Vegas Odds at the Sweet Sixteen

Posted by rtmsf on March 24th, 2010

We thought it would be interesting to see how the bookmakers in Vegas and beyond see the final sixteen teams of this year’s NCAA Tournament.  We’ll take a fairly simplistic look at this with some brief analysis after the jump, but we suggest that if you really want to delve into a greater detail of analysis behind these odds, you head over to Vegas Watch who will be breaking down each region throughout the week.  Here’s how the people who do this for a living handicap the remaining teams in the field.  We’ve broken it down into three categories (from left to right): percentage chance of making the Final Four, the Championship Game and winning the national title.

(ed. note: this was calculated prior to Truck Bryant’s injury for West Virginia)

Some quick thoughts on this:

  • As the top seed remaining in the field and two dominant performances under its belt, Kentucky is the favorite at all three markers, with almost a one in three shot at winning it all two Mondays from now.  Duke is only slighty less of a favorite to win the South Region, with Baylor, St. Mary’s and Purdue mirroring the relative odds of UK’s opposition in the East.  The bookies project a Duke-Kentucky Final Four in our future, with the winner having a tremendous shot at winning the title.
  • Because of Northern Iowa’s upset over Kansas, the Midwest Region has Ohio State as a heavy favorite and three other schools as runners-up.  OSU is given a better shot than we’d imagine to make the title game (27.4%), but their odds of winning it all drop precipitously because of the prospect of playing Duke or Kentucky there.  Northern Iowa is given the same odds as banged-up Michigan State and nearly the same as Tennessee to make the F4, which probably reflects the bookmakers giving the ‘hot’ team much higher odds than they deserve to capitalize on the sucker bet.
  • As for the West Region, Syracuse is a strong favorite to go to Indy, and is slightly preferred over Ohio State to get to the finals, but they’re still not as high as Duke or UK to win it all.  We have no doubt in saying that we’d take Syracuse a hundred times before Duke once in that particular championship game matchup.
  • Interesting to see that #11 seed Washington has better odds than #4 seed Purdue to make the Final Four even though the Huskies would have to go through favorite Kentucky.  The oddsmakers just have no love for a Boilermaker team without Robbie Hummel.
  • Taking roughly a 10% chance as a cutoff, ten teams have a realistic shot at making the title game, but only six teams are reasonable choices to win it all.  Odd that Xavier with its big-time talent Jordan Crawford and a history of tournament success is ahead of only St. Mary’s, Cornell, Purdue and Washington to win it all.
  • Keep in mind that Vegas sets odds to maximize betting (and winning for the book), so these aren’t ‘true’ odds inasmuch as snapshots as to where Vegas thinks the most favorable action will come from. That undoubtedly explains the Northern Iowa anomaly, but bookmakers won’t stray too far from reality when it comes to this stuff.  If Kentucky and Duke are the top two teams in percentage chance to win it all, it’s reasonably likely that’s what they believe will happen too.
rtmsf (3954 Posts)

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One response to “Vegas Odds at the Sweet Sixteen”

  1. Ron Simon says:

    Rush The Court » Blog Archive » Vegas Odds at the Sweet Sixteen: We thought it would be interesting to see how the…

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