The Sweet 16 is here and with no games until Saturday, Mar. 27, it is time for some future bets!
The Final Four, NCAA Champion and a few tournament specials are available on PointsBet. Today, we go over a few bets offered on teams to reach the Final Four that provide value for the remainder of the NCAA Tournament. Here are a few teams worth betting on or hedging with if you still have a team or two left in March Madness.
Gonzaga Bulldogs -300
USC Trojans +300 or Oregon Ducks +500 as hedge
I will not spend much time on this because no one needs convinced that Gonzaga will make the Final Four. It is more about who will be the one to knock them off.
The odds on this have decreased slightly since the start of the tournament, (duh) but who presents the best opportunity at beating Gonzaga in the West Region?
I do not believe Creighton will be the one to knock off Gonzaga, making the winner of Oregon or USC the best bet. USC is listed at +350 and Oregon at +500 to reach the Final Four. Oregon lost to USC once already, 72-58, but this Ducks team looks much better since the Feb. 22 meeting, winning seven of the last eight.
I projected Oregon and USC to meet in the Sweet 16 of my bracket and have the Ducks advancing to the Elite 8 before a loss to Gonzaga - I am sticking to that.
There is value in both USC and Oregon, especially if you took Gonzaga to the Final Four or to win it all this season. I prefer Oregon over USC for a futures if you think Gonzaga will lose before the NCAA Championship Game, but I think they win it all and remain undefeated.
Alabama Crimson Tide +200
Alabama was one of my preseason Final Four picks and I am excited that they made it this far, mostly because I snagged them for +2200 back in November.
Alabama has a matchup versus No. 11 UCLA and an Elite 8 meeting with either No. 1 Michigan and No. 4 Florida State. That path sets the Crimson Tide up for a fair chance at the Final Four and brings value to the +200.
Michigan is the lone Big Ten team left in the field and Florida State is the most significant threat to Alabama outside the No. 1 seeded Wolverines. It is a positive for Alabama that they face UCLA, while the other two knock the crap out of each other for 40 minutes.
Alabama and UCLA's matchup could be a track meet compared to Florida State and Michigan's pace and defenses. The No. 2 seed has beaten the No. 11 seed in four of the last five meetings - a good sign for Alabama.
The last three meetings between No. 2 and No. 11 seeds
2018: No. 2 Duke 69, No. 11 Syracuse 65
2017: No. 11 Xavier 73, No. 2 Arizona 71
2015: No. 2 Gonzaga 74, No. 11 UCLA 62
2014: No. 2 Michigan 73, No. 11 Tennessee 71
2012: No. 2 Kansas 60, No. 11 NC State 57
Alabama is tied with Arkansas and Florida State for the sixth-best odds to make the Final Four. Outside of Michigan (-110), Alabama and Florida State are the best bets to make the Final Four in the East Region.
I would back Alabama and take Florida State for the upset over Michigan if you are not a fan of the Wolverines or the Big Ten in general. It might be wishful thinking on my part Alabama makes the Final Four, but being one-of-four teams to face a double-digit seed this weekend is promising for advancing to the Elite 8.
Arkansas Razorbacks +200
I have a +800 pre-NCAA Tournament ticket on Arkansas to make the Final Four. Do I cash out now or let it ride with a potential matchup with Baylor in the Final Four? The answer is always to let it ride.
Arkansas will meet Oral Roberts and the Razorbacks are 11.5-point favorites. If Arkansas wins, they will meet the winner of No. 1 Baylor and No. 5 Villanova.
If Villanova pulled off its upset of the season beating Baylor, there would be tremendous value in Arkansas +200. As it stands now, you are essentially betting Arkansas versus Baylor at an early price. I also have Baylor at +300 and +450 to win the Championship, so I am torn as the Bears are undoubtedly the best team in the South region.
If you have Baylor like me, this is a solid hedge as I feel pretty confident Arkansas and Baylor advance, as do oddsmakers. Baylor is 6.5-point favorites versus Villanova and -250 to make the Final Four. In my opinion, it is a two-team race in the South Region.
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Syracuse Orange +400
In the last five NCAA Tournaments, only two teams have made the NCAA Final Four as a No. 10 seed or worse.
Those two teams were No. 11 Loyola Chicago in 2018 and No. 10 Syracuse in 2016. The Orange will potentially go through two of the best defensive teams in the country, No. 2 Houston and of course, No. 8 Loyola-Chicago.
No. 12 Oregon State is hot right now and should not be forgotten. Oregon State will take on Loyola-Chicago and if the Beavers win, that opens up the path for Syracuse. The Orange will take on the Houston Cougars for a chance at the Elite 8.
Syracuse plays about eight hours after Oregon State and Loyola-Chicago, so Houston and Syracuse will know who the next opponent will be before they tip. Houston has been one of the best two-way teams in the country all season, but when you are hot, you are hot, and Syracuse is hot.
The Orange have the shooting to knock off the Cougars and size has been a problem for Houston lately. Syracuse is ranked 30th nationally in average height and Houston is 146th. Rutgers and Memphis are two of the latest teams with significant size advantages to give Houston problems, both covering three out of three times, but coming up empty in the win department. Syracuse could be the next team to cover and maybe be the one to knock off Houston.
Despite the +400 not being the best value for a No. 11 seed, I still believe some value is present for the Orange.
Oral Roberts Golden Eagles +3000
This could be throwing money away, but the odds jump from Oregon State at +700 to Oral Roberts at +3000 is a considerable jump to make the Final Four. I do not think Oral Roberts will make the Final Four or beat Arkansas, for that matter, but if they do, the value of +3000 will be cut tremendously.
Max Abmas and Kevin Obnar are the driving forces for the Golden Eagles. Abmas averages 24.5 points, 3.8 assists and 3.3 rebounds per game in 36.9 minutes. Obnar totals 19.0 points and 9.6 rebounds over 31.6 minutes per game.
Oral Roberts' 1-2 punch is a force and seven players recorded 18 or more minutes on this squad - the making for a deep enough squad to continue to be Cinderella for another game or two. This could be worth some lunch money, but a cheap lunch at that.
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