They were both incredible this year, but only one can be named the No. 1 overall seed at the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament. The selection committee had to choose between two worthy candidates: the Villanova Wildcats (30-4 SU, 22-12 ATS), who won the Big East tournament, and the Virginia Cavaliers (31-2 SU, 20-9-1 ATS), who took down the ACC title. In the end, they chose Virginia – and rightly so.

But it’s Villanova who enter the fray as top favorites on the March Madness futures market. They’re +600 at press time, ahead of Virginia at +650. The Wildcats have been placed in the East Region, with the Cavaliers in the South, setting them on a collision course for the Final Four in San Antonio. But first, they have to win their opening matches at the Big Dance. Villanova will face the winner of Tuesday’s First Four game (6:40 PM ET, truTV) between the No. 16 LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds and the No. 16 Radford Highlanders, who are favored at –4.5, while Virginia meets the No. 16 UMBC Retrievers this Friday at 9:20 PM ET on TNT.

 

KU, XU A Step Behind on 2018 March Madness Odds List

The remaining No. 1 seeds don’t stack up quite as well as the leading favorites. The Kansas Jayhawks (27-7 SU, 18-14-1 ATS) were put on top of the Midwest Region after winning the Big 12 title, but at +1200, they’re not the chalkiest team in the Midwest; that honor goes to the No. 2 Duke Blue Devils (26-7 SU, 20-11 ATS) at +800. Plus, Kansas has a tricky opening-round matchup on Thursday (2 PM ET, TBS) with the No. 16 Pennsylvania Quakers, who dominated the Ivy League at 24-8 SU and 13-14 ATS.

The Xavier Musketeers (28-5 SU, 21-12 ATS) have also earned a No. 1 seed in the West Region, reflecting their third-overall spot on the AP poll. But Xavier hasn’t performed at nearly the same level as Villanova and Virginia, and they’re priced accordingly at +1500 on the March Madness betting lines. After losing in the second round of the Big East tournament, the Musketeers will play whoever wins Wednesday’s First Four matchup (6:40 PM ET, truTV) between the No. 16 Texas Southern Tigers and the No. 16 North Carolina Central Eagles.

While the No. 1 seeds get ready for battle, the two most popular teams on this year’s March Madness bracket appear to be the Arizona Wildcats (27-7 SU, 14-18-2 ATS), the No. 4 seed in the South, and the Michigan State Spartans (29-4 SU, 15-16-2 ATS), who will represent the Midwest as the No. 3 seed. Although both teams have been hit hard by scandal this year, Arizona rallied to win the Pac-12 title, while Michigan State couldn’t get out of the second round in the Big Ten tourney. The Spartans are still ahead of ‘Zona on the NCAAB championship futures, +1100 to +1200, but will either team make it to San Antonio?

 

*Odds as of March 13, 2018