Betting on the Best of the Sweet 16

By this time next week, we will be looking ahead to the Final Four. The Sweet 16 will have been winnowed to the Elite Eight, and then down to the four teams that will head to Glendale, Arizona with a chance to win the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.

All four top seeds remain alive after the first weekend of the tournament. But it’s been since 2008 that we had all four top seeds make it to the Final Four. And in the last six Final Fours, only seven No. 1s have appeared. Last season, eventual champion UConn was the lowest remaining seed at No. 4.

Which teams are the best bets as we get ready for the Sweet 16?

West Region Winner Odds

Of the four remaining top seeds, North Carolina is the only one that isn’t the betting favorite to advance from its region. That honor goes to Arizona in the West. The No. 2 seed is the favorite at +120, with the Tar Heels behind them at +170.

UNC faces Alabama (+450) in the Sweet 16, and Arizona gets Clemson (+1000). With two ACC teams in the West this weekend, it’s worth noting that the ACC is 8-1 through two rounds of play.

East Region Winner Odds

No one is a bigger favorite to win their region than UConn is in the East. The defending national champions are -230 to head to their seventh Final Four all-time, and they remain the favorites to win their sixth national championship. The lone time the Huskies made it to the Final Four but did not win the national championship was in 2009, when they lost to Michigan State in the semifinals.

UConn plays the longshot of the group, San Diego State (+1400). Big 12 tournament champion Iowa State (+425) is the No. 2 seed in the region, and they will play No. 3 seed Illinois (+600) in the Sweet 16.

South Region Winner Odds

The other team paying negative money to make it to the Final Four is Houston, sitting at -105 to emerge from the South. The Cougars will enjoy Texas home cooking in the regional final in Dallas, as they face No. 4 seed Duke (+380). Duke is just two years removed from its last trip to the Final Four.

Marquette (+220) is the No. 2 seed in the region, and they have to face the Cinderella of the South, North Carolina State (+1300). Marquette was last in the Final Four in 2003, and head coach Shaka Smart was there in 2011 as the head coach of Virginia Commonwealth.

Seven teams seeded 11th or lower won their first round tournament games this season. No. 11 North Carolina State was the only one of the seven to win in the second round.

Midwest Region Winner Odds

The Midwest regional semifinals and finals will take place in Detroit, 280 miles away from Purdue. Expect to see a great number of Boilermakers fans there to cheer on the top seed and the top player in the country, Zach Edey. Purdue (+130) squares off against No. 5 seed Gonzaga (+450).

Gonzaga’s last Final Four appearance was in 2021, when they made it to the championship game and lost to Baylor. Purdue hasn’t been to the Final Four since 1980, when they lost to UCLA in the semifinals.

The second seed in the Midwest is Tennessee (+230), and they play No. 3 Creighton (+450). Neither the Volunteers nor the Bluejays have ever played in the Final Four.

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