Gonzaga should own the best value. Flickr

Remember when you lined up the teams you thought would win the NCAA tournament, and then took fliers on dark horse candidates when betting futures?

And I’m guessing South Carolina wasn’t in that lot of dark horses, either. Now, the Gamecocks are in the Final Four, positioned with the worst odds at winning the NCAA tournament at +750, but it’s a far cry from where South Carolina started.

Before the tournament began, South Carolina was at +20,000 to win it all. A measly $10 bet would net $2,000 if the Gamecocks would somehow pull out two wins in Phoenix.

So why didn’t anyone take South Carolina? Well, the Gamecocks stumbled down the stretch, and there were several other marquee teams surrounding South Carolina before the tournament that it made sense that South Carolina’s Cinderella run was overlooked.

Middle Tennessee entered the tournament with the same odds as South Carolina, and they were everyone’s favorite underdog. Kansas State, USC, Seton Hall, Virginia Tech and Northwestern also entered the tournament with the same odds as South Carolina.

Northwestern was the talk of the tournament, so it makes sense that people put money where their heart was pulling them. And the other teams on that list all had marquee wins that could propel bettors to back those teams.

But it’s the Gamecocks that enter the Final Four with the best return on investment. Now the Gamecocks will have to overcome a 6.5-point spread and the second-best team (according to the odds) Gonzaga to just make the title game. The Bulldogs enter the Final Four with odds at +180, slightly behind North Carolina at +140.

Oregon rounds out the group at +550.

For me, Gonzaga likely offers the best value to win it all. At some point, South Carolina is likely to return to what it was at the end of the season, meaning Gonzaga has the best shot at taking down North Carolina.

I get a better number with Gonzaga than North Carolina, so I would take the Bulldogs at this point. Gonzaga entered the tournament at +1,000. North Carolina owned the second-best odds entering the tournament at +600, while Oregon also has provided some decent value at +1,800.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *