CBKB: Vegas tabs Kansas top favorite in NCAA tournament
By OSKAR GARCIA
Associated Press Writer
LAS VEGAS — Las Vegas oddsmakers like No. 1 Kansas as much as the NCAA selection committee, picking the Jayhawks as the top team in the NCAA tournament.
Las Vegas Sports Consultants, which gives betting lines to about 90 percent of Nevada sports books, made the Jayhawks (32-2) a 2-1 favorite Sunday night to win it all.
“They’re really, truly the only preseason top 5 team to have lived up to all their expectations,” oddsmaker Dan O’Brien of Las Vegas Sports Consultants said. “Kansas came into the season absolutely loaded.”
Kansas capped its season by winning the Big 12 tournament title Saturday night over No. 9 Kansas State, 72-64.
At MGM Mirage casinos, race and sports book director Jay Rood listed Kansas as a 9-5 favorite. MGM Mirage owns the most casinos on the Las Vegas Strip.
The Jayhawks were 9-4 favorites at the Las Vegas Hilton, race and sports book executive director Jay Kornegay said.
“They just have everything they need to be a championship team,” Kornegay said. “Whether they will be or not, we’ll see.”
Las Vegas Sports Consultants picked Kentucky (32-2) and Syracuse (28-4) as the next best teams.
Rood, who listed Kentucky as a 2-1 favorite and Syracuse at 11-5, said the field is unpredictable beyond the top teams.
“It’s a weird-looking tournament,” he said. “You look at it and there’s really only three or four teams that can make a commanding statement in the tournament, but outside of them it’s really wide open.”
Rood said Georgetown (23-10) had done the most to improve its odds, and went from 35-1 to win the title to 15-1 after the Big East tournament, where it beat Syracuse before losing to No. 7 West Virginia.