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March Madness betting guide: Alabama, Houston favored

Alabama coach Nate Oats reacts after a score during the second half of the team's second-round college basketball game against Maryland in the men's NCAA Tournament in Birmingham, Ala., Saturday, March 18, 2023. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
Butch Dill/AP
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Alabama coach Nate Oats reacts after a score during the second half of the team's second-round college basketball game against Maryland in the men's NCAA Tournament in Birmingham, Ala., Saturday, March 18, 2023. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

March Madness was just that over the first two rounds with No. 1 seed Purdue going down to No. 16 seed Fairleigh Dickinson and No. 2 seed Arizona falling to No. 15 seed Princeton. And then things got crazier on the final shot of the weekend when TCU's Damion Baugh hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer that covered the 4 1/2-point spread against Gonzaga. Now, the NCAA Tournament moves to the Sweet 16 and beyond. Here's a look at what to watch for from a betting standpoint when games resume Thursday.


Alabama, the No. 1 overall seed, is a minus-145 favorite to come out of the South Region, according to FanDuel Sportsbook, meaning someone would have to bet $145 to win $100. Sixth-seeded Creighton is next at plus-175.

Houston is the other No. 1 seed still playing, and the Cougars are minus-115 favorites in the Midwest Region. No. 2 seed Texas is next at plus-190.

In the West Region, No. 4 seed UConn is the favorite at plus-185, second-seeded UCLA is at plus-195 and No. 3 seed Gonzaga is not far behind at plus-230.

All four East Region teams are somewhat close to each other — fourth-seeded Tennessee at plus-125, No. 7 seed Michigan State at plus-270, No. 3 seed Kansas State at plus-320 and No. 9 seed Florida Atlantic at plus-470.


After a batch of upsets, the favorites heading into the Sweet 16 are: Alabama at plus-330, Houston at plus-410, UCLA and UCONN at plus-850, Creighton at plus-950 and Texas at plus-1,000. According to FanDuel, Houston has been the most bet on team since the tournament began, but UConn has received the most money.


This might be the tournament to take a flier. Two south Florida teams, No. 5 seed Miami and FAU, are each listed at plus-5,000 and Xavier is at plus-4,200. Princeton is the only school not listed on the FanDuel website.


Alabama was a 7 1/2-point favorite to eliminate fifth-seeded San Diego State. Houston is favored by the same amount over Miami.


Only two games have totals north of 140 points — Texas-Xavier at 148 1/2 and UCLA-Gonzaga at 145 1/2.


Gonzaga led 84-78 with .7 seconds left in Sunday's second round and had no interest in playing defense in a game that was wrapped up. Baugh wasn't ready to stop, however, even as the players and coaches began to shake hands. He jogged behind a rolling ball up the court so that the clock wouldn't tick all the way down. Then shortly after crossing midcourt, Baugh scooped up the ball and threw in a 3-pointer to make the final scored 84-81. Gonzaga players didn't seem to notice, but those who bet on the game certainly did. Baugh's shot awarded those who bet TCU with the cover on the 4 1/2-point spread. Gonzaga bettors were not too pleased and let Baugh know about it. He responded on Twitter by saying, “Nobody Told Y'all To Bet.”


A Caesars Sportsbook bettor in Indiana put $500 on Fairleigh Dickinson to beat Purdue at 20-1 odds and took home $10,000. One Caesars customer in Kansas looked for the sure thing and put $150,000 on Texas at minus-1,200 on the money to beat Colgate and won $12,500.

Parlays are popular, too. At Caesars, an Ohio bettor turned $300 into more than $35,000 by hitting a six-team parlay, and a person in New York cashed when an eight-teamer came in and turned $50 into more than $9,400.

But then there was the 20-team parlay that came in for a BetMGM bettor. The person, whose location was not made available, turned a $1 flier into a $15,650 payout.


Circa Sports in Las Vegas has a number of player totals. Among them: Gonzaga's Drew Timme and UCLA's Jaime Jaquez Jr. at 19 points each, UConn’s Adama Sanogo at 17 1/2 and Kansas State's Markquis Nowell at 17.


Five of the top 10 picks on the ESPN Bracket Challenge game to reach the Final Four are gone — Kansas, Purdue, Arizona, Marquette and Duke. Alabama, however, was the most popular choice to make the Final Four at 36.1%, and the Crimson Tide are on 52.9% of brackets to make the Elite Eight. The Tide also are a popular pick at CBS Sports, appearing on 92.5% to advance this far and 22.3% to win the national championship. The top 33 potential Final Four combinations were eliminated.

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