Entering the Sweet 16, Kentucky is still the betting favorite to win the NCAA tournament.
The unbeaten Kentucky Wildcats are one-third of the way to their ultimate goal of winning the NCAA tournament, along with 15 other college basketball teams in the field that have made it to the Sweet 16. However, Kentucky remains the heavy favorite to win the title, at 1/1 at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com, while betting the field is worth 7/5 odds.
The Wildcats are much bigger favorites to win the Midwest Region at 1/4 and will not have to face the No. 2 seed in the Midwest Region down the road in order to get back to the Final Four, as the seventh-seeded Wichita State Shockers (7/1 to win the Midwest) knocked out the Kansas Jayhawks in the Round of 32. Instead, they simply need to get by the fifth-seeded West Virginia Mountaineers (18/1) in the Sweet 16 and then defeat either the Shockers or third-seeded Notre Dame Fighting Irish (7/1).
Motivation was viewed as the biggest challenge for Kentucky early on in the tournament, and the team has played well defensively in limiting the 16th-seeded Hampton Pirates and eighth-seeded Cincinnati Bearcats to 53.5 points per game.
However, the Wildcats have not peaked yet offensively in March Madness and will be facing a Mountaineers squad next that has also put the defensive clamps on their first two opponents, giving up an average of 60.5 points in wins over the ninth-seeded Buffalo Bulls and fourth-seeded Maryland Terrapins.
West Virginia led each of its first two games at halftime, something Kentucky has done as well. If the Mountaineers can somehow find a way to lead the Wildcats at the break, they will put tremendous pressure on the top seed and allow bettors who wagered on Kentucky to trail at halftime during the tournament to cash a prop in the process. A bet on “YES” was the favorite at -260.
Another prop that is still alive is the OVER/UNDER on how many points the Wildcats will trail by at any point in the tourney at 5.5. Their biggest deficit so far has been just five points, trailing 11-6 to Cincinnati.
And while the Wildcats have not covered the spread in either of their first two games in the Big Dance, they have won both of them by double digits to stay on track for winning all six by 10 points or more at a price of 5/1 on the March Madness betting props