March Madness: BetMGM Nevada hoping for 'stranger things' as bettors keep riding UConn train

Everyone wants to ride the UConn train as it blows through the March Madness odds market, but bettors and bookmakers alike are hoping for a few surprises at the Final Four this weekend.

No. 1 seed Connecticut is a staggering 10-0 straight up and against the spread during the 2023 and 2024 NCAA Tournaments after victories in the Elite Eight. The Huskies are double-digit favorites in each game, and BetMGM Nevada spokesman Scott Shelton is well aware that bettors are eager to keep cashing tickets on Hurley's team. "It doesn't look like anyone can beat UConn," Shelton said Thursday night. "But stranger things have happened."

The Huskies are now favored to beat No. 4 seed Alabama in the first Final Four game on Saturday, April 1. They're also heavy favorites to win the championship game against No. 1 seed Purdue or ninth-seeded North Carolina State, who pulled off the tournament's biggest surprise by making it to the Final Four as a result of a thrilling overtime victory over Duke on Sunday.

If UConn ends up facing Purdue, bookmakers will be rooting for the Huskies to win a second straight title. But they'll also be hoping that NC State can pull off the upset over the Boilers in the second semifinal. "Purdue-UConn would be a really good final," Shelton said. "And I'm told that for BetMGM nationally, N.C. State is really bad in the futures market. So getting rid of N.C. State would be a bonus."

It makes sense that the public is backing UConn, as they've been dominating the NCAA Tournament and are on a 29-0 run against the spread dating back to last year's tournament. That said, NC State is also attracting a lot of attention. The Wolfpack have been a great story during the tournament, going from unranked and not even expected to make the Big Dance to winning five games in five days to claim the ACC tournament title and then winning multiple games in the NCAA Tournament to now have a chance at the national championship.

It's unclear if the Wolfpack will be able to extend their miraculous run, but if they do, they'll have a lot of fans (and bettors) cheering them on.

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