When you see -225 odds next to anything, it's not exactly a lock, but close.
Gonzaga's run through the first four rounds of the NCAA men's tournament has been rough on sportsbooks, considering the Bulldogs have gotten heavy public action and covered in every game. Gonzaga is also the biggest liability for BetMGM in futures bets for the NCAA championship. If you still want a piece of the Gonzaga betting bandwagon, it is going to cost you.
Gonzaga is -225 to win the championship with two games to play. Gonzaga had been getting plus odds all season until Tuesday night, when the odds took a significant dive after the Bulldogs' blowout win against USC. Baylor is +375, Houston is +600 and UCLA is +2500 to win it all at BetMGM. Those odds shifted shortly after they were posted too. When they went up following UCLA's win over Michigan to end the Elite Eight, Gonzaga was -200 and Baylor was +300. Apparently BetMGM took even more Gonzaga action. Not that they were looking for more.
Before the Sweet 16 began, an astounding 31.8 percent of all money bet on the NCAA champion was on Gonzaga. The Bulldogs were BetMGM's biggest liability in the futures market. They haven't shown any signs of being beatable yet.
Gonzaga's road to a title got easier when Michigan lost to UCLA. The Bruins have played well lately and got a win over Michigan on Tuesday night, but you'd still pick facing an 11 seed rather than a 1 seed. For Saturday's national semifinal, Gonzaga is a 14-point favorite over UCLA at BetMGM. That also shifted after Gonzaga opened up as a 13.5-point favorite.
Gonzaga is on a great run, two wins from the first undefeated college basketball season since 1976. The overwhelming odds indicate that BetMGM feels the Bulldogs are going to finish the job.
Spreads for the Final Four
The Houston-Baylor Final Four game has a fairly large spread as well. Baylor is a -5 favorite, despite Houston being a No. 2 seed and having a No. 3 overall ranking at KenPom.com. The line seems a bit disrespectful to a good Cougars team. The over/under is 135.
The Gonzaga-UCLA line moved from -13.5 to -14 shortly after BetMGM posted it. The over/under is 145.5. The Gonzaga moneyline is -1400, which gives the Bulldogs implied odds of between 93 and 94 percent to win.
Could Gonzaga be a rare 6-0 against the spread in the tournament?
Gonzaga is on pace for a rare accomplishment in the betting world.
Only six teams since 1997 have gone 6-0 against the spread en route to an NCAA title, according to Action Network. The undefeated ATS champions: 2006 Florida, 2009 North Carolina, 2014 Connecticut, 2015 Duke, 2016 and 2018 Villanova. The Bulldogs are 4-0 against the spread in this tournament with two games to go.
What makes Gonzaga's run so impressive is the Bulldogs have been the biggest favorite in every round, and in three of the four games they covered without a sweat. In the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight, a majority of bets were on Gonzaga and the Bulldogs came through for bettors, including Tuesday night's easy cover over USC. If there's a comparison to the dominance Gonzaga has shown so far, it might be the 2009 North Carolina team. UNC not only covered the spread in every round, the Tar Heels won every game by at least 12 points.
Bulldogs' big spread is rare
Gonzaga doesn't just have the largest spread of the Final Four, it's an incredibly rare double-digit point spread.
According to Matt Eisenberg's tournament guide, only two other national semifinal spreads since 2012 reached double digits. One was North Carolina -10 vs. Syracuse in 2016, and the other was Louisville -10 vs. Wichita State in 2013. Kentucky was a 14-point favorite in the 1996 championship game against Syracuse, according to VegasInsider.com. That's the only double-digit spread in the final round since 1985.
The Gonzaga spread is the largest in the Final Four since at least 1999, according to Chris Fallica. That year, Duke was an 11.5-point favorite over Michigan State.
Favorites, underdogs split again
In the Elite Eight, the most stunning outcome was UCLA beating Michigan straight up to make the Final Four as an 11 seed. But overall, favorites went 2-2 against the spread. Oregon State barely covered as underdogs on Monday, and then Baylor barely covered as favorites in the second game. Favored Gonzaga and underdog UCLA covered easily on Tuesday night.
Underdogs dominated the first weekend of the tournament, but it has settled down a bit. Favorites were 5-3 in the Sweet 16.
UCLA hits big for bettors
UCLA was +5000 to win the West region before the tournament started. They were behind teams like Georgetown and St. Bonaventure. That's what happens when you're an 11 seed in the First Four.
Among the other Final Four teams' region odds before the tournament started, Gonzaga was -250 to win the West region, Baylor was -135 to win the South and Houston was +500 to win the Midwest.
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