There’s something about the calendar flipping to March that gets me all giddy inside. It’s the one month every year where college basketball takes center stage and dominates the sports conversation.
For those that haven’t paid close attention over the last three months, there has been quite the narrative building around the country.
It’s Baylor and Gonzaga, then everybody else.
The No. 1 Zags (24-0) are still perfect and the No. 3 Bears (18-1) finally lost their first game Saturday at Kansas. Gonzaga opened the season around +800 to win the national title and Baylor was an eyelash behind at +900.
So a $100 bet would win $800 or $900, respectively.
Future odds obviously are extremely fluid, so those prices are long gone across the American markets. The best odds you can find this very moment are Gonzaga +300 (BetMGM) and Baylor +350 (FanDuel).
That hasn’t stopped bookmakers from getting creative.
We saw multiple sportsbooks last week offering a propositional future bet that pits Baylor and Gonzaga against “The Field” to win the national championship. It’s pretty straightforward — you take those two or everybody else. The betting juice was a little higher (-120) than the standard -110 each way.
Baylor and Gonzaga -120
The Field -120
($120 bet wins $100, pays out $220)
I definitely respect Baylor and Gonzaga, but we’re getting out over our skis a little bit. They’re both great squads, but I wouldn’t put them in the conversation with generationally talented ones like 2012 Kentucky, 2009 North Carolina or 1990 UNLV.
We have also seen extremely talented clubs with multiple NBA players fail to climb to the top of the mountain. The 2015 Kentucky team was loaded with pros and it entered the tournament undefeated before losing to Wisconsin. Others that come to mind are 2018 Virginia, 1999 Duke, 1991 UNLV and every Gonzaga team ever.
I feel like Zags head coach Mark Few has had his best team every year for the last 10 years. Sorry, I’m not sorry that I want to see it before believing it.
Back to “The Field.” Michigan is an incredible basketball team this season. Illinois and Ohio State are very, very good. Alabama, Villanova, Virginia, Florida State, Kansas, West Virginia, Texas Tech, Tennessee, Houston and Iowa could all win the national title in my opinion.
Call me a sucker, but I love “The Field.” If March Madness came down to best-of-threes or best-of-fives, sure, I would like Baylor and Gonzaga to win it all. Anything goes in a one game situation, though. Seasons tend to end on one mistake for many teams throughout the March Madness gauntlet.
Chris Andrews at Las Vegas’ South Point Hotel and Casino added another team to the bettable equation. His sportsbooks are offering Baylor, Gonzaga and Villanova against “The Field” at -110 each way.
“I wanted to make it as close to pick ’em as possible,” Andrews told NESN.
FOX Bet got even more creative Monday. They were offering Gonzaga and Baylor to both miss the Final Four at +900. Wowza. There’s the opposite side of the equation. If you bet $100 and both teams don’t reach the final weekend, you win $900 and collect $1,000.
Surely, we’ll see more creative betting props built around Gonzaga, Baylor and maybe Michigan as we get closer and closer to the big dance. I applaud the creativity and can’t wait to see what pops next.
Oh. And count me in on “The Field.”