March Madness - The teams who have the best chance to win it all, by the numbers.

So let’s take a look at the top 8 favorite teams to win the NCAA March Madness tournament of 2019, the odds, the path, and the likelihood for each team to win this winner take all tournament.

Duke 9/4:

Duke comes in at just over 2 to 1 odds to win and that’s mostly due to the fact that they got Zion Williamson back from injury and he has looked like he didn’t miss any time at all. In his three games back from injury, he scored 29, 31, and 21. Duke went 9-1 against Top 25 ranked opponents with Zion in the lineup this year and 0-3 without him (I’m not counting him as playing in the first game vs UNC when he played less than 30 seconds). Duke did get the last laugh against UNC after beating them in what I felt was the game of the year with Duke winning 74-73 in the ACC Semifinal. Duke will most likely need to go through Virginia Tech in their own bracket who did beat them earlier this season without Zion. The only other real threat I feel like Duke has in their own Region is Michigan State who went 10-1 against Top 25 teams this season. That Duke / Michigan State game to advance to the Final Four would be a fun one to watch. Duke has to potential to matchup with two teams who already beat them in their own side of the Final Four and that would be Gonzaga or Syracuse. Gonzaga is more likely and the game between Gonzaga and Duke earlier this season was a fun one that the Zags won 89-87. I will be betting the over if we get this rematch. I am confident in Duke getting past Gonzaga to advance to the National Championship. Who do I think has a good chance of meeting up with them? Ohhhh a well known friend, North Carolina. UNC beat Duke twice without Zion and the most recent matchup was decided by 1 point. I think that would be another fantastic game but I feel like it would be a toss up. Duke -1? Duke 9/4 is worth a shot with the path they have to the Championship.

Gonzaga 19/4:

About 5 to 1 odds for the Zags to win it all and earlier this season, I would say that looked a lot better than it does right now. Sure, they are second on the list of favorites but that loss they took to St. Mary’s has me feeling a little bitter. The Zags averaged 90+ points a game all season and then put up 47 against St Mary’s in their most recent game. I am bitter because I took the over in that game but still, that performance should be a bit concerning to even the most die hard Zags fans. If they can’t beat St. Mary’s, are they safe against Syracuse in the second round? They also have a Michigan team in their region who made it to the National Championship last season. If they do make it out of their region to the Final Four, I have a hard time picking them to beat these other top teams who will likely be in their way. 5 to 1 is a solid payout but I’d like to see another game played in the first round before I put any money on Gonzaga period after their last performance last week. I wouldn’t suggest betting on the Zags to win it all at this point.

North Carolina 6/1:

6-1 payout for a team who was 1 point away from going 3-0 against Duke this season who is the heavy favorite to win it all. Of course the Duke fans will say the two games that UNC won was because Zion didn’t play more than 30 seconds. I don’t care, this Tar Heels team competed with Duke right until the final minute with Zion playing last Friday in the ACC Semifinal and I’m confident that they could knock Duke off in the Natty if both teams made it to that point. Woah, getting a little ahead of ourselves huh? UNC went 8-4 against Top 25 teams and they did lost to a couple teams that they will most likely need to go through if they want to make it to the Championship. The challenges will start within their own region where they will have to go through Kansas who was 2-1 against Top 10 teams this year, then if UNC survives that they will most likely meet up with Kentucky who already beat them this season 80-72. If UNC makes it to the Final Four they could be looking at a matchup with another team who already beat them this season Virginia or a tough Tennessee team who beat Kentucky twice this year and that Kentucky team beat UNC. UNC definitely has a tougher road to the Title game than their rival Duke who is on the other side of the bracket but if these two teams meet up again for the fourth time this season, I’ll be taking UNC MONEYLINE. 6-1 is good value but UNC definitely has a tough road ahead of them.

Virginia 6/1:

6-1 payout for the Cavaliers who did compete with a Zionless Duke team. They also beat North Carolina on the road which is an impressive win. 8-3 against Top 25 ranked teams this season. Their most recent loss to Florida State has me a little concerned about their legitness in the Big Dance. How did Virginia do last year as a #1 seed? OUCH. Too soon? First round exit after getting whacked by UMBC 74-54. There are a few teams in their region that could knock them off, most notably Tennessee. That might be giving this Virginia team more credit than they deserve though as 4 of their last 6 tournament appearances have ended with a first or second round exit. Will their defense be good enough to hold up against some of these high powered offenses that they will need to go through to win it all? I’m not overly confident in the Cavs to make a serious run at this years’ title.

Kentucky 14/1:

Always fun looking at some double digit odds and we start with this 14-1 for Kentucky. Kentucky went just 5-4 against Top 25 teams this season but that may be skewed a bit since they played Tennessee three times and Tennessee was ranked 1, 7, & 8 in those matchups. Kentucky beat them when they were ranked #1. One thing that I like about the Kentucky losses this season is that 4 of their 6 came by 4 points or less so they were playing close games. They did take an ass whooping by Duke and Tennessee but other than that, they competed in all of their games this season which will benefit them in this tournament when they get in close games. The biggest threat in their own region is North Carolina and they already beat them this year so I can see Kentucky coming out of their region. Then it could be a rematch against Tennessee in the Final Four and I could see them getting past the Vols. Anything goes in the Natty and if you have a 14-1 open ticket that comes down to the Natty you can hedge your bet by betting on the other team to set yourself up to profit either way. 14-1 is worth a shot.

Michigan State 14/1:

Michigan State opened some eyes this year as the season went on and they finished 10-1 against Top 25 ranked opponents. They swept their rival Michigan who were in the Natty last year. The major challenge they face and the elephant in the room so to say is that they are in the same region as Duke. Sure they can compete with Duke but that’s an uphill battle right from the start. I know anything is possible in March but I’ll be honest, I don’t see Michigan State knocking off Duke so I’ll cut to the chase and say that the 14/1 is not worth it.

Tennessee 16/1:

16-1 for a team who reached #1 in the rankings, this is interesting to me let’s take a closer look. 3-4 against Top 25 teams isn’t a great look for them and neither is their most recent loss to Auburn by 20 points. However, they beat Kentucky twice when they were ranked in the Top 5 and they knocked off Gonzaga when they were #1 so that makes the Vols 3-1 against Top 5 ranked opponents. The good thing for the Vols is that they don’t have an overly difficult path to get out of their own region since they have the weakest #1 seed in my opinion. Sleeper team could be the #6 Villanova squad that won the Natty last year but I can see the Vols coming out of their region. They also have the fire power to compete with North Carolina or Kentucky who they have already beat twice this season if they match up with them in the Final Four. At that point, you can hedge on the 16-1 payout and yes, I do think it’s worth it.

Michigan 18/1:

Don’t forget that they were in the Championship game last year and if they would have won, KofSports would have won his own bracket pool. I’m glad they all lost because I know a ton of you would cry FIX. Michigan did get revenge on the team who beat them in the championship last year earlier this season and started the season 17-0 before taking a few bad losses. Unranked Wisconsin, unranked Iowa, and unranked Penn State definitely scare me and then they got swept by their rival Michigan State. I think Michigan could come out of their region but it will be tough for them to get past Duke in the Final Four. I don’t think it’s worth the 18-1 odds to take them to win it all.