Jayhawks, Tar Heels sitting atop NCAA tournament odds

Kansas players celebrate after winning the Big 12 tournament final over West Virginia. (Charlie Riedel/AP)

The four top seeds aren’t the four top favourites on the odds to win the NCAA tournament at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com with the field set for the start of March Madness.

Kansas, North Carolina, Virginia, and Oregon claimed the No. 1 seeds in the four regions of the NCAA tournament bracket for this year, with the Jayhawks headlining the South, the Tar Heels the top school in the East, the Cavaliers getting the nod in the Midwest, and the Ducks atop the heap in the West. Oregon, though, isn’t among the top four tournament favourites.

Instead, it’s the Michigan State Spartans that join the Jayhawks, Tar Heels and Cavaliers as top chalk for the Big Dance. Kansas was set as the plus-650 favourite to win the tournament in odds released early on Monday, followed by North Carolina at plus-700. Michigan State then was listed at plus-750 odds, with Virginia a step back of those top three teams at a plus-1100 betting line.

The Spartans join the Cavaliers in the Midwest region of the bracket as the No. 2 seed, after they won the Big Ten Tournament title on Sunday with a 66-62 victory over Purdue. Michigan State wrapped up its season at 29-5 straight up and 22-11 against the spread, while Virginia was 26-7 straight up (SU) and 17-14 against the spread (ATS). The Cavaliers fell 61-57 to the Tar Heels in the championship game of the ACC tournament but still managed to get a No. 1 March Madness seed.

Oregon crushed Utah 88-57 in the championship game of the Pac-12 tournament on Saturday, which impressed the committee enough to give them a No. 1 seed in the West region. The Ducks, 28-6 SU and 18-12-1 ATS on the season, find themselves back at plus-1800 on the NCAA tournament odds as of early this week, putting them ninth on that futures chart.

The Kentucky Wildcats, led by Canadian Jamal Murray, are at plus-1300 on the odds after they knocked off Texas A&M 82-77 in overtime in the SEC tournament championship game on Sunday. Kentucky underachieved at 26-8 SU and 18-16 ATS on the season, and despite claiming the SEC title earned just a No. 4 seed in the East. Texas A&M is the No. 3 seed in the West, but is back at plus-3300 on the odds to win the NCAA tournament at the sportsbooks.

Rounding out the top March Madness favourites are Oklahoma at plus-1400, Villanova at plus-1500, Xavier at plus-1600, and West Virginia at plus-1800. The Duke Blue Devils, finishing at 23-10 SU and 14-17-1 ATS this past season, are the No. 4 seed in the West and listed at plus-2200 odds.