As March Madness 2018 begins this week, fans will be watching to see if their favorite team advances in the NCAA Tournament bracket. The latest college basketball odds have been unveiled and list several of the expected powerhouse teams among those with the best chances to win it all. However, there are a few outsider teams worth considering as well. Here’s the latest information on who could win each region and the entire tournament.
The strength of a team and the challenges in their bracket may be evident based on what the Vegas oddsmakers are saying. According to Vegas Insider’s latest NCAA basketball odds, Villanova (4/7) and Virginia (6/5) are current favorites to win their regions as the No. 1 seed. Meanwhile, Kansas (7/4) trails Duke (8/5) as the favorite to emerge from the Midwest. Michigan State is also right up there as a potential winner with 9 to 4 odds in that part of the tournament bracket.
Xavier may be getting the least respect of the top seeds, or they could just have the toughest of bracket matchups ahead. They have 4 to 1 odds to win the West region but trail Michigan (13/4), Gonzaga (13/4), and North Carolina (9/5). Xavier is still awaiting their first-round opponent for their game scheduled this Friday. It will be either North Carolina Central or Texas Southern competing as the No. 16 seed, or “David trying to slay Goliath.”
The Musketeers finished their season at 28-5 and were first in the Big East, just ahead of fellow No. 1 seed Villanova. However, this is also the first time they’re entering the field as a top seed, while the other three squads already have achieved that distinction. That may give their coaches a bit of extra advantage too with the experience factor. Xavier will be led by their star guard Trevon Bluiett who averages 19.5 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game.
Two college basketball teams are currently tied with the best shot at winning the latest “Big Dance.” The Villanova Wildcats and Virginia Cavaliers have each been given 5 to 1 odds to win the NCAA basketball championship. Both teams are No. 1 seeds at the moment. Surprisingly, the two other No. 1 seeds, the Kansas Jayhawks and Xavier Musketeers, aren’t listed next, though.
Odds To Win NCAA Tournament
- Villanova 5/1
- Virginia 5/1
- Duke 7/1
- Michigan State 8/1
- Arizona 10/1
- Kansas 10/1
- Michigan 10/1
- Purdue 14/1
- North Carolina 16/1
- Cincinnati 17/1
- Xavier 17/1
- Gonzaga 20/1
- Kentucky 28/1
- West Virginia 30/1
Instead, the Duke Blue Devils have the third-best odds to cut down the nets, with a 7 to 1 chance of doing so. Duke boasts a talented team that could send as many as four players into the first round of this summer’s NBA Draft, including Marvin Bagley. Coming in right after Duke is the Michigan State Spartans with 8 to 1 odds. They also boast an NBA star in the 6-foot-11 Jaren Jackson Jr., who could help lead this team deep and potentially help them win it all.
Last year’s champions were the North Carolina Tar Heels who defeated Gonzaga to win their sixth title in school history. The Heels have 16 to 1 odds to repeat this year. Other teams listed in the top 10 odds to win the championship are Purdue (14/1), Cincinnati (17/1), Gonzaga (20/1), and West Virginia (30/1). Of those teams, the Bearcats are tied with the Xavier Musketeers, who may now be looking to prove to the world why they belong where they do in the brackets.
The First Four matchups of the tournament will conclude on Wednesday night as N.C. Central vs. Texas Southern and Arizona State vs. Syracuse games take place in Dayton, Ohio. On Thursday and Friday, the madness of March will start to kick in with first-round games.