March Madness betting fans have seen since George Mason made the Final Four in 2006 plenty of no name teams become outstanding March Madness bet values and go all the way to the Final Four.
The Butler Bulldogs and Virginia Commonwealth Rams are two such teams for 2011 as they were not expected to make the Final Four and yet they did and Butler themselves will be playing in the National Championship Game for the second consecutive season on Monday night against Connecticut.
One bet March Madness fact of life that handicappers will remember in future years is that the regular season is not the sole barometer to use when evaluating teams in their matchups on the board.
Butler was the third place team in the Horizon League and had to win their conference tournament in order to be assured a bid in the Big Dance but since getting in they have been a dangerous team that nobody has wanted to face.
Virginia Commonwealth was a fourth place team in the Colonial Athletic Association and had to play in the “First Four” this year which was a new feature by the NCAA in which there were four play in games with 8 teams to narrow the field down to 64.
This also demonstrates how a team in the First Four can now make the Final Four and be a dangerous and valuable March Madness gambling commodity.
Traditional powers such as UCLA, Kansas, North Carolina, Kentucky, Syracuse, Michigan State, and last year’s national champion Duke are al on the outside looking in for the title game and this illustrates the dangerous nature of the one and done way of the Big Dance.
Teams such as Pitt, Notre Dame, Florida, Texas, and Arizona who were regular season teams that were highly ranked did not survive March Madness and this gives handicappers plenty to ponder in the off season about how valuable and dangerous a quality underdog can be in the Big Dance.
While the general betting public will likely continue to focus on “name brand” teams the smart March Madness betting “caps” will continue to look for value over well known overlays.