Kentucky is the best team in the country. There is no more obvious statement in the whole sports world right now. With a 34-0 record – which included victories over Kansas, North Carolina, Arkansas and Louisville – Kentucky is the undisputed best team in the country. But what is scariest is not their 30 point demolitions of Kansas and UCLA, instead it is the back-to-back near upsets they faced against Ole Miss and Texas A&M which both went to overtime, with the A&M game ending in double overtime. It was those two games where Kentucky showed that they can grind out wins even when everything is against them.
And it is that mental fortitude which will come in handy in the tournament where they will have a target on their back every single game they play. Throw in the fact that they ended up losing in the final last year to an 8 loss UConn team and this Kentucky is going to be hellbent on going 40-0 and winning the tournament.
(All odds provided by Intertops.eu are accurate as of today and subject to change)
Looking at the top seeded teams in this year’s tournament it is just impossible to not see Kentucky emerging victorious. They are the best coached team in the country and have a size advantage that no other team can match, with Willie Cauley-Stein and Karl-Anthony Towns – two NBA-ready 7ft players. Most teams would be lucky to have one of these guys, but Kentucky has two, and it makes them completely unplayable in the paint. The smart money is on Kentucky, they are a step above every other team in the country and when you look at the odds this notion is clearly reflected. March Madness, the most unpredictable tournament in the world, is predicting one thing; and that is, to the disdain of every college hoops fan, a Kentucky victory.
But even though Kentucky is the smart bet, it is no fun rooting for the team who is overwhelmingly perceived as the tournament favourite, especially when it is a team as universally disliked as Kentucky.
So if you’re not going to back Kentucky then who is there left to bet on? The second tier of teams (despite all being #1 seeds) are Wisconsin, Duke and Villanova. Villanova can be crossed off the list immediately purely for being a Big East team. Yes, they have a 32-2 record and have beaten down on their conference, but how many Big East teams are actually going to make it to the second round of the tournament? And they ended up splitting the series with the best team they faced, Georgetown, that featured them getting blown out by 20 on the road. Villanova are also placed in one of the toughest regions this tournament with Louisville, Michigan State, Oklahoma and Virginia all lying in wait. It is hard to back a Big East team to win the tournament given the conference’s recent history in tournament play.
Virginia look like the team to beat in this region, finishing the season with the #1 ranked defense and only 3 losses (to Duke, Louisville and UNC by a combined total of 12 points). This Virginia team has been excellent all year and will be a great match-up to Kentucky if both progress that far. In a tournament like March Madness where there is more money to be won betting on teams who are not #1 seeds then Virginia (+1100 with AllYouBet.ag) are the most logical choice if you want an outside shot but don’t want to be taking a punt on a sub-elite Kansas or Louisville team.
The other team apart from Virginia where there is good value is Wisconsin, who, despite being widely considered the second favourite behind Kentucky, come with some pretty favourable odds. The main reason behind Wisconsin being seen as the second best team in the tournament is Frank Kaminsky, a 7ft behemoth who is widely regarded as the best offensive player in the country. If Wisconsin manage to reach final to presumably face off against Kentucky, then the match-up between Willie Cauley-Stein and Frank Kaminsky will be fantastic to watch, pitting an undefendable player against the best defender in the country. Wisconsin can go as far as Kaminsky wants to take them and it is never a bad move to bet on the team that features the best player in the country, especially as the earliest Wisconsin can play Kentucky is the final game of the tournament.
Kentucky may be the heavy favourite for the tournament but that creates a lot of value elsewhere with Wisconsin and Virginia being prime examples.
Betting Instinct Tip – Wisconsin to win NCAAB West is +150 with AllYouBet.ag