Las Vegas Sportsbooks Hope Kentucky Wildcats Do Not Complete Perfect Season
The Kentucky Wildcats enter the Final Four as big favorites to go unbeaten and win the 2015 Mens NCAA Tournament. If that happens, Las Vegas sportsbooks could have a major shortfall on their wagers. Las Vegas sportsbooks need the Wildcats to lose one of its last two games or they are going to pay off huge bets.
Sports gambling offers long shot bets on most contests. Whether it’s a big underdog, an improbable parlay, or a near-impossible proposition, this draws a fair amount of gamblers into betting on something happening which almost certainly won’t happen.
Summer Prop Bets
In the Summer of 2014, one William Hill proposition bet had the Kentucky Wildcats as 50-to-1 underdogs to go undefeated and win the NCAA Mens Championship this April. A number of gamblers took that unlikely wager, as they do every year on a handful of top favorites. The only difference is those wagers look like they might pay off for the gamblers, unlike so many times in the past.
Nick Bogdanovich, the Director of Trading for William Hill, said of the upcoming showdown between the Wildcats and the Wisconsin Badgers, “We’re stuck rooting for Wisconsin.”
Wisconsin Badgers: Vegas’s Best Bet
That did not sound like a ringing endorsement of the Wisconsin Badgers’ chances. The Badgers are a Final Four team for the second year in a row, so they bring experience along with the attitude of a proven winner.
The Badgers’ path to the showdown with Kentucky is startingly similar to their path to the Final Four last year. They defeated Oregon in the third round and the Arizona Wildcats in the Elite Eight, earning the right to play John Calipari’s team in a rematch of the March Madness Semifinals match from last year.
2014-15 Wisconsin Badgers
In their games versus Oregon and Arizona, the Badgers won easier victories than they did in 2014. The Badgers barely lost to Kentucy in 2014, losing on a last-second 3-pointer by the Wildcats’ Aaron Harrison for a 73-74 loss. If they improve any on their showing of last year, the Badgers will win.
2014-15 Kentucky Wildcats
The problem is, most onlookers believe Kentucky is much better than they were last year. The Badgers have a strong frontcourt of Frank Kaminsky, Nigel Hayes, and Sam Dekker. Those three are going to need to come up big, because they face the biggest starting lineup in the history of NCAA basketball.
In fact, the Kentucky Wildcats starting lineup of Willie Cauley-Stein (7-ft), Karl Towns (6’11”), Alex Poythress (6’8″), Aaron Harrison (6’6″), and Andrew Harrison (6’6″) would be the tallest starting lineup in the NBA, if they played in the National Basketball Association. And while the Wildcats’ offense is sometimes electricifying, it’s their daunting defense which makes like so hard for opponents. Most teams simply are not the same when they step on the court with Kentucky, because they cannot drive the lane or post-up their opponents. They become outside shooters.
Kentucky is deep, too. It has 9 former McDonalds All-Americans in the lineup–and Cauley-Stein isn’t one of them. There isn’t much drop-off in terms of size or production when the bench players step on the floor. And unlike so many of the brand name teams of the past generation, the Wildcats do not seem to lose their cool (or get too excited) during games. They play the game the right way, with poise, style, and energy. They make it look easy.
NCAA Championship Game
If Kentucky gets past Wisconsin, then they are going to face a team that’s even a bigger underdog than they Badgers. Kentucky is only a 5-point favorite over Wisconsin.
If you look at the moneyline bets, the Kentucky sits at -240 and Wisconsin is at +200. Consider that you have to wager $100 to win $200 on Wisconsin and Las Vegas is giving Wisconsin a chance to win. The game with the last-minute shot in 2014 is certain to play a role.
The sportsbooks are therefore hoping Wisconsin changes all the storylines. If Kentucky wins, the sportsbooks are facing losses in the mid-six-figure ranges. William Hill is expected to lose around $500,000.
Duke Blue Devils Odds
CG Technology, which runs its own sportsbook on the Las Vegas Strip, is facing its own possible big payouts, but the chances are not so grim in their case. The Duke Blue Devils were 7:1 and 8:1 underdogs to win the NCAA Tournament at a couple of different spots and a couple of gamblers are said to have placed 5-figure bets on that proposition. If Duke wins, CG Technology is going to pay off in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.