As we progress on the tournament it is time to start looking at the real contenders. When it comes to picking the winner of the NCAA tournament, Duke appears to be the cool dude on campus they all want to hang with, while Kentucky is the hot girl in the library that everyone is ignoring.
The Duke Blue Devils are 4-0 straight up and against the spread over their last four games. The Blue Devils will attempt to become the second straight No. 2 seed to win the NCAA tournament after the Villanova Wildcats won it all as a 2-seed last season.
Duke is going off at +650 on the odds to win the NCAA tournament at online sportsbooks. These odds put Duke in a tie with the North Carolina Tar Heels (+650 to win the championship) as the betting co-favorites, and ahead of other No. 1 seeds Kansas (+750), Villanova (+750), and Gonzaga (+850).
The Blue Devils entered the ACC Tournament in the midst of a 1-3 SU and 0-3-1 ATS slump, but came away with the ACC title with four straight wins that included three over solid NCAA Tournament contenders in Louisville (+1600), North Carolina, and Notre Dame (+4000). Should Duke advance into the Elite Eight, it could potentially face defending champion Villanova in the East Region.
Kentucky, meanwhile, is a No. 2 seed that just won the SEC conference tournament and has just five losses all season. Yet, the Wildcats are the seventh favorite on the board at 10-1 and aren’t getting much love.
Another 2-seed that saw its stock rise due to an excellent performance in its conference tournament was the Arizona Wildcats. Arizona (+900) went 4-0 SU and ATS in the Pac-12 Tournament and knocked off both UCLA (+1200) and Oregon (+2200) to claim the conference title. The Wildcats don’t have it easy in the South Region. They might face Wichita State in the second round and then UCLA after if favorites make it through. The South goes through UNC also.
A trip to the Final Four for Arizona could run through Gonzaga, who defeated Arizona 69-62 when the two teams met in December.
Four play-in games will round out the March Madness tournament bracket, with Mount St. Mary’s vs. New Orleans (-1.5) and Kansas State vs. Wake Forest (-1) scheduled for Tuesday, and North Carolina Central (-4) vs. UC Davis and USC (-3) vs. Providence on Wednesday.
The Round of 64 kicks off on Thursday with plenty of intriguing matchups.
One tough-to-call matchup pits No. 10 VCU against No. 7 Saint Mary’s, with Saint Mary’s going off as a 4.5-point favorite.
Virginia Commonwealth is best known for its stingy defense and its storybook run to the Final Four back in 2011. But Saint Mary’s will have the defensive edge in this one, ranking second in the nation in scoring defense allowing 56.5 points per game.
Saint Mary’s is 6-1 SU and 5-2 ATS over its last seven games. Start picking your winner of the NCAA tournament, sign up now at Heritagesports.eu.