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This week starting on Monday, March 11th through Selection Sunday on March 17th, new users on DraftKings will receive $20 in free bets (that is, four sets of $5 bets) upon registration.
Once the bracket is finalized on Selection Sunday, from Monday, March 18th through Wednesday, March 21st, DraftKings will provide brackets for the first time effort. The cost? Absolutely nothing, as $64,000 in total prizes will be up for grabs.
The Big Dance will commence on Tuesday, March 19th with the First Four preliminary round taking place in Dayton, Ohio. This will be followed by the first and second rounds, played in various sites which include Jacksonville, Salt Lake City, and San Jose. These rounds will be followed by the Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight rounds in Anaheim, Washington, Kansas City, and Louisville. The tournament will conclude with the Final Four on Saturday, April 6th and the Championship on Monday, April 8th at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.
Several mid-major tournaments concluded this past week, with the champions locking up automatic berths. Teams from some of these conferences have managed to pull off remarkable Cinderella stories in the past. The most recent run came last year from Loyola Chicago of the Missouri Valley Conference, as the Ramblers marched all the way to the Final Four. Here are the schools who have clinched a spot in the tournament, listed in order of when they won their conference tournament:
Bradley Braves (20-14) Missouri Valley Conference
Gardner-Webb Bulldogs (23-11) Big South Conference
Liberty Flames (28-6) Atlantic Sun Conference
Murray State Racers (27-4) Ohio Valley Conference
Wofford Terriers (29-4) Southern Conference
Iona Gaels (17-15) Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference
Northern Kentucky Norse (26-8) Horizon League
Fairleigh Dickinson Knights (20-13) Northeast Conference
Northeastern Huskies (22-10) Colonial Athletic Association
North Dakota State Bison (17-15) Summit League
St. Mary’s Gaels (22-11) West Coast Conference
Colgate Raiders (23-10) Patriot League
At the moment, the safe bets to be 1-seeds are Gonzaga and Virginia, who coincidentally are ranked first and second in the nation. The last two number one seeds are up in the air and within grasp for teams like North Carolina, Kentucky, Michigan State, Duke, and Tennessee.
As of this past Monday, Duke is listed as the favourite to win the championship by Vegas sports books. The Blue Devils are currently given 9/4 odds to raise the trophy, followed by the Gonzaga Bulldogs who have 9/2 odds.
Fellow number one seed contenders Virginia and North Carolina have 6/1 and 10/1 odds respectively, while Kentucky, Michigan State, and Tennessee are each listed with 12/1 odds.
Major conferences like the ACC, Big Ten, and SEC typically receive multiple at-large bids, many of whom make deep runs and win the whole thing. The most recent instance of this occurred two years ago, when North Carolina took home the title despite not winning their conference tournament. Teams that may fit this bill include Florida State with 60/1 odds, and Kansas with 80/1 odds.
Picking upsets in the tournament and getting them right is one of the most rewarding feelings for bracket junkies. The payoffs from sports books can be even more fulfilling, as lower-seeded schools understandably have the odds stacked against them. For those looking for some potential bracket busters, up-and-coming mid-majors like Buffalo and Wofford may be tempting bets, with 150/1 and 250/1 odds respectively.
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Andre has been writing for WSN since February 2019, covering college basketball and college football. A graduate of Florida State and UNC-Chapel Hill, he lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. When he is not writing, he enjoys playing sports and Magic: The Gathering.
Email: [email protected]More info on Andre Viljoen
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