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NCAA Tournament East region preview: One favorite, one sleeper, one dark horse

We run down through the full list of odds for each team in the East region and pick our favorite, sleeper, and dark horse to make the Final Four.

NCAA Basketball: SEC Conference Tournament-Tennessee vs Alabama Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The road to the Final Four officially gets underway this week and there’s lots of money to be won for bettors who figure out which teams are for real and which teams will fade away.

Before things kick off on Thursday, we’ll be breaking down each region and telling you three teams from each we think have an opportunity to emerge and end up in the Final Four.

Let’s break down the favorite, a sleeper and a dark horse to come out of the East region.

Favorite: Michigan

The Michigan Wolverines lead this group of 16 teams out of the East. Their odds currently sit at +200 to reach the Final Four. It’s still unclear who their Round of 64 opponent will be, but that probably won’t matter much at the end of the day.

The Wolverines are ranked as the second-best team in the nation according to KenPom. Their offensive and defensive efficiency rankings are both in the top-seven in the country as well. Though they’ll be without star senior Isaiah Livers for the early days of competition due to a stress fracture in his foot, Juwan Howard and his team are hoping for a potential return later on in the Tournament.

Sleeper: LSU

The LSU Tigers came just seconds away from stealing the SEC Tournament title from bracket-mate Alabama. KenPom has them ranked as the 29th best team in the nation heading into the Round of 64. Their odds to make the Final Four are currently sitting at +1400.

They’ve gotten hot down the stretch and have become a better team since February, but have a tough draw as an eight seed. But Cameron Thomas and Trendon Watford, who average a combined 40 points per game between them, could have enough offensive firepower to get their team into the national semi-finals.

Dark Horse: Alabama

I’m not too sure how much of a dark horse this team actually is. The Alabama Crimson Tide are a No. 2 seed after all. But they’re not technically the favorite, coming in with +450 odds to make the Final Four, so we couldn’t put them in that spot. But the SEC champs have been playing great basketball all year long.

The selection committee has ‘Bama ranked as the fifth-best team in the country. With the No. 1 seed in their region, Michigan, limping into the tournament and potentially without their best player for the duration of it, Alabama has a stronger case to make a run than the Wolverines do.

That’s where my money is going, anyway.

Odds to reach 2021 Elite Eight, Final Four — East region

Team Make Elite 8 Miss Elite 8 Make Final 4
Team Make Elite 8 Miss Elite 8 Make Final 4
Michigan +110 -136 +200
Alabama +150 -190 +450
Texas +330 -455 +700
Florida State +350 -500 +900
Saint Bonaventure +2000 -10000 +1000
Connecticut +700 -1430 +1150
LSU +750 -1430 +1400
Colorado +525 -835 +1650
BYU +800 -1667 +2500
Maryland +1000 -2500 +2500
Michigan State +1500 -10000 +3000
UCLA +3000 -10000 +3000
Georgetown +1500 -10000 +4000
UNCG +4000 -10000 +8000
Abilene Christian +5000 -10000 +10000
Iona +3000 -10000 +10000
Texas Southern +4000 -10000 +10000
Mt. St. Mary's +5000 -10000 +15000

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