Vegas Bookmakers at Odds With NCAA Selection Committee


Warren Buffett has offered $1 billion to anyone who fills out a perfect NCAA tournament bracket, which is why you’ve spent your entire Monday trying to beat what DePaul mathematician Jeffrey Bergen conservatively estimates are odds of 1 in 128 billion. But if you’re using the tournament selection committee’s seeding as the basis for chasing Buffett’s big prize, you can pretty much forget about quitting your day job (you know, the one you’ve been ignoring all day).

Although No. 1 overall seed Florida is indeed the favorite to cut down the nets April 7 in Dallas—the Gators are a 7-to-2 choice, according to oddsmakers at William Hill—the next two teams listed on the futures board are a pair of No. 4 seeds: Michigan State (5-to-1) and Louisville (6-to-1). In other words, Vegas believes the Spartans and defending-champion Cardinals are a better bet to win it all than top-seeded Arizona (15-to-2), Virginia (15-to-1) and Wichita State (also 15-to-1).

But here’s the best example that underscores the major difference in opinion between the selection committee and Vegas oddsmakers: Villanova and Kentucky boast the same 30-to-1 odds—even though the former is a No. 2 seed and the latter a No. 8 seed.

Translation: The word “upset” is likely to take on a whole new meaning over the next three weeks. Madness, indeed.

Odds to win the 2014 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament

Florida       7/2
Michigan State      5/1
Louisville       6/1
Arizona      15/2
Kansas     12/1
Duke      15/1
Wichita State      15/1
Virginia      15/1
Syracuse      16/1
Wisconsin      20/1
Michigan      25/1
Kentucky      30/1
Villanova      30/1
Iowa State      35/1
Creighton      40/1
UCLA      40/1
North Carolina      50/1
Baylor      60/1
Ohio State      60/1
San Diego State      60/1
New Mexico      75/1
Oregon      75/1
Pittsburgh      75/1
Cincinnati      100/1
Connecticut       100/1
Oklahoma      100/1
Tennessee      100/1
Virginia Commonwealth      100/1
Gonzaga      125/1
Oklahoma State      125/1
Iowa      150/1
Massachusetts      150/1
Memphis      150/1
St. Louis      150/1
Texas      150/1
Providence      200/1
Tulsa      200/1
St. Joseph’s      250/1
Stanford      250/1
Colorado      300/1
Kansas State      300/1
Arizona State      400/1
Dayton      400/1
George Washington      400/1
Nebraska      400/1
Xavier      400/1
BYU      500/1
Harvard      500/1
North Carolina State      500/1
North Dakota State      500/1
New Mexico State      1000/1
Stephen F Austin      1000/1
Western Michigan      1000/1
American      2500/1
Delaware      2500/1
Eastern Kentucky      2500/1
Manhattan      2500/1
Mercer      2500/1
North Carolina Central      2500/1
UL Lafayette      2500/1
Weber State      2500/1
Wisconsin Milwaukee      2500/1
Albany      5000/1
Cal Poly      5000/1
Coastal Carolina      5000/1
Mount St. Mary’s      5000/1
Texas Southern      5000/1
Wofford       5000/1

NOTE: All odds as of March 17.