George Washington500-1
N.C. State900-1
Harvard1000-1
North Dakota State1000-1
Field (Any Other Team)100-1
Vegas Insider

All odds current as of March 17 at 7 p.m. ET.

 

Odds Advice

GREENSBORO, NC - MARCH 16:  Joe Harris #12 is congratulate by Akil Mitchell #25 of the Virginia Cavaliers in the final minute of their victory over the Duke Blue Devils in the finals of the 2014 Men's ACC Basketball Tournament at Greensboro Coliseum on Ma
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

When taking odds into consideration, a team's seed isn't nearly as important as the possible road it must take to reach the promised land. Selecting a team that could potentially have an easy path to the championship is the way to go in this case.

Florida is one such team. With 5-1 odds, the Gators are the favorite to take it all. This is partly due to the strength of the South Region. Both Syracuse and Kansas haven't performed up to snuff lately, while Florida continues to surge. The Gators could have it easy here.

Another nice bet is Virginia at 18-1. The East Region doesn't look particularly strong, as No. 2 Villanova hasn't looked good of late. Iowa State figures to be a big threat here; however, its high-octane offense won't get many good looks against Virginia's stout defense if these two teams end up meeting each other.

Louisville looks like the best bet coming out of the Midwest Region at 8-1 odds, although, this region is really up in the air. With Wichita State, Michigan, Duke and Kentucky in the mix, it may be best to stay away from this region all together.

 

Full Round 2 Picks

RegionMatchupWinner
SouthTBD vs. FloridaFlorida
SouthPitt vs. ColoradoPitt
SouthStephen F. Austin vs. VCUVCU
SouthTulsa vs. UCLAUCLA
SouthDayton vs. Ohio StateOhio State
SouthW. Michigan vs. SyracuseSyracuse
SouthStanford vs. New MexicoNew Mexico
SouthE. Kentucky vs. KansasKansas
WestWeber State vs. ArizonaArizona
WestGonzaga vs. Oklahoma StateOklahoma State
WestNorth Dakota State vs. OklahomaOklahoma
WestNew Mexico State vs. San Diego StateSan Diego State
WestNebraska vs. BaylorBaylor
WestLouisiana-Lafayette vs. CreightonCreighton
WestBYU vs. OregonOregon
WestAmerican vs. WisconsinWinsonsin
EastCoastal Carolina vs. VirginiaVirginia
EastGeorge Washington vs. MemphisMemphis
EastHarvard vs. CincinnatiCincinnati
EastDelaware vs. Michigan StateMichigan State
EastProvidence vs. North CarolinaProvidence
EastNC Central vs. Iowa StateIowa State
EastSt. Joe's vs. UConnUConn
EastUW-Milwaukee vs. VillanovaVillanova
MidwestTBD vs. Wichita StateWichita State
MidwestKansas State vs. KentuckyKentucky
MidwestTBD vs. St. LouisSt. Louis
MidwestManhattan vs. LouisvilleLouisville
MidwestTBD vs. MassachusettsMassachusetts
MidwestMercer vs. DukeDuke
MidwestArizona State vs. TexasArizona State
MidwestWofford vs. MichiganMichigan
Sean O'Donnell's Predictions

Keep in mind when selecting Round 2 picks that there will be upsets. It happens every year. Not every higher-ranked team will come out victorious.

Oklahoma State, Pittsburgh, Providence and Arizona State all have the makings to provide big upsets in Round 2. Plan your bracket accordingly.