Josh Katzenstein for Bookies.com

By Josh Katzenstein | | 5 mins

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SLIPS: Dayton A Popular Final Four Pick, But Not Title Bet

SLIPS: Dayton A Popular Final Four Pick, But Not Title Bet
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No. 3 Dayton has had a magical 2019-20 season thus far, and many bettors expect the Flyers (29-2) to continue thriving in the NCAA Tournament.

However, there seems to be some doubt among bettors whether Dayton is ready to win it all.

According to a DraftKings release on Friday, Dayton is the most bet team to make the Final Four, both in terms of bets and handle. However, bettors aren’t as keen on the Flyers’ odds to win the national championship as the Atlantic 10 champions rank seventh in bets and 10th in handle.

As March Madness begins, bettors are searching for value as they place these futures and decide whether to bet a team to win the title or just make the Final Four. DraftKings has taken more bets and the highest handle on No. 1 Kansas to win it all, but the Jayhawks don’t rank in the top 10 of most bet teams to make the Final Four. Clearly, bettors prefer Kansas at +600 to win the championship as opposed to -200 to make the semifinals.

The opposite is true with Dayton as the Flyers are garnering a lot of Final Four action at +275, but they’re a less popular title team at +1150. Either line represents good value for a likely No. 1 seed, and Dayton has won 20 games in a row.

Overall, fans of college basketball betting seem to favor teams from the Power 5 conference to win the title and mid-majors to advance to the Final Four. In terms of handle, the most popular teams to cut down the nets, in order, are Kansas, Louisville, Duke, Florida State, Kentucky, Baylor, Michigan State, Gonzaga, San Diego State and Dayton.

Clearly, the public is a bigger fan of No. 2 Gonzaga than the sharps as the Bulldogs (+800) rank second in most bets to win the national title but just eighth in handle.

No. 5 San Diego State is drawing similar attention from bettors as Dayton. The Aztecs rank ninth in championship bets and handle at +1500, but they’re the second-most bet team to make the Final Four and third in terms of handle at +450.

No. 11 Creighton (+525) appears to be a preferred sharp Final Four pick, too. The Bluejays rank eighth in bets to make the Final Four, but they’re second in terms of handle.

At William Hill, the needs are a bit different because the book doesn’t have Final Four odds available, just championship odds. Nick Bogdanovich, director of trading for William Hill, said the worst outcome would be San Diego State winning the title because the Aztecs opened last year at 1,000-to-1. The odds steadily dropped, but the bets when at 300- or 400-to-1 added up, too.

“It doesn’t take long to add up liability,” Bogdanovich said.

The other teams with clear liability for William Hill right now are Kansas, Oregon, Wichita State and Creighton.

“NCAA futures are bet like crazy, especially once the field is set,” Bogdanovich said. “If a long shot comes through, then it’s a problem. There’s so much money in the pot. Everyone wants to have a ticket to win it all. Usually they gravitate toward a longer shot.”

The action on conference tournaments is “not even in the same universe” as the Big Dance, Bogdanovich said, and because a 1-in-68 shot produces good odds, futures add up in the NCAA Tournament more so than in other postseasons.

As for Dayton specifically, bettors might be smart to stick to Final Four bets as opposed to title wagers. Plenty of mid-majors make the Final Four, including Loyola Chicago most recently in 2018, but the last smaller conference team to win the championship was UNLV from the Big West in 1990.

UFC Bettors Beat Books

Favorite Israel Adesanya remained unbeaten.
Favorite Israel Adesanya remained unbeaten.

Bogdanovich said the story of the weekend at William Hill was UFC 248 betting, which featured the favorites winning four of five matches including the last two fights.

“The favorites all came in so we got beat up,” he said.

Bettors hammered the two main events, the middleweight championship between Israel Adesanya +270 and Yoel Romero as well as the women’s strawweight championship between Weili Zhang (-165) and Joanna Jedrzejczyk.

“They bet the (Zhang) like they already knew the winner,” Bogdanovich said.

Notable bets

  • A William Hill bettor suffered two big losses on moneyline favorites this weekend. On Saturday, the bettor wagered $55,000 to win $10,000 on the Nuggets moneyline against the Cavaliers, which Cleveland won 104-102. Then, the same bettor put $60,000 on the Arizona moneyline to win $6,000, but Washington came through with the upset, 69-63.
  • Another William Hill bettor hit a 10-leg, $10 parlay with a payout of more than $2,000. The wager mixed NBA and NCAA men’s moneylines, totals and spreads.
  • A bettor at DraftKings took advantage of live NBA betting odds on Tuesday to turn a $3 bet into $8,035.91. The bettor picked the Nets moneyline against the Celtics, Timberwolves moneyline against the Pelicans, Warriors moneyline against the Nuggets and Raptors moneyline against the Suns. Three of those teams were big underdogs before the game, and the Raptors trailed the Suns for most of the game.
  • One DraftKings user won nearly $8,000 on a nine-leg NBA moneyline parlay on Wednesday. The bettor picked the Thunder, Grizzlies, Trail Blazers, Celtics, Heat, Jazz, Timberwolves, Bucks and Mavericks to win, and when they did, the $294.93 bet hit for $8,271.17.
  • Another DraftKings bettor won $1005 on a $5 bet that Matt Every would lead the Arnold Palmer Invitational after Thursday’s first round. Every shot a 7-under 65 for the best score of the day before his 11-over 83 on Friday led to him missing the cut. The lesser-known Every actually won this tournament in 2014 and 2015, his only two PGA Tour wins.
  • One bettor at William Hill parlayed the over on eight basketball games to win more than $3,500 on a $20 wager.