The NCAA tournament selection committee named Florida as the No.1 overall seed in the field of 68. It appears that Las Vegas oddsmakers agree with the decision.
The Las Vegas Hotel and Casino has given the Gators the best chance of cutting down the nets on April 7. A day after the field was revealed, the LVH Superbook gave the top team in the country 9/2 odds of winning the national title.
Florida is the clear choice to be the favorite. They’ve been perfect over their last 26 games, with their last defeat coming on Dec. 2. At 32-2, their only losses have come against ranked opponents. They sport several impressive wins, having beaten Kansas and Memphis once, and Kentucky three times.
The Gators aren’t only favored because they’re playing better than anyone in the tournament. They also managed to avoid many of the top teams, by being placed in the South Region. The Midwest Region is considered to be the toughest part of the bracket, containing a disproportionate amount of title contenders.
“That’s probably the hardest bracket I’ve ever seen in my whole life,” Ed Salmons, assistant sports book director at the LVH Superbook, told the Las Vegas Sun. “It was a comedy show to watch all the teams they stacked that Wichita State would have to beat to get to the Final Four. It was over-the-top insane.”
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In addition to No.1 seed Wichita State, the region’s top four seeds are made up of Louisville, Duke and Michigan. Each of those teams rank in the top 11 of the LVH’s betting odds to win the championship. Florida won’t have to face a team from the Midwest Region until the national title game.
While there are upsets throughout March Madness, it’s usually a No.1 seed that comes out on top. Six of the last seven national champions were the top seed in their region. Connecticut was the only exception, as a No.3 seed in 2011.
Before the start of the season, Kentucky was listed as the favorite to win it all. As the No.8 seed in the Midwest, the LVH lists them at 16th overall, with 40-1 odds.