2018 NCAA Tournament Championship Futures Odds
Selection Sunday has set the 68-team field for this year's NCAA Tournament, and Bovada has updated its betting odds for each one's chances to win this year's national title.
The 2018 NCAA Tournament gets underway this Tuesday night with two games in the First Four Round. The real action gets underway this Thursday and Friday with 32 games in the opening round of this year’s quest to win a national championship. Bovada has set the betting odds for all 68 team’s chances to win this tournament, and I am looking for the best value in the numbers.
NCAAB Tournament Favorites
It is no big surprise that the ACC Champion Virginia Cavaliers are the top seed in this year’s tournament with an overall record of 31-2. They won the ACC regular-season title before beating North Carolina 71-63 as 3.5-point favorites in Saturday's conference tournament title game.
The Cavaliers have the second-best odds on the board to go on and win the national title at +500, and I like the value of that number. Coming out of the South Region, one potential stumbling block could be the pesky Kentucky Wildcats (+2800) at No. 5 after making an impressive run to the SEC Tournament Championship. You also have No. 4 Arizona (+1200) in the mix along with No. 2 Cincinnati (+2200) waiting in the wings. Despite this potential opposition, I still see a clear run to the Final Four for Virginia.
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The top favorite to win it all is the Big East’s Villanova Wildcats at +450 betting odds coming out of the East Region as the top seed. They were second to Xavier in the regular season standings before beating Providence for the Big East Tournament title on Saturday. The Wildcats are just two seasons removed from a run to the 2016 National Championship to add value to their odds. Villanova also has a reasonably clear run to the Final Four with No. 2 Purdue (+1500) setting up as its toughest test.
The ACC’s Duke Blue Devils are a No. 2 seed in the Midwest Division and a +650 third-favorite to win this tournament. The Big Ten’s Michigan State Spartans are the No. 3 seed in the Midwest with +750 odds to win. These two national powers cancel one another out in a region that has the Big Ten’s Kansas Jayhawks (+1200) as the top seed.
NCAAB Tournament Contenders
When you compare their tournament seed with their betting odds, the Big East's Xavier Musketeers offer some substantial value as the top seed in the West Region with +2200 odds to go all the way. Their run to get there would be brutal with No. 4 Gonzaga (+2500), No. 3 Michigan (+1000) and No. 2 North Carolina (+1800) as potential stumbling blocks.
I really like Michigan after its recent run to the Big Ten Tournament Championship, but it is hard to tell which team emerges from this region as a Final Four entry. Gonzaga is a team on a mission after losing last season's national title game to North Carolina, and we could see a rematch of that game for another trip to the Final Four.
NCAAB Tournament Longshots
Everyone loves underdogs in this tournament as long as they picked them to go deep in their bracket. It is one thing to make a surprising run to the Elite 8 or even the Final Four, but it is a whole other thing for a longshot to stun the entire field.
If you are looking to take a flyer on a team with longer odds, I would add two teams from the SEC to my short list starting with the Auburn Tigers (+6500) as the No. 4 seed in the Midwest. The other side would be the Tennessee Volunteers (+6000) as the No. 3 seed i in the South.