No. 2 seeds have not fared well at the NCAA Tournament in recent years, failing to claim a national championship since Connecticut’s victory in 2004.
However, with the No. 2 Michigan State Spartans perched as a strong 11/2 bet to claim this year’s title, the odds of a No. 2 seed winning the championship are pegged at +250 at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
Meanwhile, the odds of a top seed, including Kansas, North Carolina, Oregon, and Virginia, claiming the 2016 crown are listed at +120 at the sportsbooks. Three of the past four national champions have been No. 1 seeds, but expectations remain tempered this year, reflected by the short -160 odds against a No. 1 seed winning the tournament.
While top seeds are attracting attention at the sportsbooks as championship candidates, they are also stirring interest in prop bets on which No. 1 seed will be the first one eliminated.
Winners of eight straight games, the Ducks have closed the gap on the national championship favorites since being selected as the No. 1 seed in the West Region, climbing to a competitive 14/1 after starting the month at a distant 33/1.
Oregon faces arguably the toughest road on opening weekend, including a possible second-round matchup with the Atlantic 10 Tournament champion St. Joseph’s Hawks, followed by a potential Sweet Sixteen showdown with either the Baylor Bears or the defending champion Duke Blue Devils, and is listed as -120 chalk to be the first No. 1 seed knocked off this year.
The Cavaliers, who are on track to face Iowa State in the Sweet 16, sit at +300, followed by UNC at +350, and the national championship favorite Jayhawks at +400.
In other March Madness props at the sportsbooks, the odds of a No. 16 seed claiming a first-round victory for the first time in tournament history sit at +1000, while a bet on a No. 12 win this weekend pays out at -200.
The line on the highest margin of victory in a first-round matchup sits at 36.5, with -120 odds attached to both the OVER and UNDER, while the line on the highest point total scored by one team in the first round is pegged at 96.5.