With the Final Four almost here, I have the latest key odds from our friends at Bovada.
Odds to Win the 2015 NCAA Championship
Kentucky #1 2/3
If you find it surprising that Kentucky is that type of favorite then I also have some ocean front property in Nebraska to sell you as well. The Wildcats survived a monumental upset bid by Notre Dame last Saturday night by riding the inside play of Karl Anthony Towns. His big night will certainly gain the attention of the Wisconsin Badgers and could also open things up for Willie Cauley-Stein.
Duke #1 3/1
Mike Krzyzewski brings his Blue Devils to the Final Four for the 12th time which ties him with John Wooden of UCLA. What was most impressive about Duke on Sunday was that they advanced without a big day from Jahlil Okafor who had single digit points and rebounds. Enter Justise Winslow who has been outstanding in the tournament and looks to continue that play against the Spartans.
Wisconsin #1 4/1
With most people thinking the de facto National Title game is between UK and the Badgers in the Semis, it’s a bit strange to see Wisconsin lower than Duke. Either way, the Badgers have to be focused on the Wildcats and I believe they are. Where Notre Dame struggled was in hitting threes at the rate they normally do; I don’t think that will be a problem for the Badgers who will learn from the Irish that taking the ball to the hoop against Kentucky can lead to high percentage shots and kickouts for three-pointers.
Michigan State #7 8/1
This team has beaten one top 25 team all season. They lost to Texas Southern… at home in East Lansing! Yet here come the Spartans and Tom Izzo who has mastered the art of preparing his teams for successful runs in March. If the big men can stay out of foul trouble and Brandon Dawson and Darnell Valentine limit some of the bone-headed mistakes from recent games then I believe Michigan State has every chance to be right there in the end.
The Verdict: I’m doubting the Wildcats. I have all season and all they do is keep winning. Still, you’d be hard-pressed not to throw a few bucks on the Spartans who just won’t go away.
Exact finals matchup in the 2015 NCAA Championship
Kentucky vs Duke 10/11
Kentucky vs Michigan State 3/1
Wisconsin vs Duke 3/1
Wisconsin vs Michigan State 7/1
The match-up we all want to see: Kentucky-Duke… The match-up no one wants to see: Wisconsin-Michigan State… The match-up we are going to see: Put your money on Wisconsin-Duke.
Odds to win Tournament MOP
Karl Anthony Towns (Kentucky) 3/1
Willie Cauley-Stein (Kentucky) 4/1
Jahlil Okafor (Duke) 5/1
Justise Winslow (Duke) 5/1
Aaron Harrison (Kentucky) 7/1
Frank Kaminsky (Wisconsin) 8/1
Sam Dekker (Wisconsin) 8/1
Travis Trice (Michigan State) 12/1
Denzel Valentine (Michigan State) 16/1
Branden Dawson (Michigan State) 20/1
Analysis: Towns is the sexy pick right now because of his play against Notre Dame last weekend and rightfully so, but now he’s facing coaches who won’t let him operate the way he did against the Irish. Cauley-Stein is always a good bet but I’ll be honest; his inside game isn’t very good. If Wisconsin and Duke/MSU keeps him off of the boards, I don’t think he’ll score enough.
For Duke, I look at Okafor the same way I do Kentucky’s big men but the difference is that his low post game is actually a little better. Winslow is a fantastic play because he’s been so hot.
Wisconsin can be so balanced at times that it’s hard to lay the MOP honors on just one guy but Frank Kaminsky and Sam Dekker are listed here for a reason. Either would excellent plays.
In terms of the Spartans, I think you have to go with Travis Trice. To me, he’s the only one who has the consistency to score, dish and play defense.
Verdict: Winslow is my guy.