The NCAA Tournament field is set, which means it’s time for bracketing. And although everyone loves to scour 5-12 matchups in search of potential upsets, the winner of your office pool will likely be determined by who correctly predicts the final game.
With that in mind, we have compiled a list of who oddsmakers, analysts and statistical models peg as the NCAA Tournament favorite. We’ll start with the odds-on front-runner according to…
Oddmaker Bovada has Villanova as the favorite at +450, followed by Virginia (+500), Duke (+650) and Michigan State (+750)
Statistical analysis website FiveThirtyEight sees Virginia as the favorite, with an 18 percent chance to win it all. Villanova comes in a close second at 17 percent.
Of eight CBS Sports writers who published their brackets, three picked Duke, two picked Villanova and one each picked Virginia, Michigan State and North Carolina.
This oddsmaker has Villanova and Virginia tied at 5/1 odds to claim the title, with Duke at 6/1 and Michigan and Michigan State at 8/1.
Three of four ESPN analysts (Jay Bilas, Dick Vitale, Seth Greenberg) picked Michigan State to take the crown, while a fourth (Seth Greenberg) picked Arizona.
The Athletic asked five of its college basketball writers (Seth Davis, C.L. Brown, Dana O’Neill, Sam Vecenie, Brian Hamilton) for their brackets. Three of the five selected Virginia to win it all, while the other two picked Villanova.
The college basketball statistical analysis site doesn’t have NCAA Tournament predictions, per se, but it does list Virginia as the nation’s top team, followed by Villanova, Duke and Cincinnati.
Another oddsmaker likes Villanova. BetDSI has the Wildcats +400, with Duke next at +550.
Statistical analyst Jeff Sagarin ranks Villanova as his top team, followed by Virginia, Duke and Michigan State.
So in the end, what have we learned? Well, you’re probably best off picking a team whose name begins with the letter V.