NCAA Tournament Betting: Midwest Region Odds Preview

Jamie Rhodes-US PRESSWIRE

Louisville is favored in Midwest region odds, but the bracket is a minefield of dangerous foes like Duke, Michigan State and Saint Louis. Check out the latest game lines and odds to win the region.

The Louisville Cardinals made the Final Four last year and earned a top seed by thrashing all comers in the Big East tournament.

But the Midwest Region is considered the toughest regional by far of this year's NCAA tournament, making a return trip to the Final Four anything but guaranteed.

College basketball betting begins in the Midwest Thursday with six "second-round" games in Auburn Hills, Lexington and San Jose.

Third-seeded Michigan State gets to start the tournament in its home state, as the Spartans play 14th-seeded Valparaiso at the Palace. Then sixth-seeded Memphis Tigers, the dual champion of Conference USA, takes on the winner of Tuesday's St. Mary's/Middle Tennessee game.

Fourth-seeded Saint Louis, the dual champion of the Atlantic 10 Conference, is rewarded for its efforts with a trip to San Jose to play 13th-seeded New Mexico State. Then fifth-seeded Oklahoma State takes on the 12th-seeded Oregon Ducks, which won the Pac-12 Tournament.

And Louisville opens its NCAA tournament on the home court of hated rival Kentucky, Rupp Arena, by playing the winner of Tuesday's North Carolina A&T/Liberty game. Then eighth-seeded Colorado State, one of five Mountain West teams to make the tournament, matches up with ninth-seeded Missouri, one of just three SEC teams to make the Big Dance.

Then Friday in Philly, second-seeded Duke goes against 15th-seeded Albany, and seventh-seeded Creighton battles 10th-seeded Cincinnati.

In the early betting the Spartans were favored by 10 points over the Crusaders; the Billikens were favored by nine points over the Aggies; the Cowboys were favored by three points over the Ducks; Mizzou, despite being the lower seed, was favored by three points over CSU; the Dukies were favored by 17 points over the Great Danes; and the Blue Jays were favored by three points over the Bearcats.

On the college basketball futures market at Bovada.lv, Louisville was an even-money favorite to win the Midwest, followed by Duke at 7/2, Michigan State at 6/1, St. Louis at 8/1, Creighton, Oklahoma State and Missouri at 20/1, Memphis at 35/1, Colorado State, St. Mary's and Cincinnati at 50/1, Oregon at 60/1, Middle Tennessee at 75/1, Valpo at 100/1, New Mexico State at 200/1, Albany at 2000/1 and Liberty and NC A&T at 4000/1.

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