Oddsmakers still have a lot of confidence in Houston.
The odds for Houston didn't get worse after seeing the Cougars' NCAA tournament draw, or their 10-point loss to Memphis in the AAC championship game Sunday. The Cougars are still the clear betting favorite to win the NCAA championship, even though the selection committee made Alabama the No. 1 overall seed.
Houston is +550 to win it all at BetMGM as of Monday morning. No other team is shorter than +800. The Cougars were without star guard Marcus Sasser on Sunday and it showed, though he should be back for Thursday's first-round game. Sasser suffered a groin injury in Saturday's semifinal game. If Houston can get through the region, which includes a very good No. 2 seed in Texas, they'll play the Final Four in ... Houston.
Here are the updated odds to win the NCAA tournament at BetMGM:
All other teams are longer than 30-to-1 odds. Duke and Texas moved up the board after strong showings in their conference tournaments.
Alabama is the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament but still is significantly behind Houston in the odds. The Crimson Tide rolled through the SEC tournament but that wasn't enough to get them ahead of the Cougars in the odds. Houston's KenPom ranking is No. 1, but Alabama isn't far behind at No. 3. Perhaps Houston having semi-home court advantage for the Final Four is affecting the odds. Or maybe it's a good time to grab some extra value on Alabama.
Here's a first look at the sports betting slate for Monday:
NBA has been hot
College basketball gets the attention in March, but the NBA has had some fantastic games this month too. There are seven on the schedule for Monday, and two late games stand out. On ESPN, the Phoenix Suns face the Golden State Warriors. It's not as good of a matchup with Kevin Durant sidelined, but still a solid Western Conference showdown. The Warriors are favored by 4.5 points.
Also in California, the Milwaukee Bucks are at the Sacramento Kings. The Kings are one of the NBA's biggest surprises and the Bucks are pursuing the No. 1 seed in the East and the NBA's best regular-season record. The Bucks are a small 1.5-point favorite.
NHL has 3 games
There are only three games on the NHL schedule for Monday. The matchups include a Buffalo Sabres team chasing a playoff berth at the Toronto Maple Leafs where Toronto is a -250 favorite. Also the Dallas Stars, in first place of the Central Division, are at the Seattle Kraken, which would be in the playoffs if the season ended today. Dallas is a -125 road favorite.
What's the best bet?
It's a fairly light schedule, but let's go with Sacramento as a home underdog. The Kings have a lot of confidence and facing the team with the best record in the NBA is another chance to prove their legitimacy. Giannis Antetokounmpo is questionable with a hand injury and if he's out, it's even more reason to like the Kings.