|Chicago, IL - March 21, 2005 – With upsets the order of the day at the NCAA basketball tournament, gamblers taking their chances with Cinderella teams have made a killing. But that trend isn’t likely to last according to Sportsbook.com’s odds makers.|
“Every year March Madness lives up to its reputation in the first weekend with exciting games and incredible upsets, but as the games become more important and the intensity increases, the cream tends to rise to the top,” says Peter Childs, odds maker, Sportsbook.com. “If you’re betting on the winner, the favorites usually don’t disappoint. Teams like Illinois, North Carolina and Duke are still the cream of the crop but there could still be one or two surprises.”
Despite early success by teams like University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, Vermont and Bucknell, history shows that a ticket to the Final Four is normally reserved for the pre-tournament favorites. Since 1985, 34 of 80 Final Four spots up for grabs have been claimed by number one seeds, with 18 and 11 spots going to number two and three seeds respectively. In fact, only 10 seeds higher than number four have reached the Final Four in the last 20 years, the highest being 11th seed LSU in 1986.
The chances of an underdog winning the tournament are even more remote. Eleven of the past 20 champions have been number one seeds with another six coming from number two and three seeds. Only three times since 1985 has a seed higher than number 3 won the tournament – Arizona (#4 in 1997), Kansas (#6 in 1988) and Villanova (#8 in 1985).
“Trying to predict the winner is a lot of fun, and very challenging, but the great thing about online gambling is that there’s so much more than just the results to bet on,” says Childs. “There are limitless propositions to keep people entertained, from betting on individual player performances to betting on live games.”
Heading into the Sweet Sixteen, Sportsbook.com still has its odds on pre-tournament favorites North Carolina at 12-5, followed by Illinois at 16-5 and Duke at 7-1. The complete odds are:
North Carolina 12-5
Oklahoma State 12-1
NC State 35-1
Michigan State 40-1
Texas Tech 50-1
West Virginia 60-1
UW – Milwaukee 100-1
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