Which Teams Could be this Year's (16) UMBC and (1) Virginia

Which Teams Could be this Year's (16) UMBC and (1) Virginia

It's the most wonderful time of the year, especially for fans of NCAA basketball betting. No, not Christmas - March Madness!

Last year, the tournament saw it's first ever 16-over-1 upset when Maryland-Baltimore County (UMBC) took out Virginia in the first round.

Virginia entered that game undefeated, the first of only four games they have lost between then and now.

Will a 16 Seed beat a No. 1 This Year?

So will history repeat itself? The short answer: probably not.

Duke, UVA, North Carolina, and Gonzaga all saw their names at the very top of the brackets by earning No. 1 seeds, with none of the four schools on much of an upset alert.

In last year's tournament, Penn actually had the highest odds in March Madness history to knock off a 1 seed when they matched with Kansas (it was roughly an 18 percent chance).

Penn lost by 19 points, proving that UMBC's win over Virginia was more luck than actual skill. The old adage 'better lucky than good' couldn't be truer for this wild tournament.

Which Top Seeds Should You Bet On?

Duke, Gonzaga, UNC, and UVA are all very good bets in this tournament.

It may sound like chalk talk, but the top four seeds in this year's bracket have separated themselves from most of the other schools this season.

Duke has one of the best players the sport of basketball has seen since Kevin Durant or LeBron James in South Carolina-native Zion Williamson.

UNC brings experience and consistency on the road, which are overlooked attributes for this event.

Gonzaga beat their conference opponents by about 20 points per game (eighth toughest conference in the nation), along with defeating a fully healthy Duke team early in the season.

UVA has the number one defense in the nation and only three losses, two of which came from a Zion Williamson-led Duke team.

Duke is currently favored to win the whole tournament at +200 (33.3%) with 888Sport which is a pretty good value for what this team has.

Duke's Weakness?

Their only downfall is their experience, with freshmen not only starting but as the main catalysts for scoring points.

Freshmen Williamson, R.J. Barrett, Cam Reddish, and Tre Jones have accounted for about 80% of Duke's points this season.

The good news is that those four players are easily the best four in the nation when playing together.

The bad news is that none of the four mentioned have any NCAA Tournament experience, but that's what head coach Mike Krzyzewski is for.

With the talent Duke has and the leadership Krzyzewski brings, it's hard to bet against the Blue Devils.

Duke does have a much tougher road than some may realize though, as Central Florida (UCF) has one of the best defenses in the nation (a possible second-round game).

Virginia Tech already beat Duke this season too, which is a possible Sweet 16 matchup.

Bet on UNC?

UNC lost in the second round last season, returning almost all of the same payers that fell short to Texas A&M.

The biggest difference (besides a year of experience) this UNC team has from a year ago is the emergence of Coby White.

White has averaged 20.6 points per game over the last six contests, which includes two games scoring 20-plus points and another scoring 34.

The last time White shot under 50% from the field was mid-February when UNC beat Duke.

The Tar Heels currently have an odds to win set at +700 (12.5%) with SugarHouse, giving Roy Williams' team good value as well.

Other Top Seeds to Consider Backing

Getting away from the top overall seeds, others to consider betting on possibly winning their regions include Michigan State (+400 (20%)), Texas Tech (+550 (15.4%)), Purdue (+500 (16.7%)), Tennessee (+300 (25%)) and Kentucky (+275 (26.7%)).

Texas Tech and Purdue may have the simplest road to the Sweet 16, while Michigan State, Tennessee and Kentucky's are a bit more difficult.

Cincinnati, Louisville and Seton Hall all threaten the 2 seeds if they were to win their first-round game. Seton Hall beat Kentucky already this season, while Louisville also beat Michigan State.

Although Cincinnati hasn't played Tennessee, they do match well with size and defensive abilities.

Which Teams Should You Avoid?

A name that comes to mind when answering this question is Belmont.

Many are high on Belmont not only winning their 'First Four' game against Temple but going on a run.

Belmont's odds of defeating Temple are at-177 (63.9%) with 888Sport.

While a win is possible for Belmont, Temple is a very difficult opponent to open with. Emotions will be high for the Owls as well, playing for head coach Fran Dunphy.

Dunphy has been the head coach of Temple since 2006, as this is his last year with the team.

If Belmont wins, they would more than likely meet Maryland in the next round who currently has a 65 percent chance of advancing regardless who they face. So the odds of Belmont winning just one game (let alone two or more) is very concerning.

Another team to stay away from when betting is the Kansas Jayhawks to win the Midwest (at +900 (10%)).

Although Kansas has played very well with a depleted roster, it's still a depleted roster.

The absence of LaGerald Vick and Udokoa Azubuike will keep this team short of making a Final Four appearance, not to mention a tough matchup with CAA champion Northeastern.

Other Underdogs to Consider in 1st Round

California-Irvine and New Mexico State are also upset alert potentials on everybody's radar, but you should approach with caution.

New Mexico State faces a very tough matchup against Auburn, as both team's love to run the court and shoot three's.

UC-Irvine's odds for an upset currently sit at +175 (36.4%) while New Mexico State's are +240 (29.4%) with Bet365.

Auburn with odds to win their first game at -305 (75.3%) with 888Sport is possibly the hottest team entering the tournament after winning the SEC gauntlet. They are due to cool off at some point, so perhaps New Mexico State is the team to end their streak.

An interesting note on New Mexico State, they have 13 players on their roster that average 11 minutes per game or more. That means everyone on the team contributes, and they have productive bench depth.

UC-Irvine has a good chance to upset Kansas State as well, with the Wildcats missing one of their best players in Dean Wade although he may return.

Add the Wade injury with the fact the game is taking place in San Jose, California then you have a recipe for a possible upset.

However, try not to fall in love with either UC-Irvine or New Mexico State making long runs.

Playing the odds is the safest way to approach brackets, and having either go far could hurt yours early.

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