5 Final Four Long-Shot Bets to Consider in 2019

5 Final Four Long-Shot Bets to Consider in 2019

With seven of the last eight seasons featuring a seventh seed or higher reaching NCAA's March Madness Tournament, there are plenty of long shots to bet on.

Here are five value candidates poised for a shot to make the Final Four that bettors should consider when wagering on who might be next to wear the glass slipper.

  1. Wofford +1500


    Don’t knock the Terriers, who are went unbeaten in a Southern Conference that’s the strongest it’s been in years, and deserve their No. 7 seed.

    Senior guard Fletcher Magee, No. 2 in the NCAA all-time in 3s made, leads four players who shoot over 40 percent from beyond the arc. Mike Young is an underrated coach who’s been to the NCAAs four times, and the Terriers threw a real scare into North Carolina earlier this year.

    This is an experienced group with the ability to capitalize on a busted bracket just like Loyola did last year, but they’ll likely need to get past Kentucky in the second round.

  2. Nevada +2000


    It’s been a contentious start to March for the Wolf Pack, who were involved in a hallway fracas following a loss at Utah State, and then bowed out in the semifinals of the Mountain West tournament.

    But this team still sports a sterling overall record, and many of the same players who powered last season’s Sweet 16 run.

    Also a No. 7 seed, Nevada is another mid-major that won’t be intimidated by anyone in the tournament, and could make a run to the Elite Eight if they can solve Michigan in Round 2.

  3. Syracuse +4000


    The Orange were something of a regular-season disappointment, but they still sport that trademark zone that can be very difficult for opponents to with in the kind of short turnarounds that the NCAA Tournament demands.

    Syracuse proved a tough out — even to Duke and Zion Williamson — in the ACC tournament despite missing guard Tyus Battle, who’s returned from a back injury and is capable of taking over a game.

    It would be a clash of styles to say the least should the Orange meet Gonzaga in the second round.

  4. Auburn +1000


    One of the season’s bigger disappointments remains one of the nation’s most talented teams, and we’ve always wondered what would happened if the Tigers ever put it all together.

    Well, in the SEC tournament, they did, hammering Tennessee in the final.

    Auburn is the kind of squad no top seed wants to see in the Sweet 16 — the Tigers have potential NBA players in guards Jared Harper and Bryce Brown, swingman Danjel Purifoy back from almost a year lost to injury, and talent to match up with North Carolina if they meet in the Sweet 16.

  5. Buffalo +1500


    The Bulls have won 12 straight and have the potential to be an absolute menace in the lower half of the West bracket.

    Guard C.J. Massinburg leads a trio of savvy, senior double-figure scorers, and this is a program used to being in the NCAAs — they’ve now gone in four of the last five years, and notched an upset of No. 4 seed Arizona in the opening round a year ago.

    A No. 6 seed, the Bulls are the type of mid-majorthat won’t fear any opponent, including a vulnerable Texas Tech squad in a potential second-round game.

Following the Examples of Past Cinderellas

They were the darlings of last year’s NCAA Tournament, taking advantage of a wide-open regional and getting a little inspiration from 98-year-old team chaplain Sister Jean as they prevailed in one close game after another to reach the Final Four.

And yet, the Loyola of Chicago Ramblers were only the latest in a growing line of long shots to shine on college basketball’s biggest stage.

We’ve reached the point where an out-of-nowhere team advancing to the Final Four isn’t a surprise — it’s almost expected, given the rate at which it’s occurring. A team seeded seventh or lower has reached the Final Four in six straight years, and in seven of the last eight.

That’s not a fluke; it’s a trend born of more schools pouring more resources into their basketball programs, and it’s something NCAA betting fans should take note of as the Big Dance approaches once again.

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Betting NCAA Tournament Underdogs

Loyola was a No. 11 seed when it reached the promised land last year. In 2017, it was seventh-seeded South Carolina. In 2016, it was 10th-seeded Syracuse. In 2015, seventh-seeded Michigan State. In 2014, No. 7 seed Connecticut became the lowest seed to win the national title since eighth-seeded Villanova in 1985. Wichita State was a No. 9 seed when it reached the Final Four in 2013.

It’s important to note that no team seeded higher than No. 11 (Loyola last year, VCU in 2011, Georgia Mason in 2006 and LSU in 1986) has reached the Final Four.

And look again at those teams that made surprise runs — most are lower-seeded major-conference teams, rather than surprises from mid-major or one-bid leagues.

No question, Loyola was helped last year by a regional bracket that imploded after top-seeded Virginia was upset by UMBC. But it’s also not at all uncommon for long shots to claw their way past one highly-seeded opponent after another, as South Carolina did in 2017 and Syracuse the year before. Here are five value candidates to consider when wagering on who might be next to wear the glass slipper.

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