Jayhawks and Spartans lead way on March Madness betting lines

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The Kansas Jayhawks extended their current straight-up win streak to eight games with a 66-60 victory over the Baylor Bears on Tuesday night, solidifying their position atop the March Madness futures as 15/2 favorites on the odds to win the NCAA Tournament at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Currently pegged at No. 2 in the AP Top 25 rankings, Kansas has been unbeatable since bouncing back from a bout of inconsistency in January, when they lost three of five games SU in conference play, ending a red-hot 14-1 SU start to the season.

The Jayhawks’ swoon dramatically impacted the squad’s AP Top 25 ranking, which fell as low as No. 7, and while they maintained strong odds, they are now joined as March Madness betting chalk by the Michigan State Spartans, whose current tear leaves them knotted with the Jayhawks at 15/2.

Like Kansas, Michigan State roared out of the gate, posting SU victories in their first 13 games, including a 79-73 upset win over the Jayhawks, and climbing from 20/1 at the season’s start to 8/1 favorites at Christmas.

But the Spartans also hit the skids in January, losing three straight to Big Ten rivals, likely ending their chances of claiming first place in the conference standings, and sending their NCAA Tournament odds tumbling to 12/1.

Warning signs of the Spartans’ imminent slide appeared on the horizon before the holidays, when the squad entered a brutal 2-6 ATS run, but they have since reversed their fortunes,  going 7-1 SU, and a perfect 8-0 ATS, over their past eight, claiming victory by double-digit margins in six of those contests, according to the OddsShark College Basketball Database.

The North Carolina Tar Heels enter the final 10 days of the regular season on a lackluster 3-3 SU run, including a stunning 74-73 Rivalry Week loss to Duke, but remain within striking distance of the March Madness betting favorites with strong 8/1 odds.

North Carolina remains in a dogfight for top spot in the ACC standings, but can do themselves a big favor with a win when they visit North Carolina State on Wednesday night at PNC Arena, keeping them ahead of the Oklahoma Sooners and Kentucky Wildcats, who follow closely, each with 10/1 odds.

The Villanova Wildcats, perched atop the national rankings for a third straight week, continue to trail on the national championship odds at 12/1, followed by the Maryland Terrapins at 14/1, while the Xavier Musketeers are joined by the Duke Blue Devils, Iowa Hawkeyes, and Virginia Cavaliers at 16/1.