Sully’s Bracket Betting Guide To The NCAA Tournament
by Mike Sullivan Scores & Statson
It’s one of the best times of the year! The NCAA Tournament is finally upon us and it’s time for my annual bracket betting guide to help you guys win some money.
I will be out in Las Vegas for the opening round of the tournament, as I am every year. I am steadfast in my belief that every single basketball fan needs to make this trip at some point in your life. Vegas is crazy for the opening weekend of the tournament and it’s a blast betting on all of the college basketball games. There are all sorts of action and all sorts of betting opportunities. If you like sports and like betting, you need to make it out to Vegas for March Madness opening weekend one of these years. You’ll have a great time.
Anyway, this year’s bracket is fascinating to me. I always like to break down my thoughts into a very digestible and categorical view for you to see. Now, keep in mind, it is difficult to write a comprehensive betting preview regarding point spreads on each first-round game because of how much these lines move. I am sitting here on Monday looking at games I want to bet on Thursday, knowing the spread could change by 6-7 points. So it’s always important to monitor this stuff, but please keep in mind it is sometimes difficult to give tips because of how much these lines move.
Possible Big Upsets
Let’s start with a couple of upsets you should be circling on your bracket. And I’m talking about big upsets. Keep in mind we literally see a 12 upset a 5 every single year. These are games that would be considered bracket busters for some people because I’m about to tell you about a few Elite Eight caliber teams who could be upset in the first round.
Take a look at the No. 11 Loyola-Chicago over No. 6 Miami game. Loyola has been playing great basketball and they are red hot. Miami has underachieved this season and could be upset in this one. Meanwhile, No. 11 San Diego State over No. 6 Houston is a very live underdog, as is No. 13 Marshall over No. 4 Wichita State. Another one I am paying very close attention to is No. 12 Murray State over No. 5 West Virginia. The Racers play a very fun, uptempo brand of basketball and they will definitely be trying to push the basketball against "Press Virginia" who focuses so much on the halfcourt game. I'm telling you, man, there is something strange in the water in Virginia. All of their teams love defense and pride themselves on halfcourt basketball like it's 1985. Murray State will definitely give West Virginia a run.
The Region of Doom
Wow, look at the Midwest region! Kansas, Duke and Michigan State all in the same region!? Crazy. These are 3 teams who were in the mix to be 1 seeds just a couple weeks ago. The Midwest is definitely the toughest region and will also be the most fun to watch. Sparty has a good draw and they're playing close to home in Detroit for opening weekend. I have zero doubt the Spartans will make it to the Sweet Sixteen. They are ultra talented. But once they get there, Duke will be waiting for them with open arms. Coach K has always had Izzo's number and his record is very lopsided when these two teams play. Coach K always dominates Izzo and I expect Duke to do the same in the Sweet Sixteen. Kansas and Duke will be a fantastic matchup if it happens in the Elite Eight. The Midwest is a wild region this year.
There are only two 1 seeds who have a legit chance to win it all
That's right, I said it. I give Villanova and Kansas legitimate chances to win the title. I don't think Virginia or Xavier have a true chance. Virginia plays a boring, defensive game and will be tested against teams like Kentucky and Cincinnati in their region. I don't expect Virginia to make the Final Four. I also will gladly choose North Carolina over Xavier in the West Region. Keep an eye on Michigan, too. Michigan is arguably the hottest team entering this tournament and they will give North Carolina a major run in the Sweet Sixteen. The right side of your bracket is the most interesting and the side you need to spend the most time on.
The Wackiest Point Spread?
In Las Vegas, the lines are up, and most books are settling on Villanova as the early favorite. But Duke is favored in the Midwest, not Kansas, and No. 3 Michigan is the top pick in the West, not No. 1 Xavier or No. 2 North Carolina. While a lot of experts like Jay Bilas are even picking Michigan State to win the Midwest.
The better seeds are the favorites pretty much across the board, as you might expect, with just one clear exception. No. 10 Butler is a 1-point pick over No. 7 Arkansas.
The Most Popular Teams by Seed So Far?
The most popular teams at Yahoo, by seed: 1, Virginia, 2. Duke, 3. Michigan State, 4. Arizona, 5. Kentucky 6. Florida, 7. Arkansas, 8. Missouri 9. N.C. State, 10.Texas 11. Loyola Ill., 12. New Mexico State 13. Marshall 14. Stephen F. Austin 15. Georgia State 16. Penn.
Wait, How Much!?
An estimated $10 billion is projected to be wagered on the NCAA Tournament this year. Yes, that is Billion with a big B! It’s crazy to think about how much money is bet. However, I cannot emphasize enough that you need to do your research and homework. It is very important to read guides like mine and make your own predictions based on the stats and research you’ve done on these teams. Bet intelligently!
Focus On The Right Side Of Your Bracket
The right side of the bracket is where you are going to have some true decisions to make. I mean there are all sorts of talented teams on the right side. The bracket is definitely weighted towards the right side if you ask me. Look at the talent. We have Villanova, Michigan State, Duke Kansas, Purdue. We even have the outside teams like Alabama who is red hot, or Trae Young and Oklahoma who are always dangerous. The right side of the bracket is going to be fantastic to watch. That’s where the true decisions lie. The left side is far easier in my opinion.
So Who Could I Actually See Winning It All?
I’ll tell you what, people. I think there is a great chance we see a rematch of the 2016 National Title game this year. I like Villanova and North Carolina in the championship game and I’d give the edge to the Tar Heels this time around. They are playing fantastic basketball right now and are poised for a deep run. Their only true test will be Michigan. If the Wolverines can upset North Carolina, I think Michigan might even find themselves in the title game. I like Michigan or NC on the left side of the bracket, and I like Villanova or Duke on the right side of the bracket.