What would a big sporting event be without some prop betting?
BetMGM put out some props on the NCAA tournament field on Monday. There's nothing as wild as what color Gatorade will be dumped on the winning coach, though the week is young.
Here are the top props released by BetMGM, with a pick for each:
Gonzaga vs. the field
Gonzaga is the overwhelming favorite to win the tournament, but it's not always that easy. Ask 2015 Kentucky, or 1991 UNLV. If you had to pick one team, you'd probably pick Gonzaga. As of Monday afternoon, 43.6 percent of users in the Yahoo Tournament Pick'em contest are going with Gonzaga to win it all. But if you could pick any one of the other 67 teams vs. the Bulldogs? It's hard to pass on that. Gonzaga is +200 against the field, and the field is -250. Gonzaga is great but you don't want to bet against 67 other teams.
Illinois vs. the field
Illinois is +600 after a great showing down the stretch, which included a Big Ten tournament championship. If you want to go with the field against Illinois, it would be.-900. That's a steep price and one I can't take, though like the Gonzaga prop, picking the field will more often than not be the right side.
Any 16 seed to beat a 1 seed
No. 16 seeds are 1-139 over No. 1 seeds since 1985, when the tournament expanded to 64 teams. I'm not one to tell you to lay -900 on anything, but you're getting a side that has historically won at a 99.3 percent clip. UMBC was awesome and their win over Virginia became a part of NCAA tournament lore, but it might be a long time before it happens again. If you can handle laying such a big number, strangely there is some value in it.
Pick: No 16 seed wins
Number of 1 seeds in the Final Four
Over 2.5 No. 1 seeds in the Final Four is +250, while the under 2.5 is -300. Over the last 35 years, all four No. 1 seeds have made the Final Four just once, and three 1 seeds have made it four times. That means 30 times in 35 years, under 2.5 would have hit. Most analysts on your televisions this week will have three or four No. 1 seeds in the Final Four, but on average only about 1.6 No. 1 seeds make it. Go with history here.
Pick: Under 2.5 No. 1 seeds
Seed of Winning Team
Here are the odds for the seed of.the 2021 champ:
1 seed -200
2 seed +425
3 seed +1200
4 seed +1400
All other seeds +2000 or longer odds
Of the past 35 tournaments, a No. 1 seed has won 22 times (about 63 percent). No. 2 seeds account for five titles, No. 3 seeds have won four times, and seeds 4 and lower have just four combined championships. It's chalky but having a ticket that covers Gonzaga, Baylor, Illinois and Michigan doesn't seem too bad. If you're shooting a little higher, taking a 3 seed at +1200 seems like the best bet.
Pick: 1 seed wins it
Conference of winning team
It's enticing to take the Big Ten, which has nine teams in the field including two No. 1 seeds and two No. 2 seeds. But the last Big Ten team to win it all was Michigan State in 2000, and that's the only title for the conference since 1989. The best value among these conferences might be the SEC, which has the best No. 2 seed in Alabama and a couple other talented teams.
Big Ten +175
Big 12 +175
All other conferences +1000 or longer odds
Each No. 1 seed's odds to make Final Four
I dislike the idea of taking any team at -175 odds to make a Final Four, but Gonzaga's draw is set up for them to cruise to four wins at least. I'm not sure I could take anyone but Gonzaga in that region, let's say. The best value here is Illinois, whose draw isn't too tough and has played as well as anyone over the last month.
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