The final No. 1 seed is becoming a hotly contested debate. Several teams are vying to be on the one line on Selection Sunday, and FanDuel Sportsbook is providing odds as to who that team will be.
With Gonzaga, Baylor, and Michigan all but locking up No. 1 seeds, the battle for the last one is going to come down to the wire.
These odds are going to fluctuate constantly ahead of March 14th, but this may be a good time to wager on a few teams moving forward.
This line caught me by surprise. Villanova is 15-3 on the year and rightfully in the conversation, but I can’t see them taking home the fourth No. 1 seed unless other teams falter down the stretch.
When you dig deeper into Nova, their resume is a bit of smoke and mirrors. The Wildcats lone win against a KenPom top 25 team is against Texas on the road. The team doesn’t have a bad loss, but this doesn’t feel like a No. 1 seed.
For Villanova to grab the top line on brackets, they are going to have to beat Creighton at home on March 3rd and run the table in the Big East tournament. At the very least.
It’s possible, but the Big East has bubble teams all over such as Seton Hall, Xavier, Connecticut, and St. John’s. Desperate team’s may show more urgency and knock them off at Madison Square Garden.
Florida State (+200)
The road has opened up nicely for the Seminoles to grab a top seed. FSU has had two COVID-19 pauses, but they've compiled a 14-3 record and have just one bad loss to UCF to their name.
Florida State will be favored in their remaining three games in the regular season, which helps. They have also proven to be the class of the ACC this season, which is another notch on the belt.
Paced by a versatile offense that is top 10 in offensive efficiency, as well as a switch heavy defense that locks down the interior, FSU is in a good spot to run away with the ACC tournament.
As of now, Joe Lunardi has Florida State on the three line in his latest bracketology -- No. 10 overall.
I tend to agree with oddsmakers that FSU is more likely than teams currently ahead of them and this price does seem fair.
However, +200 may not be the best way to attack this, considering the Noles will need to win out for a chance at the top spot.
I would recommend opening a six team parlay and adding Florida State’s money line to each game, which is sure to payout greater than +200. As well, you minimize the risk if the committee goes in a different direction on Selection Sunday.
Alabama has a rock solid resume. At 18-6, the Tide have decimated most of the SEC at different times this year. Their only loss to a team outside the KenPom top 50 was to Western Kentucky at home, and they've beaten five clubs inside the top 30.
Bama is likely going to be the No. 1 seed in the SEC tournament, and I do like their chances of running the table there. A five-day tournament should play right into their hands with a physical defense and an explosive offense that is nearly unstoppable in rhythm.
+300 is a sound bet with Alabama providing a clear path to the top line. The team did slip up at Arkansas earlier in the week, but on a neutral court, this team is still the class of the SEC.
Ohio State (+380)
If the season ended right now, Ohio State would still be the final No. 1 seed despite losing two in a row to Michigan and Michigan State.
Further, the Buckeyes control their own destiny. The team hosts Iowa and Illinois to finish the year, two opponents that can bolster their resume.
However, these odds indicate the market believes Ohio State isn't likely to run the table and win the Big Ten tournament. Considered a near-lock to be a No. 1 seed a week ago, oddsmakers now see the Buckeyes as likely to end up on the two line come Selection Sunday.
Make sure to keep an eye on Kyle Young’s status. The big man missed Thursday’s game against Michigan State in concussion protocol, and Ohio State needs all hands on deck to secure that top seed.
West Virginia (+700)
West Virginia has a compact resume. The Mountaineers are 16-6 without a bad loss this season. The team also has a bevy of good wins, including at Texas, Texas Tech, and Oklahoma State.
West Virginia has been the only one to keep it close with Gonzaga -- a five-point loss on December 2nd -- and will have a chance to really change the trajectory of their season on March 2nd against Baylor at home.
For Bobby Huggins’ team to make a case for the No. 1 seed they likely need that game over Baylor, but a Big 12 tournament crown could also suffice. There will be plenty of opportunities between March 10-13 to score more Quad 1 victories.
While the path is there, I’m not betting West Va to come away with that final spot. The team has had to erase double digit deficits often this season and are shooting a torrid 40.9% from three in conference play.
I expect to see some regression down the stretch and the team sits on the two line come the tournament.
This hinges on Ayo Dosunmu's return. The Illinois point guard missed Thursday’s game against Nebraska with a facial injury and he is out “indefinitely.”
It could not come at a worse time for the Illini, who finish the season with three road games at Wisconsin, Michigan, and Ohio State. If the team were to navigate a 2-1 stretch, and a Big Ten tournament run, they become a serious contender to grab a No. 1 seed.
However, with the unknown around Dosunmu, I can’t play this price.
Reed is a native of New Jersey and graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is a die-hard Brooklyn Nets fan and always believes the spread has a chance of covering. You can follow Reed on Twitter @ReedWallach for more commentary.