When it comes to your NCAA Tournament wagering options, don’t limit yourself to office pools, sides, totals and futures. Proposition bets are a burgeoning market, and there are plenty of options available.
First-round largest margin of victory under 36.5 points (+100)
A search on SportsBasketballReference.com reveals that 313 games involving Division I teams this season have been decided by 37 or more points through Wednesday. But as near as I can tell, only three of the 313 losing teams wound up qualifying for the NCAA Tournament.
So in this age of parity, where the top seeds and heavy favorites should be more concerned about resting their big guns and preparing for the next (and almost always tougher) tourney test instead of running up the score, take the plus value and under here.
Big Ten Conference teams under 10.5 tournament wins (-115)
Michigan State and Michigan are No. 2 seeds, Purdue is a No. 3, and the conference as a whole has fared well in recent tournaments even though there hasn’t been a national championship to show for it since the Spartans danced beneath the confetti at the turn of the millennium.
But given the above, the conference’s eight qualifiers are projected to win 10 games going strictly by seed, and the chances seem greater of having Michigan or Purdue fall victim to an early-round upset than seeing the likes of a Maryland or Iowa go on an overachieving, Sweet 16 run.
So, a lean toward the under.
Mountain West Conference teams over 1.5 wins (-115)
Both of the conference’s two representatives (Nevada and Utah State) are favored to win their first-round matchups as higher seeds and they also have the experience (Wolf Pack) and talent (Wolf Pack and Aggies) to reasonably spring another upset or two after that.
Kansas (+150) or Buffalo (+230) to reach the Sweet 16
Many a tourney pundit are piling on and picking against the diminished Jayhawks, who are not the KU of old and are not a No. 1 or 2 seed for the first time since 2009. But this is too tempting of a plus value for a team seeded (fourth in the Midwest) – if not favored – to reach the Sweet 16.
The West’s sixth-seeded Bulls, meanwhile, would have win their opener against the First Four survivor of either Arizona State or St. John’s and then likely have to upend Big 12 regular-season co-champ Texas Tech in the Round of 32. But Buffalo has the firepower (fifth nationally at 84.9 points per game), experience (four of the five leading scorers are seniors) and resume (regular-season road wins over Syracuse and West Virginia) to get to the Sweet 16 after routing fourth-seeded Arizona by 21 points as a No. 13 seed in the opening round last year’s tourney.
Zion Williamson to be named Most Outstanding Player (+420)
Hey, when you have such a heavy favorite as Duke, why not take a plus-dollar flyer on its best player (and one of college hoops most popular/recognizable players in years) to win MVP honors?