March Madness 2014 Bracket: Predictions and Odds for Elite 8 Matchups

Alex KomaContributor IIIMarch 29, 2014

Kentucky's Alex Poythress (22) and Julius Randle (30) celebrate after an NCAA Midwest Regional semifinal college basketball tournament game against the Louisville Saturday, March 29, 2014, in Indianapolis. Kentucky won 74-69. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Michael Conroy

Now that there are just eight teams left in this year’s edition of March Madness, it’s getting easier to drill down on which matchups will present the best odds for bettors in the NCAA tournament.

The Elite Eight consists of a variety of unexpected pairings, which means that oddsmakers still aren’t entirely sure what to make of these matchups.

That gives bettors the edge when examining where the best value lies, and it’s important to identify the key games that present some favorable odds.

Read on for a full list of the odds for each of the Elite Eight matchups and some analysis on which ones look like especially juicy bets.

All Your Bracket Essentials:


Elite 8 Schedule and Odds
MatchupTime (ET)TV InfoOddsPrediction
(11) Dayton vs. (1) FloridaSaturday, 6:09 p.m.TBSFLA -10DAY
(2) Wisconsin vs. (1) ArizonaSaturday, 8:49 p.m.TBSARI -3ARI
(7) Connecticut vs. (4) Michigan StateSunday, 2:20 p.m.CBSMICH ST -5.5MICH ST
(8) Kentucky vs. (2) MichiganSunday, 5:05 p.m.CBSKEN -2KEN

Bleacher Report


(11) Dayton vs. (1) Florida (-10)

MEMPHIS, TN - MARCH 27: Will Yeguete #15 of the Florida Gators defends against Kyle Anderson #5 of the UCLA Bruins  during a regional semifinal of the 2014 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at the FedExForum on March 27, 2014 in Memphis, Tennessee.  (Photo
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

There’s no mistaking the talent gap that exists between Dayton and Florida.

As the tournament’s top seed, the Gators were long expected to reach this point—if not go farther—but the Flyers have to be stunned they’ve advanced this far in the tourney. 

Dayton has certainly benefited from facing some weak challengers. The Flyers’ win over Syracuse is certainly impressive, but getting to face Stanford instead of Kansas in the Sweet 16 had to come as a pleasant surprise.

They’ve got quite the tall task against Florida, considering the Gators boast the country’s third best scoring defense.

However, this line heavily favors the Gators, and it might not be entirely deserved.

This game should be a grueling and physical one—the Flyers rate No. 222 in possessions per game, while the Gators come in at No. 335. In short, it doesn’t look like either team will be running away with their offense.

Dayton also features plenty of perimeter threats to keep them dangerous, as College Basketball Talk’s Rob Dauster observes.

The guys that have made the difference for Dayton through three games in the NCAA tournament aren’t the guys that will get the publicity. It’s not Archie Miller and it’s not Ohio State transfer Jordan Sibert. The players to keep an eye on are the forwards for Dayton: Dyshawn Pierre and Devin Oliver. The two of them are a nightmare given then (sic) ability to shoot from the perimeter.

This isn’t to say that Billy Donovan won’t find a way to contain this pair and that Dayton is a lock to win.

But it definitely seems to indicate that the Flyers won’t be a pushover and that it’ll be tough for the Gators to cover a double-digit spread.


(8) Kentucky (-2) vs. (2) Michigan

David J. Phillip

The Wildcats are finally hitting their stride after a rocky regular season, and John Calipari’s squad is looking like a force to be reckoned with as the tournament comes down to the wire.

By contrast, Michigan just edged Tennessee, and while the Volunteers were certainly better than their seed might indicate, the Wolverines still let them come back when they had the game all but locked up. 

Kentucky has just beaten two of the best teams in the tournament in Louisville and Wichita State, while Michigan has only had to contend with Wofford, Texas and Tennessee. It’s easy to see why the Wildcats are favored.

Their freshmen are coming together at exactly the right time; Julius Randle is averaging 15.6 points per game in the tournament, while Aaron Harrison is putting up 17.3 per game.

"They finally have surrendered and lost themselves in the team," Calipari told the Associated Press’ Eddie Pells after taking down Louisville. "It's just taken a long time."

Sophomore Alex Poythress has started to chip in as well. He’s only averaging five points per game, but his strength on the interior has been a huge asset, as his big and-one against the Cardinals showed.

Even the advanced stats favor the 'Cats, as Five Thirty Eight’s Nate Silver explains.

It all adds up to one very favorable matchup for the Wildcats.

They don’t have much of a spread to cover—all they have to do is gut out another win.

Given the way Calipari’s bunch is coming together, it seems like a sure bet they’ll be able to do so.