2019 NCAA Tournament: Odds, Predictions and Key Statistics
The Tournament: When and Where
The tournament will officially begin on Tuesday, March 19th in Dayton, Ohio with two First Four match-ups featuring 11th and 16th seeded teams, with the other pair of games to follow on the 20th. Here is how the rest of the schedule will play out:
Round of 64
- Dates: March 21-22
- Sites: Columbus, Columbia, Tulsa, San Jose, Jacksonville, Hartford, Salt Lake City, and Des Moines.
Round of 32
- Dates: March 23-24
- Sites: Same as the prior round.
Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight
- Dates: March 28-31
- Sites: Louisville, Anaheim, Washington, and Kansas City.
Final Four and National Championship
- Dates: April 6th and 9th
- Site: Minneapolis
Who Are The Betting Favourites?
One-seeds tend to be a tempting choice when filling out a bracket, and sports books are well aware, as the top four overall seeds in this year’s tournament have the best odds. Their championship odds are listed below:
1-seed Championship Odds
- Duke (+225)
- Gonzaga (+500)
- Virginia (+500)
- North Carolina (+800)
The Duke Blue Devils are understandably the favourites to win coach Mike Krzyzewski’s sixth national championship. This team featuring freshman stars in R.J. Barrett, Zion Williamson, and Cam Reddish has a make-up that is very similar to their young 2015 title squad.
The other three top seeds have put together quality seasons worthy of their seeding, and boast their share of young talent to go with senior leadership. Gonzaga and North Carolina have experienced success in the Big Dance in recent years, facing off in the title game in 2017. The Cavaliers, however, have been a disappointment during the Tony Bennett era. Despite earning one-seeds in three of the past five tournaments, Virginia has failed to make it past the Sweet 16. Last year, they became the first one-seed to lose to a 16-seed when they got embarrassed by UMBC.
Who Are The Other Serious Contenders?
Understandably, the next four teams with the best odds this year are the two seeds. Traditional powers Kentucky and Michigan State (each +1200) are followed by Tennessee (+1400) and Michigan (+1600). After that, things start to get interesting.
Non-1/2-Seed Championship Odds
- No.3 Texas Tech (+2000)
- No. 5 Auburn (+2500)
- No. 4 Florida State, No. 3 Purdue, No. 4 Virginia Tech (+3300)
- No. 3 Houston, No. 6 Iowa State, No. 3 LSU, No. 6 Villanova (+4000)
- No. 4 Kansas, No. 4 Kansas State, No. 7 Louisville, No. 5 Marquette, No. 5 Wisconsin (+5000)
- No. 6 Buffalo, No. 10 Florida, No. 7 Nevada, No. 8 Syracuse (+6600)
As an example, fifth-seeded Auburn has better odds to win than third-seeded LSU. Much of that has to do with the FBI investigation surrounding the Bayou Bengals and their coach, Will Wade along with star player, Javonte Smart. Additionally, defending champion Villanova has better odds as a six-seed than fourth-seeded Kansas, with the Jayhawks limping into the tournament short-handed.
Which Seeds Have Had The Most Success?
Predictably, one-seeds have won the most championships with 21, while two-seeds follow with five. Furthermore, the past five Final Fours have featured at least one number-one seed. On the flip, side of the coin, those Final Fours have featured two double-digit seeds, and three seven-seeds, one of which was 2014 champion UConn. The only team lower seeded than that Huskies team to ever win it all is eight-seed Villanova in 1985.
One should take caution when sending one-seeds to the Final Four in their brackets, as there as an all one-seed foursome has only happened once (2008). In addition, 2015 has been the only year this century where three one-seeds made it to the Final Four. There have also been two seasons since 2000 when no one-seeds reached the Final Four (2006 and 2011).
Where To Look For Upsets
The seeds to really keep an eye on are 10s through 13s, who have won at least 21% of their first round games. The odds for 10s through 12s look even more appealing in the following round, as these seeds reach the Sweet 16 at least 43% of the time. Statistical anomalies start to pop up in the Round of 16 as 10 and 11 seeds have won in this round more often than 9-seeds (4 wins), while winning as many times as 5 and 8-seeds (8 wins).
The Elite Eight is also full of interesting outcomes, as 11-seeds have a 4-4 record in this round compared to 1-3 and 1-7 for 9 and 10-seeds respectively. Likewise, 8-seeds are 5-3 in the Elite Eight compared to 6 and 7-seeds, who are 3-11 and 3-7 respectively.
Where Can You Bet on the NCAA Tournament
If you are in New Jersey, you have plenty of legal betting options when it comes to the 2019 NCAA Tournament.
DraftKings Sportsbook is offering you free bets worth $20 when you sign up and open a betting account.
888Sport NJ is another good option, giving you a $10 free bet and a welcome bonus up to $500.