The Midwest Region has the potential to be interesting, as it could become complete chaos in a hurry. No other region has the No. 3 and No. 4 seed so disrespected as to give them longer than +1000 odds to reach the Final Four. Then again, no other region has the No. 3 and No. 4 seed as the teams seen as most likely to lose in round 1. Can anyone hang with Kansas in this regional? Here are my picks for the Midwest.
West Regional Betting Breakdown
The Favorite: Kansas, +150
The Jayhawks were the Big 12 champion this year and should be well served against teams that shoot the 3-pointer, as they boast a top-25 defense against the deep shot and shoot 48 percent from the field. Kansas has been prone to the occasional head-scratcher, such as in losses to Dayton and TCU, but for the most part, the Jayhawks have been pretty consistent since the start of February.
However, Kansas doesn’t have a great recent history in this event. The Jayhawks haven’t been past the second round since 2018, and they have underachieved badly over the past nine years, making the Final Four just once in that stretch. Kansas has the talent to make a run, but whether the Jayhawks have the discipline is another question.
The Value Play: Iowa, +350
The Hawkeyes might be playing better basketball than anyone as the first round of the tournament approaches. Iowa just won the Big Ten tournament for the first time in 21 years, and the Hawkeyes did it with strong offense and quick tempo, a combination that’s hard for teams to play against on short notice.
The problem is that Iowa doesn’t play a lot of defense, which could really cost it when the Hawkeyes come up against the region’s stronger teams. Iowa got away with it against Indiana and Purdue because it hit its shots, but eventually, the Hawkeyes will have to win a game without hitting a lot of shots. If they can do that, they’ll likely win the regional.
The Sleeper: Wisconsin, +1000
When you can get a No. 3 seed at this much value, you have to at least consider it. Wisconsin is considered a trendy upset pick at the hands of Colgate, which is why this number is where it is. If the Badgers survive that game, the bracket can open up considerably. LSU and Iowa State are hardly worrisome, and Auburn’s finish leaves a lot to be desired from the region’s No. 2 seed.
That said, Wisconsin didn’t finish strong itself, losing right away in the Big Ten tournament. But the Badgers play their first two games in Milwaukee, which gives them a great shot to at least make it to Chicago, where they would also have lots of fans.
Team to Avoid: Auburn, +300
The Tigers are a strong team, but they’re not playing their best as they enter the tournament. Not only did Auburn lose to Texas A&M in its first SEC tournament game, but the Tigers are just 6-4 SU and 2-8 ATS in their past 10 games. The Tigers simply don’t have the momentum you want to see when you’re making a futures bet.
I don’t love going with the favorite here, especially when said favorite has a history of coming up small in big moments in this tournament. But as long as Kansas remembers it has David McCormack inside to pair with Ochai Agbaji on the perimeter, the Jayhawks are dangerous. Kansas seems to be the least flawed of the teams in this regional, so I’ll back Kansas at +150.