Even Field: Over/Under Prop for No 1 Seeds Cuts It Close
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While reviewing some of the more interesting prop bets for the 2013 NCAA Tournament, I stumbled upon a wager to determine how many No 1 seeds will make it to the Final Four.
The Over/Under is 1½.
With three No 1 teams remaining, then, chalk likes the chances of two more falling.
Indiana has the easiest road to the Final Four (and check out the other predictions in that link!). A match-up against an overrated Syracuse club and an Elite Eight pairing against either Marquette or Miami (assuming they win) should be a relative cakewalk for the preseason No 1. They were the among last No 1 seeds so decided by the Selection Committee -- Gonzaga edged Miami for the final No 1 designation -- and have played like it at times, but are still a dangerous contender.
Kansas was left wanting after the Fab Five of Kentucky prevailed over them in the National Championship last year. Bill Self has three starters returning with plenty of motivation and the pedigree. The Jayhawks won both the Big 12 regular season title and Big 12 tournament and entered the tournament ranked No 3 in the nation. They didn't exactly waltz through the first week of the Dance, but they showed the steadiness that carries teams through tough patches under pressure. However, they are by no means a unanimous pick to advance past the Sweet Sixteen.
Louisville still has the appearance of the best team in the field, or at least the best defense in the tournament. The Cardinals have so far outscored their opponents by a combined 161-104. The 'Ville has the look of wanting to go into each game trying to shut out its opponent. However, the Cardinals have the toughest schedule ahead, with an upstart Oregon waiting in the wings and, if they pluck the Ducks, either No 2 Duke or No 3 Michigan State after that. I'm expecting Louisville to meet Tom Izzo's Spartans, who have a solid oppotunity to pull off the upset.
So, back to the original question. How to approace an Over/Under line of 1½ for No 1 seeds will making it to the Final Four?
My pick: Take the Over.
Indiana has a very managable schedule, Louisville's defense looks dominant, and Kansas has the ultimate motivational factor, that being a chip on their shoulder due to last year's defeat in the title game.
And as Meat Loaf sang, two out of three ain't bad.
Result ... Wichita St 76 Gonzaga 70
Result ... Syracuse 61 Indiana 50
Result ... Michigan 87 Kansas 85
Result ... Louisville 85 Duke 63 UNDER covers