Alabama and Houston were the lone No. 1 seeds to survive the upset-riddled first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament, so it stands to reason their odds of winning the title have strengthened ahead of the Sweet 16.
Alabama, the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament, cruised through the first two rounds, winning by an average of 21.5 points. Meanwhile, the South Region has been ransacked by upsets, with No. 2 Arizona and No. 4 Virginia failing to get out of the first round, and No. 3 Baylor ousted in the second.
If the Crimson Tide get past fifth-seeded San Diego State in the Sweet 16, an Elite Eight date against either No. 6 seed Creighton or No. 15 seed Princeton would await.
That contributed to Alabama’s consensus title odds shortening to +350 on Monday.
The highest remaining seed the Crimson Tide could face before the championship game would be No. 3 Kansas State, which faces No. 7 Michigan State in the Sweet 16. No. 4 seed Tennessee also remains alive in the East.
On the other side of the bracket, Houston has similarly taken care of business thus far, winning its first two games handily against Northern Kentucky and Auburn. On paper, the Tigers face a more daunting road to the Final Four with a Sweet 16 game against No. 5 Miami ahead of an Elite Eight matchup against either No. 2 seed Texas or No. 3 Xavier in the Midwest.
While Kansas was upset in the second round, three of the top four seeds are alive in the West. No. 2 UCLA plays No. 3 Gonzaga, while No. 4 Connecticut posted a pair of blowout victories en route to its Sweet 16 matchup against No. 8 Arkansas.
Houston has the second-shortest odds across the major sportsbooks. While the Cougars are co-favorites (+350) at BetRivers, they have slightly longer odds at DraftKings (+360) and BetMGM (+400).
BetRivers reported that Houston has been backed by the highest amount of total title-winning bets at 19.1 percent and total money at 18.2 percent. Alabama is right behind at 13.9 and 18.0 percent, respectively, while UConn has drawn 12.2 percent of the money and Texas 12.1 percent.
NCAA TOURNAMENT TITLE ODDS (DraftKings)
Michigan State: +3000
San Diego State: +3500
Kansas State: +3500
Miami, Fla.: +4500
Florida Atlantic: +4500
No major sportsbooks were offering title odds as of Monday on Princeton, which upset No. 2 Arizona in the first round and No. 7 Missouri in the Round of 32.
The Tigers take on Creighton on Friday, with most regulated sportsbooks yet to set a game line as of Monday afternoon.
The tightest Sweet 16 matchups at DraftKings were Michigan State favored by 2.0 points against Kansas State and UCLA a 2.0-point favorite against Gonzaga. Meanwhile Alabama is an 8.0-point favorite against San Diego State
–Field Level Media