Bulldogs Still March Madness Favorites After Opening Round Shocks

bulldogs still championship favorites after march madness opening rounds

Although there have been some enormous casualties already, the Zags go into the Sweet 16 round with their March Madness favorites tag intact. Vegas oddsmakers have the Bulldogs at +220 to win the NCAA Division I Championship title, followed by Kansas (+450) and Arizona (+500). With last year’s champions and opening second-favorite Baylor already out of the running, tourney underdogs are eyeing up the biggest trophy in college basketball. Get betting insights and the latest odds for top contenders before the next round.

Is It Going To Be Gonzaga’s Year?

The Bulldogs are performing at a level above other teams even without top players Jalen Suggs and Corey Kispert (they left for the NBA last year). Apart from three regular-season losses, they took apart opposing teams in the regular season before winning their 18th West Coast Tournament championship since 2000, entering March Madness as hot favorites.

They look like the real deal after defeating Georgia State by 21 in the first round (93-72) and Memphis (82-78). Still, tougher challenges lie ahead in a tricky West Region that features Duke as the No. 2 seed, No. 3 Texas Tech (the best defensive unit in the nation), and No. 4 Arkansas (who they face next).

Although it won’t be an easy trip to the final game for the Zags, the news of Baylor crashing out of the NCAA tournament will surely spur them on. The Bulldogs are on track for an intriguing showdown with Duke in the Elite Eight – the Blue Devils beat Gonzaga 84-81 in their last meeting. If the Bulldogs get revenge on the court in this mouthwatering matchup, sportsbooks will slash their March Madness odds.

See the latest odds for Gonzaga’s Sweet 16 matchup against Arkansas (#4)

Iowa State (+8000)

Should we really be that surprised to see Iowa State doing so well? After all, the Cyclones chalked up some impressive wins throughout the season, including victories over Texas Tech, Texas, Iowa, Creighton, and Memphis. In the first round of March Madness, Iowa State capitalized on the coaching mess at No. 6 LSU (the program fired its coach Will Wade due to five Level I NCAA violations in the first round) to beat the Tigers 54-59 against the odds. The Cyclones kept the momentum going to take out Wisconsin 49-54 in their second-round game. As many know, a fearless team that has exceeded expectations is a formidable opponent in this tournament.

Therefore, as Bovada has Iowa State at +8000 to go all the way before the Sweet 16 games begin, they will attract some action.

Check out the latest betting lines for Iowa State’s Sweet 16 matchup vs. Miami Florida (#10)

UCLA Bruins (+1400)

After ending the regular season like a slow yet non-fatal car crash, the Bruins went from No. 3 to No. 11 in the country. However, the Bruins got their mojo back in the Pac-12 Conference Tournament with victories against USC and Colorado in the competition. Unfortunately for UCLA, they lost the final to Arizona. Still, as they have some star players – Johnny Juzang, Jaime Jaquez, Tyler Campbell, etc. – are at +1400 to win the championship, and won’t face Baylor, they are decent futures betting value.

View the latest betting lines for UCLA’s Sweet 16 matchup vs. North Carolina (#8)

Houston Cougars (+1000)

Finishing the season fifth in adjusted efficiency, 10th in adjusted offensive efficiency, and 11th in adjusted defensive efficiency, Houston always had a great chance of winning this year’s March Madness Tournament. Although their only meetings with ranked teams (Wisconsin, Alabama) ended badly, they have since beaten UAB and Illinois to arrive at the Sweet 16 to silence some doubters. Yes, they face No. 1 seed Arizona in the next round, but they have what it takes to cause an upset.

View the latest betting lines for Houston’s Sweet 16 matchup vs. Arizona (#1)

Ben Perks

Content writer/sports journalist/world's worst basketball player based in Spain.