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Which teams will claim the No. 1 seeds in 2020 NCAA tournament

DK Sportsbook allows us to bet on which teams will capture one of the four No. 1 seeds come March Madness. It’s a unique bet that offers some interesting angles. Let’s break them down.

NCAA Basketball: Texas Christian at Baylor Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

One of the best parts about DraftKings Sportsbook is the ability to bet on some unique outcomes. One of those rare finds is betting on who will earn a No. 1 seed for the NCAA Tournament. It’s an interesting way to back a team you think is going to finish the regular season and conference tournament on a strong note, but also takes subjectivity into account. A committee has to vote on which four teams get the No. 1 seeds, so you have to factor that into your handicapping.

Here’s a look at some of the top teams, based on the odds, as well a couple potential long shots.

The Top-4 Favorites

Gonzaga (-335)

The Zags are 23-1, sitting at No. 2 overall in the AP top-25. The reason they’re so heavily favored to land a one-seed is that they have no tough competition standing in their way until the tournament gets here. Gonzaga is -335 to win the WCC tournament, and I think there’s a reason it’s the same number to land a one-seed. If this team wins out, it’s a lock for a top seed. If it loses a game, then we get much closer to even odds. I’m almost rooting for this to happen given the parity in college hoops this season. A two-loss Zags team is still a one-seed to me. Since we can’t parlay this with anything, betting the -335 is tough to justify.

Baylor (+125)

This is my favorite bet of the group. Baylor is 20-1 overall, and sitting at No. 1 in the polls. Basically every metric you want to use to quantify, Baylor is in the top-4, including third overall in KenPom. This team has passed every test put in front of it, including a dominant win at Kansas. I think it can afford a couple losses to top competition and still land a one-seed. It has one more test against Kansas, and two against West Virginia before the conference tournament, so there are some spots the Bears could slip up.

San Diego State (+150)

San Diego State is a lot like Gonzaga given the lack of competition. SDSU is 23-0 overall, and ranked No. 4 in the poll. This team basically has to win out AND win its conference tournament to land a one-seed. It’s not out of the question, and I think they’ll do it. But is +150 good odds for that? Probably not. SDSU is -225 to win the Mountain West, just to show how dominant its been.

While we can’t parlay teams to land one-seeds, we can parlay conference tournament winners. Gonzaga and SDSU piece together for a nice play at -113.

Oregon (+150)

I’ll start by saying I love Oregon as a team. They were a tremendous bet last March, covering their final 13 games of the season, and I think they will be a good bet on a game-by-game basis again this year. They deserve to be favored in the PAC-12, and I’m pleased to have bet on them in the preseason. However, +150 is way too high on this team to land a one-seed. If DK was offering the other side, I’d gladly lay the -200 they don’t get a top seed. Oregon is ranked No. 14 in the polls, and 20th in KenPom. At 18-5 overall, I just don’t see the path to getting a one-seed. The Ducks would probably have to start by winning out, so why target a +150 payout on that?

Sleepers

Kansas (+200)

Kansas feels like a fantastic bet for a 2X payout. Maybe there’s some hesitation that two Big 12 teams will land one-seeds, but I don’t see that being an issue if Kansas and Baylor both wind up as clear-cut top-four teams. Kansas gets another crack at Baylor during the regular season as well. The Jayhawks rank No. 3 in the poll at 18-3, and are actually the top-ranked team in KenPom. Kansas is by far the best bet outside of the top-four favored team, and maybe the best bet overall. Kansas is the second-favorite to win it all at +1000, behind only Gonzaga. Being fifth in line for a one-seed doesn’t make sense.

Dayton (+250) vs. Duke (+250)

This is an interesting tandem to consider. Duke ranks No. 7 overall at 18-3, and is No. 2 in KenPom. The Blue Devils have the potential to be the top team in the country, which is reflected in their +175 to reach the Final Four odds. One slip from one of the top teams in the odds, and Duke is right in the conversation.

However, Dayton ranks No. 6 overall, just above Duke, and has a 20-2 record. Dayton’s remaining tests are a game at VCU, and two games against URI. If it can win out in the A-10, and win the conference tournament, a slip up from a top team could leave a path for Dayton. The Flyers are -125 favorites to win the A-10 tournament.

Dark Horse

Maryland (+650)

In all likelihood no team steeper than +250 will land a top seed. But Maryland is being undervalued at these odds. This was a top-five team early in the season, and has worked back to No. 9 at 17-4. Maryland is undefeated at home, and really needs some big road wins to enter the conversation. But look at some comparisons here. FSU is No. 8 in the poll at 18-3, yet +200 to land a one-seed? That makes no sense. FSU and MD are extremely comparable teams, and the Terrapins would likely be favored on a neutral court.

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