The sports calendar is headlined by a few events including the Super Bowl, NHL Playoffs, the Masters and more. While not everyone has the same events in their group of favorites, the one that seems universally loved is March Madness. Whether its the full slate of games from morning to night or the ability to wager or the unexpected outcomes.
Spending the opening weekend in Las Vegas or the like betting and watching games is a tremendous experience and one any sports fan should do at least once.
With that said, Brian Twinning and I have our favorite tournament bets for overall winner, teams to come out of their region and more! We will be here throughout the tournament with thoughts, games we like and other info to enhance your tournament experience. So keep checking back!
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Brian: The Madness is finally here, and Its time to start filling out those brackets. Most will bet chalk and pencil in 1 or 2 seeds but if last year’s tournament taught us one thing, it is that anything is possible! With that in mind, and ignoring the favorites, I’ve combed over the bracket to find a couple of my favorite long shot wagers that could pay off big as well as some fun props.
Virginia Tech: Win East Region (+1200); National Champs (+4000)
The Hokies are coming off their second overtime loss to Florida State in the ACC quarters. VT finished the season 7-5 in their final 12 games without senior point guard Justin Robinson. Before his injury, the Hokies were 17-3, ranked 12th, and just getting into the meat of their conference schedule. The return of Robinson adds to a battle tested and already dangerous team. The potential rematch with Duke in the Sweet 16 does not scare the Hokies as they defeated them when both were at less than full strength. Although getting past the juggernaut known as Zion Williamson is unlikely, the familiarity with his team and upperclassman leadership make VT a sneaky and highly profitable bet to win the East region and possibly cut down the nets as National Champions.
Houston to win the Midwest Region (+550)
Kelvin Sampson and his Houston Cougars are ready to pick up where they left off in last years tournament. If it wasn’t for Jordan Poole, Houston could have been playing, what might have felt like home games in San Antonio. This year’s team returned most of its firepower, including standout guard Corey Davis Jr., and sharp shooter Armani Brooks. The Cougs are one of the most efficient defense teams in the country ranking 13th according to KenPom.com which will allow them the ability to stay in games. They have a tough road after Tulsa as they would likely play Kentucky then UNC however, experience and a hunger to avenge last seasons heartbreak could propel this Houston team all the way to Minnesota. Houston is my favorite value bet in the Midwest region.
Will a 2 seed win the National Championship – Yes (+300)
Every one of this year’s 2 seeds were considered a 1 or close to it during the last month of basketball making this a great value bet.
Will a 15 seed win a game – Yes (+350)
Highest point total by 1 team in first round – Over 97.5pts (-120)
Buffalo, UNC, Duke, LSU/Yale are just a few of the teams/games that could see a team surpass the century mark.
To Win NCAA Tournament – Midwest Region (+375)
This region has 3, maybe 4 legit potential representatives for the Final four. All of them; UNC, Kentucky, Houston and Auburn can end up climbing the ladder when they’re humming and I’ll also add, they have the worst odds of all the regions to win. With the Tar Heels, Wildcats, as well as my Darkhorse region winner Houston Cougars here, this is my favorite overall value for the tournament.
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Whether you fill out your bracket with chalk, pick your favorite team to win the whole thing, or just try and guess all the crazy upsets, have fun and enjoy these next 3 weeks. This is truly the best and most exciting sporting event in America!
Virginia Cavaliers (6/1) and Virginia Tech Hokies (50/1)
The 2019 NCAA Tournament is really about who can take down Duke. The Blue Devils are an astounding 26-2 when Zion Williamson plays and look like a team destined to be cutting down the nets when it is all said and done.
That said, March Madness is a wild ride where teams nobody saw coming are knocking out blue bloods, making it to the second week or beyond.
Any team that wants to beat Duke must be able to do two things really well, play stout defense and be able to make it rain from three. Limiting possessions, especially in transition is critical for slowing down the Blue Devils. As exciting as Zion Williams, RJ Barrett and company are, they are not nearly as effective when they are contained to a controlled half court game.
So, who are my favorites to pull out the W? Let’s start in Duke’s region with the Virginia Tech Hokies who are 50/1 to win it all and 12/1 to win the East. The Hokies who can fill it up from deep, making an impressive 9.6 threes per game have a real shot. They are expected to get Justin Robinson back from injury which is a huge plus.
There is also a comfort level Virginia Tech has with Duke. Not only have they faced the Blue Devils but they beat them. Now this game happened in Blacksburg and Zion did not play. Facing Duke with Zion will be a different beast all together. I still believe the Hokies have what it takes and at 12/1 for their region and 50/1 for the tournament I would definitely be willing to take a shot.
We will stay in the state of Virginia for the other team I like. I know the Cavaliers early exit against 16 seed UMBC last season is what many will think of after last years stunner but don’t let that sway you from backing the Wahoos. De’Andre Hunter is a legit NBA prospect that is shares the floor with Kyle Guy and Ty Jerome. Guy (46.3%) and Jerome(39.7) are both legit shooters who have take over 150 three pointers on the season.
Like Virginia Tech, the Cavaliers have faced Duke twice already but they got them at full Zion. While they didn’t win either contest, having the experience and knowing what to expect is a huge plus.
While 6/1 for Virginia doesn’t seem like the greatest value, consider the fact that they are a 1 seed with an incredible draw. They are basically even money to win their region and get to the Final Four. Assuming they do so it would likely mean a match-up against Kentucky or North Carolina and then likely facing Duke. You could hedge in the final four to protect your investment or double down potentially add more ROI to your Virginia holdings.
Tournament Value Plays
I love teams that have been awesome all season but may have lost in the conference tournament, especially in the championship. Teams like the Houston Cougars, Gonzaga Bulldogs, and Tennessee Volunteers will likely have value since the public remembers what they saw last and will overvalue one loss.
Make sure you check back in throughout the tournament for more thoughts and picks on specific games.