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Favorite Future March Madness Wagers – March Maniacs 3/27/19

The Men’s March Madness action returns to the hardwood tonight, and how Sweet it is.  I like upsets.  You like upsets.  But the downside of upsets is you get a bunch of crappy games the following Thursday.

Not so this year.  For only the second time ever, every single #1, #2, and #3 seed advanced to the Sweet Sixteen and the other four teams are a pair of #4’s, a #5 that was favored in their 4/5 matchup and a #12 who resides in a power conference and started the season ranked 14th in the Preseason AP poll.

Simply put, there are no easy-outs the rest of the way and we are left with an awesome slate of action.

Here’s my favorite future wagers left on the NCAA March Madness board:

 

#1. North Carolina to win the Midwest Region – 14/10

I think UNC’s toughest remaining game might be Friday’s tilt against Auburn.  But as awesome as they looked sending Kansas packing, I still remember their complete meltdown in the opening round.  They are lucky to be alive, and North Carolina’s relentless offense will be far less forgiving of any mistakes.

From there, Kentucky is still nursing the injury to PJ Washington and Houston struggled in their matchups with the athleticism of Cincinnati, which is fractionally as talented overall as Roy Williams’ squad.

North Carolina has been devastating offensively, scoring 79 or more points in seven of their last eight games.  They are running teams ragged and punishing teams in transition.  But, thanks to the emergence of Coby White and company, they are also executing when teams slow them down.  They have the tourney-hero leadership of Luke May and a bevy of explosive athletes.  Very quietly, North Carolina has been the best team in the nation for the last four weeks.  I’m jumping ship on my pre-tourney UK lean, and think Carolina is the obvious pick to win the region.

 

#2. Virginia to win the National Championship – 9/2

No region is “soft” when you have as much chalk as we do in 2019.  But UVA’s path is, in my estimation, the most navigable to the Final Four.  They have the easiest Sweet 16 game matchup of any team remaining, and while Tennessee and Purdue both have dynamic senior scorers and gritty defenses, neither is tremendously blessed with great offensive balance and creativity.  That’s a problem against UVA.  Virginia has been the best team in the country on both sides of the ball for the entire season.  That makes 9/2 a really nice value.

 

#3. Michigan State to win East Regional & National Championship – 5/2 & 10/1

I can see a realistic path for a Michigan State vs. UVA championship game.  Duke proved how vulnerable they are when they don’t shoot the ball well.  AND they didn’t even shoot THAT badly against UCF.  Now imagine a more explosive Michigan State squad?

I also think they have the second-most favorable matchup of any team remaining with an LSU team that is still surrounded by a ton of drama and missing their coach.  Don’t be surprised to see some of that traditional Izzo March magic ebb into April this year.

The 10/1 National Championship ticket becomes really valuable if they beat Duke, as you will be able to hedge your way to a profitable Final Four (barring some really odd upsets, like Oregon or Houston making the Final Four)

Good luck and enjoy some awesome hoops!!

 

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