March Madness is finally upon us! It’s one of the best times of the year for fans of college basketball. It’s a time where underdogs become Cinderella candidates just as fast as blue bloods make it to the Final Four.
The field of 68 was released Sunday night, and it didn’t take long for our friends at DraftKings Sportsbook to release the opening odds for the first round of the NCAA Tournament. But they updated the odds for teams to win the whole dang thing.
We’ll go one by one through the Big Ten and then the entire country with both categories, but let’s start off in the best conference in college basketball this season. The Big Ten has nine teams in the field of 68 for the second straight year. Nine teams are the most of any conference for the 2022 tourney.
Here are the odds for the Big Ten’s first round:
- Indiana (-4) vs. Wyoming (Tuesday, 9:10 p.m.)
- Rutgers vs. Notre Dame (Pick ‘em game, Wednesday, 9:10 p.m.)
- Michigan (-2.5) vs. Colorado State (Thursday, 12:15 p.m.)
- Iowa (-10) vs. Richmond (Thursday, 3:10 p.m.)
- Ohio State (-1.5) vs. Loyola Chicago (Friday, 12:15 p.m.)
- Purdue (-16.5) vs. Yale (Friday, 2 p.m.)
- Illinois (-6.5) vs. Chattanooga (Friday, 6:50 p.m.)
- Michigan State (-1.5) vs. Davidson (Friday, 9:40 p.m.)
- Wisconsin (-7.5) vs. Colgate (Friday, 9:50 p.m.)
You read that correctly — the entire Big Ten is favored to win the opening round, minus Rutgers as a pick’em game. That’s still wild to see, but the oddsmakers are very high on the conference heading into the tournament.
The most surprising line to me is Michigan State only being favored by 1.5 points against Davidson, a team that just lost in the finals of the A10 Championship to Richmond, a team that wouldn’t have made it into the tourney had it not defeated Davidson. I like Tom Izzo and the Spartan’s chances of taking down Davidson in this one, especially considering their next round opponent would likely be Duke. The NCAA wants that matchup bad, since it’s Coach K’s final go around, so one last game with two legendary coaches seems likely.
As for the whole tournament, here is where the Big Ten stacks up:
- Purdue: +2,000
- Iowa: +2,200
- Illinois: +5,000
- Wisconsin: +10,000
- Michigan: +15,000
- Ohio State: +20,000
- Michigan State: +20,000
- Indiana: +30,000
- Rutgers: +50,000
With the way Indiana played in the Big Ten Tournament, it wouldn’t be an awful move to throw a dollar or two on the Hoosiers. Trayce Jackson-Davis really stepped up when he needed to, and the whole team played very sound defensively. If I had a few bucks and could only bet on a Big Ten team, gimme Indiana.
As far as how the whole country looks on the betting lines to win it all...
- Gonzaga: +300
- Arizona: +650
- Kentucky: +800
- Kansas: +850
- Baylor and Auburn: +1,200
- Tennessee and Villanova: +1,400
- Duke: +1,600
- UCLA: +1,800
I don’t know how you do brackets, but I only fill out one every year. So I have Arizona winning it all in my one and only bracket, so +650 doesn’t look bad at all.
Obviously, Duke at +1,600 looks pretty nice as well, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Kansas or Kentucky make a nice run in the tournament. I’m not sold on Gonzaga being the No. 1 team overall; I think the Bulldogs make it far, but I can’t see them winning it all.
Do you plan on making any bets for the opening round of the tournament? How about any bets for a team, or teams, to win the entire tournament? Let us know in the comments!