Now is the time for savvy bettors to go big.
On the cusp of the 2014 NCAA tournament, bettors have time to break down as many bracket scenarios as possible and pair that with the odds to see how everything comes together.
In other words, it's time to do some high-risk homework.
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The fact of the matter is, there are no favorable odds in any bracket. It's built to see the house win, not the individual. But through a careful analysis of trends, numbers and the field itself, bettors can at least give themselves a better chance by looking at a few teams worth a gamble to go all the way.
Complete Tournament Odds
|4||San Diego St.||40-1|
|12||North Carolina St.||N/A|
|12||North Dakota St.||N/A|
|12||Stephen F. Austin||N/A|
|13||New Mexico St.||N/A|
|16||Mt. St. Mary’s||100-1|
|N/A||Field (Any Other Team)||30-1|
Best Bargain Odds
Kentucky Wildcats: 40-1
Well this is awkward.
The historic Kentucky Wildcats are not only a No. 8 seed, but there are also several teams the betting world favors over them to make a run at the title.
They were kind of like, 'What?! OK.' I think they're still disappointed we lost this game so they're still not thinking. We've got a couple guys still almost despondent. I'm just telling you, I'm not thinking about this we just played right now. None of it's even entered in my mind. I won't even watch the tape. Let's move on. We've got to play Kansas State.
It's easy to write off the Wildcats. After all, they find themselves in a region with the likes of Wichita State, Louisville, Michigan and Duke. But this is a team with plenty of future NBA talent, including Julius Randle and his double-double average at 15 points and 10.5 rebounds per game.
As far as odds go, bettors could do much worse than roll with Kentucky.
Creighton Bluejays: 28-1
The Creighton Bluejays are no joke.
Led by Doug McDermott, who averages 26.9 points and seven rebounds per game, the Bluejays stormed to a 26-7 record before losing out in the Big East tournament.
For what it's worth, a team with decent odds such as the Bluejays, who also tout Dick Vitale's Player of the Year, is surely worth a bet. Vitale had this to say about the collegiate legend:
This race ended more than a month ago. McDermott, who went over the 3,000-point mark for his illustrious career, has been dominant for the Bluejays. He has hit game-winning shots (at home against St. John's) and scored almost at will, with three games of 39 points or more. McDermott, a senior, is tough and intelligent on the court. This is a no-brainer.
Now look at the bracket. A win over Louisiana-Lafayette to open things is all but assured, as is a win over either Baylor or Nebraska. The biggest threat after that is a plodding Wisconsin team before things open up into what may turn out to be a showdown with Arizona—a team the Bluejays certainly have the firepower necessary to bring down.
All things considered, Creighton is quite the bargain for those in search of a lesser-known program with the qualities of a champion.
Pittsburgh Panthers: 90-1
This one is exclusively for those who love a major risk.
Pittsburgh is a prestigious program that touts two star players in Lamar Patterson and Talib Zanna. Zanna has been on an absolute tear as of late and arguably makes the Panthers the most-feared team under the rim the bracket has to offer.
Will Pittsburgh make it past Florida?
So why are the odds not favorable?
Pittsburgh bumbled its way to a 25-9 record this year with big losses to contenders like Duke and Virginia, with other losses to quality opposition like Syracuse and Cincinnati.
Most importantly, if Pittsburgh can down Colorado to start things off (it should), it then has to encounter the Florida Gators.
But what's so appealing about the scenario is that if the Panthers can pull off the upset, the rest of the region is so weak that they have to be considered favorites to get to the Final Four. An upset over the Gators is certainly a possibility, so bettors willing to jump off the deep end may find themselves majorly rewarded for the trouble.