Top-seeded teams suffered upsets everywhere on the first weekend of the 2018 NCAA Tournament. After sorting through the rubble Monday, the Duke Blue Devils have emerged as the new favorite to win the tournament according to Bovada.
Fellow ACC team Virginia opened as the tournament favorite, but the Cavaliers became the first No. 1 seed to lose to a No. 16 seeded squad in the first round Friday night. Along with Virginia, Xavier, North Carolina, Cincinnati, and Michigan State all suffered upset defeats as either a No. 1, 2 or 3 seed in their respective brackets.
One of the two remaining No. 1 seeds, Villanova, is right behind Duke with the best odds of winning the tournament. Here’s an odds list from Bovada that includes all of the 16 remaining teams:
New NCAA title odds from Bovada
Texas Tech +2200
— Tom Fornelli (@TomFornelli) March 19, 2018
Talent and expectations certainly play a role in these odds, but matchups most definitely do too. Duke will face 11th-seeded Syracuse in the Sweet 16 on Friday night, who was the very last team in the NCAA Tournament. The Blue Devils defeated the Orange, 60-44, in the regular season and are heavy underdogs heading into this rematch.
Nothing is guaranteed in this tournament, but that “easier” path likely helped Duke come in with the best odds to win it all. Villanova faces fifth-seeded West Virginia on Friday. Should the Wildcats advance, they will next play either No. 2 seed Purdue or third-seeded Texas Tech.
If Duke and Villanova both advance to the Final Four, they will square off in the national semifinals.
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