Thursday, March 26, 2015

Wildcats, Zags Heavy Favorites in March Madness Betting



To the surprise of nobody, the undefeated Kentucky Wildcats will hit the hardwood at the Sweet Sixteen as heavy 1/1 favorites to ultimately capture this year's national championship in March Madness betting at the online sportsbooks.

The Wildcats have won 36 straight SU this season since falling short of victory in last year's national championship game, when they dropped a 60-54 decision as 2.5-point favorites at sportsbooks through bettingsports.com.

Kentucky meets the West Virginia Mountaineers in the Sweet Sixteen, pegged as 13.5-point betting favorites in a matchup between two of the nation's best defensive squads.

The Wildcats have held opponents to 56 or fewer points per game in four of their last six outings, but failed to cover as double-digit betting favorites in each of their March Madness opening weekend contests, topping the Hampton Pirates by 23 points as 35-point favorites before recording a 64-51 victory over the Cincinnati Bearcats while favored by 15.5 points.

The Mountaineers reach the Sweet Sixteen for the second time in the last three years, but are pegged as distant 100/1 longshots to emerge as national champions in college basketball futures betting at sportsbooks available through bettingsports.com.

WVU struggled down the stretch, entering the NCAA Tournament with just one SU win in their previous four outings. But the Mountaineers have been impressive at this year's Big Dance, topping a pesky Buffalo Bulls squad by a 68-62 score, covering as 4.5-point favorites before outclassing the Maryland Terrapins as slim 1.5-point favorites in a 69-59 beat down in the Round of 32.

Relishing their current role as David against the Goliath Wildcats, the Mountaineers know what to expect against Kentucky, whom they faced at the NCAA Tournament on two occasions in the past five years.

West Virginia punched their ticket to the Final Four with a 73-66 upset win over the Wildcats at the 2010 tourney, taking home the ATS win as four-point underdogs, but were handed an early exit the following year by Kentucky, who claimed a 71-63 win as 3.5-point favorites.

The UCLA Bruins will also have a mountain to climb this week when they take on the red-hot Gonzaga Bulldogs in the Sweet Sixteen as heavy 8.5-point underdogs in March Madness online betting.

The Bruins opened their regular season with a mediocre 8-7 SU record, but have won 14 of 20 since, silencing the doubters with a 60-59 upset of the SMU Mustangs in their March Madness opener, followed by a 92-75 demolition of the UAB Blazers in the Round of 32.

UCLA faces a Zags squad that has won 27 of their last 28 SU, with 22 of those victories coming by double-digits including an 87-74 rout of the Bruins earlier this season. But with the bar set high by oddsmakers at the online sportsbooks, Gonzaga has struggled to satisfy sports bettors, going 10-11-1 ATS in their last 22 outings.

In other Sweet Sixteen action, the Wichita State Shockers take on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish as narrow 1.5-point favorites, while the Wisconsin Badgers are favored by six over the North Carolina Tar Heels, and the Arizona Wildcats battle the Xavier Muscateers as heavy 10.5-point favorites.

The Louisville Cardinals look to continue their strong play in their first season in the ACC, when they meet the conference rival North Carolina State Wolfpack as 2.5-point favorites, while the Duke Blue Devils are favored by five over the underrated Utah Utes, and the surging Michigan State Spartans get the nod as two-point favorites over the Oklahoma Sooners.