This article is part of our College Basketball Picks series.
The expanded legalization of sports betting continues to grow the possibilities and one of the more exciting things caught my eye earlier this week. DraftKings has created a market for betting over/unders on NCAA tournament seeds for a select few schools.
There have been markets for betting on Selection Sunday in the past, but nothing released three weeks in advance with over/unders. Unfortunately for us, you could only bet on 14 teams this week, and hopefully that increases as we get closer to selection time.
If you haven't followed, I've been doing my own Bracketology the last few years, so this is in my wheelhouse. It's unclear where DraftKings is getting these numbers from, but it's clear there are some advantages to take.
After watching the odds this week, there are a few things that caught my eye. Even without a ton of betting action, it seems like they're moving the numbers almost after every game. Florida had an over/under of 6.5 on Monday, but that dropped to 5.5 on Wednesday with close to even odds. On Thursday, it moved to 7.5 with the under at -152. Florida beat an Auburn team without their best player (Sharife Cooper) on Tuesday.
Diving into those numbers, Florida is currently projected to be a 7-seed according to the BracketMatrix. To have a chance at a 6-seed, the Gators would need to win at Kentucky and against Missouri in their final two regular season games and then maybe win one or two more in the conference tournament. Even then, their resume isn't overwhelming at 12-6 overall. They have a nice win at West Virginia and home against Tennessee and LSU, but they also lost at home to South Carolina. Playing in a down SEC doesn't help, either, limiting their chances for wins against top-25 caliber teams. Expecting them to get a 5-seed is a stretch unless they win or make the SEC Championship Game.
The constantly moving Florida over/under is maybe most surprising, but I have a lean on almost every team DraftKings offers. The numbers are sometimes changing every day even when a team doesn't play, and they'll undoubtedly look different next week.
Creighton over 4.5 (+132). BracketMatrix 5. Creighton didn't make the top-16 seed reveal a couple weeks ago mainly because of four Q3 losses. The Bluejays just beat Villanova, but unless they sweep road games at Xavier and Villanova next week, a 5-seed may be their destiny.
Florida State over 2.5 (+115). BracketMatrix 3. The Seminoles are good enough to get a 2-seed, but only if they win out and win a couple in the ACC tournament. A down year for the ACC hurt them in the initial top-16 reveal, as did a home loss to UCF. I like them, but I'm not sure they're at 2-seed quality yet.
I was going to write about Iowa, but DraftKings must've realized their mistake because the over/under was 3.5 on Wednesday and then dropped to 2.5 on Thursday ahead of the game against Michigan.
Kansas under 4.5 (+155, was +275). BracketMatrix 4. You can say it's a down season for the Jayhawks, but seven of their eight losses are in the upper tier of Quad 1. They're 6-1 in lower Q1 and Q2 games, which is everything a 4-seed needs. Oddly, their regular season ends this weekend and if they can get a win against Baylor, I'd lock them into at least a 4-seed no matter what happens the rest of the way.
LSU over 6.5 (-134). BracketMatrix 8. This is more of a prediction on my part because I don't think LSU is an upper-tier team. Similar to prior seasons, the Tigers don't play defense and that's led to some bad losses, most recently by 13 points at Georgia. Unless they beat Arkansas on Saturday, it's hard to see them grabbing more than a 7-seed with their resume. Ten of their 14 wins have come outside of the top two Quadrants, which seems more like a bubble team than one that's considered a lock for the tournament.
Missouri over 5.5 (-127, was -114). BracketMatrix 6. The metrics don't like the Tigers because of their recent losing streak, but it's hard to ignore their four upper tier Q1 wins. That leaves me somewhat tentative on this bet, but there's a chance they lose to Florida on Saturday and don't get another quality win again this season.
Oklahoma under 4.5 (-134). BracketMatrix 3. The Sooners have a big couple weeks to close the regular season, but even if they lose their next three, they'd still be in play for at least a 4-seed. The loss to Kansas State doesn't help, but they're 5-5 in Q1 and there's a decent chance they win two of their next three. If that happens, they'd be in play for a 2-seed, pending on the conference tournament.
Purdue over 5.5 (-112). BracketMatrix 6. This is maybe more about me doubting how good Purdue is, but unless they sweep the final three games, a 5-seed will be tough. The Boilers have a solid resume, but they're 4-6 on the road and could lose two of their next three.
Texas over 3.5 (-115). BracketMatrix 4. Unless my schedule is wrong, the Longhorns close the regular season with four-straight road games. Their resume is good enough to earn a 3-seed right now, but unless they beat Texas Tech or Oklahoma, they might not get another quality win before the tourney.
USC under 4.5 (-106). BracketMatrix 4. This would be close to a lock, but USC has played just one upper tier Q1 game this season, something that's about to change. The Trojans could get some big wins on the road against Colorado, Utah and UCLA or they could lose all of them and not have a chance for a 4-seed. Evan Mobley is usually the best player on the court and I'm backing him.
Wisconsin under 6.5 (-110, was +100). BracketMatrix 5. The Badgers maybe aren't as good as once believed, but expecting them to drop to a 7-seed seems like a stretch. Six of their eight losses are in the upper tier of Q1 and they have a chance to add high-end wins with Illinois, Purdue and Iowa on the schedule next. Of course, similar to USC, they could lose all those games and enter the Big Ten tournament at 16-11. So, yeah, maybe a 7-seed is possible.