The top 68 men’s college basketball teams in the nation all have their sites set on winning this year’s national title. Coming off almost two weeks of conference tournaments, the field for this year’s NCAA Tournament is finally set.
There are four play-in games on the schedule for Tuesday and Wednesday night, but the real madness gets underway on Thursday and Friday with 32 games on the slate. Intertops online sportsbook has posted the betting lines for each of these opening-round matchups and a number of online betting outlets have released their NCAAB futures odds to win this year’s national title.
Anything can happen in a single-elimination format, but there is still some solid betting value to be found on the board if you know how and where to look.
The Duke Blue Devils vs. The Field
The ACC’s Duke Blue Devils come into this year’s NCAA Tournament as the No. 1 overall seed playing out of the East Region. They have also been opened as +255 favorites to win their first national title since knocking off Wisconsin in the 2015 championship game.
With three freshmen on the roster that will most likely be playing in the NBA this time next season, it is easy to see why Duke is favored to win. A healthy Zion Williamson as the likely first overall pick of the 2019 NBA draft is reason enough to go chalk in this bet.
Three of the four No. 1 seeds went to teams from the ACC. The Virginia Cavaliers are the top seed in the South with the North Carolina Tar Heels anchoring that same position in the Midwest Region. Virginia’s betting odds to win it all match the Tar Heels as +600 third-favorites. Virginia won the only meeting in the regular season between the two 69-61 as a one-point road underdog. The Cavaliers’ two losses in ACC play came against Duke before slipping up against Florida State in the recent ACC Tournament.
North Carolina beat Duke in both regular season matchups, but it had no answer for Williamson in the conference tournament with Duke pulling out a 74-73 win as a 4.5-point favorite.
The final No. 1 seed in the West Region went to the WCC’s Gonzaga Bulldogs. They got tripped up by Saint Mary’s in their conference tournament after winning every one of their WCC regular-season games by double figures. Gonzaga has the second-best odds to win the national title at +550.
Betting On the Wildcats
When it comes to some of the best betting value on the NCAAB futures board to win the 2019 NCAA Tournament, a trio of Wildcats jumps off the list. Starting with the SEC’s Kentucky Wildcats as the No. 2 seed in the Midwest Region. They will most likely have to get past the likes of the AAC’s Houston Cougars as the No. 3 seed as well as North Carolina at the top of the list in this region, but Kentucky still has some attractive +1400 betting odds to win it all.
The Big East’s Villanova Wildcats are no strangers to deep NCAA Tournament runs with national titles in 2016 and 2018 under the guidance of long-tenured head coach Jay Wright. Villanova is flying a bit under the radar this season as the No. 6 seed in the South Region, but with titles in the Big East’s regular season and conference tournament on the resume, it offers solid value at +5000 betting odds.
The final Wildcats on the list hail from the Big 12. Kansas State has been set as the No. 4 seed in the South with +6500 betting odds to win the national title. These Wildcats bowed out of their conference tournament with a 63-59 loss to Iowa State as slight 2.5-point underdogs. This followed a tie with Texas Tech for the regular season title in the Big 12 at 14-4.