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Can Virginia Challenge Duke in the ACC?

Kyle Guy Virginia
Led by Kyle Guy, Virginia is the #1 team in the Coaches' Poll. Photo by Rikster (Wiki Commons) [CC License]
  • The Virginia Cavaliers are one of only two undefeated teams left in college basketball.
  • The Cavaliers have a better record than Duke, but have much longer March Madness odds.
  • Is there any value on betting Virginia to win the NCAA Tournament?

The Virginia Cavaliers 2017-18 season ended in historic fashion, but for all the wrong reasons.

The monumental upset would have derailed most programs, but the Cavaliers are back this year and look poised to capture another number-one seed at the NCAA Tournament.

Heading into their game at Clemson today (12:00 PM ET), they’re one of only two undefeated teams left in college basketball, and they’re tied for the second shortest odds to win March Madness at BetOnline, along with Michigan and Gonzaga. But second is still well behind ACC-rival Duke.

Odds to Win 2019 NCAA Men’s Tournament

Team Odds to Win 2019 NCAAB National Championship at BetOnline
Duke Blue Devils +200
Virginia Cavaliers +1000
Michigan Wolverines +1000
Gonzaga Bulldogs +1000
Tennessee Volunteers +1400
Kansas Jayhawks +1400
Kentucky Wildcats +1600
Michigan State Spartans +1600
Nevada Wolfpack +1600
North Carolina Tar Heels +1800

*Odds taken 1/12

Despite their flawless record, Virginia’s odds to win the NCAA Tournament have not crept below +1000 all season, but that’s sure to change if they knock off Duke next weekend.

The Cavaliers are cruising

Virginia is not just beating every team they face, they’re destroying them.

The Cavaliers’ average margin of victory is 22.8 points, and they’ve held their opponents to an NCAA low 51.8 points per game. They’re making 40% of their threes, and they force their opposition to commit a turnover on over 20% of their possessions.

It’s not like they are beating up on scrub programs either. Virginia has wins over three of the top-22 ranked teams at kenpom.com, including Wisconsin (11) and Maryland (20).

The ACC is loaded

The ACC is stacked this year, with as many as nine potential tournament teams including the Cavaliers and the number-one ranked Blue Devils.

Duke and Virginia are 1 and 2 in KenPom’s rankings, and seem destined to be the last two ACC teams standing.

The Blue Devils have a higher offensive efficiency rating, while the advantage goes to the Cavaliers at the defensive end. Duke gets all the publicity, but Virginia is a more well rounded team, with much more experience.

They commit the fewest turnovers in the nation, and do the little things better like make their free throws.

We’ve already seen a fundamentally sound Gonzaga team take down Duke this season, and it wouldn’t surprise anyone if Virginia did the same. Fortunately for college hoops fans, we’re guaranteed to see the Blue Devils and Cavaliers square off at least twice in the next few months.

Is there value on Virginia?

Virginia might be the best team in college basketball.

Their record and statistical performance confirm they’re a dominant program, and they’re number one in the Coaches’ Poll ahead of Duke. There’s no reason their odds to win the National Title should be five times longer than the Blue Devils’, so if you believe in the Cavaliers, bet them now while you can still get a four-digit number.

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