Bettors Jumping On The FGCU Bandwagon
You can't read any major American news website this week - or newspaper, if that's still your thing - and not see something on the Cinderella of the 2013 NCAA Tournament, the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles. If you follow things like Google Trends or Yahoo Buzz, the phrases "Andy Enfield" and "FGCU coach wife" have been blowing up the Internet. The latter is in reference to Coach Andy Enfield's supermodel wife Amanda. In about every TV interview, Enfield has been asked (mocked?) how he landed such a prize.
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It appears that bettors at Bovada are also falling in love with "Dunk City." The book is the most exposed on the updated odds to win the NCAA Tournament on Florida Gulf Coast at 66/1. It's not close, even though FGCU is the biggest underdog in the Sweet 16 at +12.5 against big brother Florida on Friday. That game will have live play-by-play betting at the book as will all of this weekend's.
FGCU hasn't been able to convince Florida to play the Eagles since 2008. In fact, Enfield wasn't able to talk UF's Billy Donovan into simply scrimmaging his team before this season. However, the Eagles already have beaten another Sunshine State powerhouse this year, Miami (Fla.) back on November 13. To be fair, FGCU also lost twice to some school called Lipscomb.
Florida Gulf Coast winning the South Region also has the book heavily exposed at 15/1. The Gators winning the national title at 19/4 would be the book's top overall result, as would Florida taking the South at 5/6.
The favorite heading into the Sweet 16 is Louisville at 3/1 after two opening blowouts. The Cardinals are taking the most action of any team to win it all, but the book isn't overly exposed due to the short odds. In fact, the best result for the book to win the Midwest Region would be Louisville at 5/7. In that region, the exposure is on No. 12 Oregon at 9/1.
The best result for players to win the tournament hasn't changed as it remains Miami, now at 15/2. The Hurricanes face Marquette on Thursday and then potentially either top seed Indiana or soon-to-be ACC co-member Syracuse. UM winning the East Region at 19/10 also would be the book's worst result there. The Orange winning would be the best at 15/4.
Miami will be without a key player this weekend as center Reggie Johnson has been ruled out after minor knee surgery. He was a factor in UM's opening round win over Pacific with seven points and 10 rebounds but was a non-factor against Illinois. The team, which is 7-2 this year without Johnson (he missed regular-season time with an injury), believes he could return for the Final Four if they get there.
The West Region is the most scrambled in terms of seeds remaining with No. 2 Ohio State, No. 6 Arizona, No. 9 Wichita State and No. 13 La Salle. The Buckeyes are even money to win the West and easily taking the most action, exposing the book; its best result would be La Salle at 9/1. The Explorers aren't getting the Cinderella love that FGCU is.
Top Points Scorers in Sweet 16?
Bovada offers three eight-player pods for the top scorer in the Sweet 16 round. In one grouping, Ohio State's Deshaun Thomas, the Big Ten's leading scorer, is the 3/1 favorite over Louisville's Russ Smith and Michigan's Trey Burke (both 4/1), the Big Ten Player of the Year. Thomas has totaled 46 points in OSU's two wins and faces Arizona in the Sweet 16. Smith is the early MOP favorite and is averaging 25.0 points in two games, tied for highest among remaining players. Burke is struggling a bit, shooting a combined 8-for-26 in this Big Dance.
In the second pod, Arizona's Mark Lyons is the 3/1 favorite ahead of Kansas freshman Ben McLemore (7/2) and Syracuse's C.J. Fair (9/2). Lyons is tied with Louisville's Smith in averaging 25.0 ppg, but Lyons now has to deal with Ohio State guard Aaron Craft, widely considered the best perimeter defender in college basketball.
In the final grouping, Syracuse's James Southerland (13/4) is favored ahead of Indiana's Victor Oladipo (15/4), Florida's Erik Murphy and Duke's Ryan Kelly (9/2). The Blue Devils have advanced despite not much from Kelly as he has totaled just nine points on 3-for-13 from the field.
Favorites Not Headed to UCLA
After was fired as UCLA's coach following the Bruins' Round of 64 loss to Minnesota, the book released props on the next coach in Westwood and the favorite was VCU's Shaka Smart at 3/1. That appears to be a losing prop for bettors as he and the school reportedly will have a restructured contract by the end of the week. In recent years, Smart also has turned down offers from NC State and Illinois to stay in Richmond.
The second favorite on the prop was Memphis' Josh Pastner at 5/1, but he also has committed to stay put with a new contract. Pastner led Memphis to an unbeaten run in Conference USA and won his first NCAA Tournament game this season. USC also was interested in him. The next two betting favorites on the list were Cincinnati's Mick Cronin (6/1) and Villanova's Jay Wright (7/1).
Cinderella Stories: There are sure to be some sweet stories in the Round of 16. Check out Bovada Live Betting throughout it all.