The Norman Transcript

National Sports

March 18, 2014

The Vegas view of the NCAA Tournament

LAS VEGAS — There will be 1,000 people lined up early Thursday morning to get a seat at the LVH sports book for the start of the NCAA tournament, and most of them don’t care that Michigan State was somehow relegated to a No. 4 seed.

Oddsmakers in this gambling city are treating the Spartans like a No. 1 seed anyway. Their numbers show a team that will likely be favored against everyone except Florida, no matter what the NCAA selection committee thinks.

“We certainly can point out the committee flaws like no one else can,” said Jay Kornegay, who runs the popular LVH sports book. “Michigan State is a 4 seed yet we have them as the second favorite to win it all. That doesn’t make much sense to us.”

Michigan State got more respect at the LVH than it did in the NCAA selection room, with oddsmakers making the Spartans a 9-2 pick to win it all, second only to Florida at 4-1. The odds might have even been better, but bookies figure the Spartans will have to work a little harder to make the Final Four from a No. 4 seeding than if they were seeded No. 1 or No. 2.

The same type of reasoning bumped the odds up slightly on Louisville (15-1) and Michigan (25-1) because they must come out of a brutal Midwest region loaded with contenders.

“The Midwest region is one of the toughest regions we’ve ever seen,” Kornegay said. “In my opinion it might be the toughest region of all time.”

The seedings don’t necessarily match their power ratings, but there’s plenty for the bookies to like about this year’s tournament.

Thousands of people will jam sports books the first four days of play in a betting frenzy unmatched by anything other than the Super Bowl, and they will bring fistfuls of cash.

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