Virginia’s NCAA Men’s Tournament Odds Improve Significantly Despite First-Round Scare

Tony Bennett head coach of Virginia Cavaliers men's basketball team
Tony Bennett's Virginia Cavaliers trailed no. 16 Gardner-Webb by double digits in their Round of 64 game on Friday. Photo from @ABC7News (Twitter)
  • Virginia is the No. 1 seed in the South Region
  • The No. 4, No. 5 and No. 7 seeds have already lost in the South
  • Virginia is at +480 (average) after opening at +750 to win the NCAA Tournament

The Virginia Cavaliers had a first-half hiccup in their first round matchup with Gardner-Webb, but even with that scare, their odds to win the 2019 NCAA Men’s Tournament have shortened to an average of +480, from +750 after Selection Sunday.

There are three reasons why that’s happened, so let’s take a look at those and determine if Virginia is a good bet.

2019 NCAA Men’s Tournament Futures Odds

Team 2019 NCAA Tournament Odds
Duke +275
Gonzaga +550
Virginia +480
North Carolina +700
Kentucky +1200

*Odds taken March 23

Virginia Struggles A Bit, But Odds Improve

The Cavaliers made history last season becoming the first No. 1 seed in NCAA Tournament history to lose to a No. 16 seed.

There were visions of their haunted past on Friday when they were trailing Gardner-Webb by as many as 14 points in the first half. But they kept it together.

The Cavs came out in the second half and absolutely flattened the Bulldogs, outscoring them 41-20 in the final 20 minutes. While the game made a few people nervous in the first half, it wasn’t much of a sweat.

As a result, Virginia has jumped from an average of +750 down to +480 to win the NCAA Tournament.

In many cases, a team like Virginia wouldn’t get the benefit of the doubt, as they don’t have strong tournament pedigree – flopped last season and had a shaky start to this year’s March Madness.

However, a number of No. 1 seeds also struggled. No. 1 Duke trailed early and No. 1 North Carolina was also trailing at the half.

Cavs Have Advanced

The second reason that their odds have shortened is a simple one: they’ve advanced.

As teams move further in the bracket, their chances of winning improve each round. As a result, it’s fairly normal that their odds shorten with each win.

Cavs Path To Final Four Looks Much Easier Now

The third reason for Virginia’s new price tag is that their path looks pretty easy.

Remember, this was already a region that lacked pedigree, as there aren’t many teams with experience of making deep runs into the NCAA Tournament. Tennessee is the No. 2 seed in the South Region and Purdue is No. 3.

Beyond that, keep in mind that No. 4 seed Kansas State and No. 5 seed Wisconsin have already been knocked out.

If Virginia can get by No. 9 Oklahoma in the next round, they’ll either face a No. 12 seed (Oregon) or a No. 13 seed (UC Irvine). At the bottom of the bracket, we’ve also seen No. 7 Cincinnati get bounced.

So if you’re Virginia, you’re looking at a double-digit seed in the next round and at worst, a No. 2 Tennessee seed that has little experience with the Elite Eight.

Are The Cavs Worth A Bet?

I’d bet on the Cavs to win their region, but I’d pass on them to win it all. I prefer Duke or Gonzaga to win it all, so I’d take those odds before Virginia’s.

However, the Cavs should make it to the Final Four.

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