As one might expect with the only No. 1 seed who covered during the second round, the Kansas Jayhawks have taken over as the betting favorite on the odds to win the 2017 NCAA Tournament.
The Jayhawks are the slim +475 favorite to win the national title at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com, with the North Carolina Tar Heels close behind at +500. The top of the board also reflects the strong showing by West Coast teams, with the Arizona Wildcats (+650), Gonzaga Bulldogs (+650) and UCLA Bruins (+900) each rating a strong chance.
North Carolina opened as a +600 co-favorite at the sportsbooks. But the overall poor showing by the ACC seems to have created doubt about the strength of the Tar Heels, plus their South Region is stacked with the Lonzo Ball-led UCLA Bruins, as well as fellow frosh prince Malik Monk and the Kentucky Wildcats (+1000).
Kansas was listed at +800 going into the tournament. Kansas’ path to next week’s Final Four includes the Sweet 16 matchup against the Purdue Boilermakers (+2000 to win), whose big man Caleb Swanigan could expose issues with the Jayhawks’ rim protection. But Kansas has an elite backcourt led by Frank Mason III.
Arizona has made the big move from +1200 at the outset of the tournament, with West Region rival Gonzaga similarly lowering its odds from +1000. The two teams could meet in the Elite Eight.
The best value on the board might belong to UCLA, what with their explosive offense centered around Ball and Bryce Alford. The Bruins looked sharper than Kentucky during the opening weekend, but there’s still some lingering doubts about a young team being able to remain consistent for four more games.
Out in the East Region, where the top two seeds were toppled, the 4-seed Florida Gators (+1200) have the best odds, ahead of the 3-seed Baylor Bears (+1600). With the other three regions all looking stronger, it’s logical to think whoever survives the next two rounds would be far better prepared.
For Thursday’s Sweet 16 openers, the Michigan Wolverines are 1.5-point favorites against the Oregon Ducks with a 146.5-point total. This is only the fourth time a 7-seed has been favored against a 3-seed. The 3-seed is 2-1 both straight-up and against the spread.
As well, the Gonzaga Bulldogs are three-point favorites against the West Virginia Mountaineers with a 148.5 total. The Kansas Jayhawks are five-point favorites against Purdue with a 156.5 total. And the Arizona Wildcats are 7.5-point favorites against the Xavier Musketeers with a 145 total. Arizona is 3-1 ATS all-time against 11-seeds.