Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Florida and Arizona, a pair of No. 1 seeds, are two of the four schools with single-digit odds to win the NCAA Tournament. The two other teams are not one, two or even three seeds.
Michigan State and Louisville, two No. 4 seeds, are right behind Florida and ahead of Arizona in terms of odds to win it all. One possible reason could be last year's results as two four seeds, Michigan and Syracuse, made trips to the Final Four.
One could argue the reason the Spartans and Cardinals have lower odds than teams such as Kansas and Wisconsin is due to easier paths to the championship game. But then how does that explain why Syracuse and Duke, three seeds in arguably the two toughest regions - South and Midwest, respectively - are favored over the other three seeds from weaker brackets?
The top 20 favorites are an interesting bunch. One would expect to find most, if not all of the one, two, three, four and five seeds, but that is not the case. First, there are no five seeds listed at all. Second, North Carolina State, a No. 12 seed, is favored over fifth-seeded Saint Louis even though the Billikens are giving points to the Wolfpack in the actual game. Third, Kentucky (an eight seed) and Oklahoma State (a nine seed) have lower odds than a four and all fives and sixes.
One team not getting any respect is Wichita State. There are five clubs with lower odds than the No. 1 seed in the Midwest and two of them are even in the same region. One of those squads in Louisville.
The Cardinals, the fourth-seeded team in the Midwest, could meet the Shockers in the Sweet 16 if both clubs win their first two games. Louisville beat Wichita State by four points to reach the NCAA title game a season ago, but the Shockers led by a dozen points with just under 14 minutes left to play.
One interesting wager based solely on the odds is the over/under in terms of wins for all Big Ten teams. The number is set at 10.5 with the under favored at -140 and the over at +110.
Considering the Michigan State Spartans are the second choice to win it all, it is very likely they will be victorious in at least five games. Wisconsin and Michigan are both around 20-1 and should be favored to win another five contests between them. That leaves Iowa, Nebraska and Ohio State to take care of business in just one game to go over the 10.5.
Another bet that could make folks some money is taking over 5.5 total wins for teams from the American Athletic Conference. The over is favored at -130 while the under is at even-money.
Louisville is similar to Michigan State in terms of odds to win the title, so it is conceivable the Cardinals will win around four or five games just by themselves. That leaves Cincinnati, Connecticut and Memphis to win only one or two games to get the money. . WHICH TEAMS WILL REACH THE FINAL FOUR?
Florida is not only favored to win the South region but also to cut down the nets at the end of the entire tournament. However, the Gators did not play their best basketball at the end of the season as they survived tight games with Kentucky and Tennessee.
Despite having won 26 games in a row, they did lose to Wisconsin and Connecticut earlier in the season while winning six games by four points or less.
The South is a very difficult region as Florida has to contend with the likes of Kansas, Syracuse and UCLA as well as Pittsburgh and Ohio State. It is quite possible the Gators make it to the title game and win it, but backing them as the overall favorite is not the wisest bet.
The choice is Syracuse at 7-1 to come out of the South. Last year's squad reached the Final Four despite losing four of its final five regular-season games. This season, Syracuse lost four of its last six during the regular season, and then its only ACC Tournament game, so don't let the poor finish affect you if the Orange is your team.
Michigan State, favored in the East, got hot at the right time, winning the Big Ten Tournament. The Spartans also won it in 2012, but won just two games in the NCAA Tournament that year. The pick in the East is the fourth choice, Iowa State.
The Cyclones are riding high as Big 12 postseason champs, defeating three of the last four teams that beat them. They also knocked off Michigan early in the season and have a great chance to upset a couple of teams on their way to Arlington, Texas - site of the Final Four.
The Midwest could go a number of ways as four teams are 5-1 or lower. The choice is Wichita State. The Shockers are unbeaten, tournament-tested and hungry after losing to Louisville a year ago.
The West might be the weakest region and that is why Arizona will be the second No. 1 seed to reach the Final Four.
As for the title game, look for Syracuse to meet Wichita State with the Shockers remaining undefeated.