Being an avid sports gambler (one week being totally awesome and then the next week questioning my life on this Earth), I figured it is never too early to look at some possible Final Four matchups and the lines that some Vegas sportsbooks have projected. They have taken the four teams that as of right now would most likely be number 1 seeds (Kansas, Kentucky, Syracuse, and Duke), pitted them against each other and given me some odds to salivate over.
Let us take a look:
“1. Kansas minus 1 point vs. Syracuse:
The Jayhawks, with a record of 29-2 straight-up and 12-15-1 against the point spread, are ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press poll and the ESPN/USA Today coaches’ poll. They received 63 of the 65 first-place votes in the AP poll and 30 of 31 first-place votes in the coaches’ poll. After finishing atop the Big 12 standings, Kansas is poised to secure the overall No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament when the field and seedings are announced Sunday.
Syracuse, which received the other first-place vote in the coaches’ poll, is ranked No. 3 in both polls after a short stay at No. 1. The Orange (28-3 straight-up, 19-8 against the spread) was knocked from the top spot — its first appearance at No. 1 during the regular season since 1990 — after losing at Louisville, 78-68, as a 1-point favorite.
Both teams are favored to win their conference tournament. Syracuse opened at odds of 17-10 to win the Big East tournament according to Lucky’s sports books odds, ahead of West Virginia (3-1), Villanova (4-1) and Pittsburgh (5-1). Kansas opened as a 1-3 favorite to win the Big 12 tournament, according to odds at the M Resort sports book in Las Vegas. Its closest competitors are Kansas State (7-2 at the M), Baylor (5-1) and Texas (6-1).
2. Kansas minus 2 points vs. Kentucky:
Kansas, coming off consecutive impressive victories in which they covered the spread with room to spare against Kansas State and Missouri, is favored by 2 against Kentucky, according to Lucky’s oddsmakers.
Kentucky (29-2 straight-up, 16-13 ATS), which earned the other two first-place votes in the AP poll, is coming off a victory against Florida in which it failed to cover an 8-point spread. Kentucky, ranked second in the polls, also spent time at No. 1 earlier this season.
3. Kansas minus 3 points vs. Duke:
Most projections have Kansas, Kentucky and Syracuse as heavy favorites to earn No. 1 seeds in the tournament, with the fourth relatively undecided. Duke (26-5 SU, 18-10-2 ATS) made its case with a convincing 82-50 victory against North Carolina in which the Blue Devils went off as a 15-point favorite. Duke is ranked No. 4 in both major polls.
4. Syracuse minus 3 points vs. Duke:
The Blue Devils were also installed as a 3-point ‘dog against Syracuse, perhaps indicating the Orange sits closer to the overall No. 1 spot than its rivals in this proposition with Duke closer to a No. 2 seed. Even so, the Dukies opened as a heavy favorite to win the ACC tournament at odds of 5-8, followed by Florida at 5-2, Florida State at 5-1 and Virginia Tech at 8-1, according to M Resort odds.
5. Kentucky minus 1 point vs. Duke:
Kentucky opened as a big favorite to win the Southeastern Conference tournament at odds of 1-3 at the M, followed by Vanderbilt at 4-1, Tennessee at 5-1 and Mississippi at 8-1.
6. Kentucky pick ’em vs. Syracuse:
The Wildcats have been an underdog only once this season, going off as a 1-point ‘dog against Connecticut. The Orange was a small underdog at Georgetown and West Virginia and, early on, against North Carolina.”
As you can see Vegas doesn’t see much separation between these 4 teams.
If you gave me these four teams I would put Kansas slightly ahead of Syracuse. All the while having Kentucky and Duke fighting it out for third and fourth.
To me, Kansas provides everything you want in a national champion. A great senior leader and point guard in Sherron Collins matched with the inside game of Cole Aldrich and the Morris twins. While Syracuse too also has a ton of senior leadership and player of the year candidate in Wesley Johnson, the one thing that might haunt the Orange will be the free throw shooting of Rick Jackson and Arinze Onuaku.
John Wall turns the ball over too much for my liking and if the three pointers are not falling for Duke they can look rather pedestrian. So there you go, a little look at what Vegas thinks the possible college basketball lines would be if these four teams make it to Indianapolis. Who do you like?.