The Michigan State Spartans looked to be on the ropes when they finished their regular season with just two straight-up and against-the-spread wins in their final four games before being routed by the Wisconsin Badgers in the Big Ten Tournament final.
However, following a pair of strong performances on the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament, including a convincing 60-54 upset of No. 2 seed Virginia, the No. 7 seed Spartans enter the Sweet 16 sporting strong 14-1 odds to win the NCAA Tournament at the online sportsbooks.
Michigan State’s strong play has earned it the nod as a two-point favorite in its Sweet 16 matchup with No. 3 seed Oklahoma, but the Spartans still have work to do to close the gap on the March Madness futures betting favorites — led by No. 1 seed Kentucky, which remains perched at 1-1 to win the title.
The undefeated Wildcats will be looking to move to 37-0 on the season when they take on No. 5 seed West Virginia on Thursday night in what promises to be a fierce battle between two of the nation’s top defenses.
Kentucky is followed on the March Madness futures by another Wildcats squad, No. 2 seed Arizona, which sits at a strong 13-2 to claim its first national title since 1997. Arizona is pegged as a 10.5-point favorite over No. 6 seed Xavier, which will be facing its first big test of the tournament.
No. 1 seed Duke sits at 7-1 following a pair of dominating performance in the rounds of 64 and 32. The Blue Devils covered the spread in lopsided victories over No. 16 seed Robert Morris and No. 8 seed San Diego State, but will face a tougher challenge against No. 5 seed Utah, which they will meet as 5.5-point favorites.
No. 2 seed Gonzaga sits just ahead of the Spartans at 12-1. The Zags reach the Sweet 16 on a 27-1 SU run, taking on No. 11 seed UCLA as 8.5-point favorites.
The Sooners and Utes join No. 4 seed Louisville at 25-1, followed by Sweet 16 opponents No. 3 seed Notre Dame and seed No. 7 Wichita State, who both sport 33-1 odds.
The No. 4 seed North Carolina Tar Heels are pegged at 40-1 ahead of their Sweet 16 matchup with No. 1 seed Wisconsin, which continues to enjoy strong 8-1 odds. The No. 8 seed North Carolina State Wolfpack sit at an attractive 50-1, followed by the Bruins, Mountaineers and Musketeers.
Thumbnail photo via Bob Donnan/USA TODAY Sports Images
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