NCAA Tournament South Regional Odds Preview: Third seed Florida top betting pick

USA TODAY Sports

Kansas has the championship pedigree and the top seed but not the best odds to win the South region. When North Carolina is seeded No. 8, you have a deep bracket and lots of betting intrigue - and the No. 3 seed is favored to win it all.

Florida is the third seed in the South region, but oddsmakers and the betting public apparently believe they are the favorite to win it.

"We have them projected ahead of Kansas at No. 1 and Georgetown at No. 2 and therefore the Gators are our favorite," said Kevin Bradley, sportsbook manager at Bovada.lv.

"They probably deserve to be a No. 1 seed and we are treating the March Madness futures that way."

Indeed, the South is a deep bracket. When the No. 8 seed is North Carolina, you know you're dealing with a deep field and that's the situation as betting on the South gets rolling Thursday.

Florida tops the South Region odds menu at 8/5 with Kansas at 3/1 and Georgetown nestled close behind at 5/1.

South Regional opening-round play begins Thursday with a pair of games at the Palace in Auburn Hills. First, fourth-seeded Michigan, playing about 50 miles from home, entertains the champion of the Summit League,13th-seeded South Dakota State.

Then fifth-seeded VCU, looking for a repeat of its run to the Final Four of a couple seasons ago, takes on the champions of the MAC, 12th-seeded Akron. VCU has dominated betting in recent years and owns a 10-1 ATS mark in 11 games.

In early NCAA tournament betting, the Wolverines were favored by 11 points over the Jackrabbits; and the Rams were favored by eight points over the Zips.

Then Friday South Regional play breaks out in three locations. In Philly second-seeded Georgetown plays the champion of the Atlantic Sun, 15th-seeded Florida Gulf Coast. Then seventh-seeded San Diego State out of the powerful Mountain West squares off against 10th-seeded Oklahoma.

In Kansas City the Tar Heels take on ninth-seeded Villanova, and top-seeded Kansas plays 16th-seeded Western Kentucky.

And in Austin third-seeded Florida runs with 14th-seeded Northwestern State, after which sixth-seeded UCLA, which just lost G Jordan Adams to a broken foot, battles 11th-seeded Minnesota.

In more early South Regional betting the Hoyas were favored by 13 points over the Eagles; the Aztecs were favored by two points over the Sooners; Carolina was favored by four points over the Wildcats; the Jayhawks were favored by 19 points over the Hilltoppers; the Gators were favored by 20 points over the Demons; and the Bruins, in large part because of the loss of Adams, were dogged by three points against the lower-seeded Gophers.

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