Kentucky basketball’s loss to Wisconsin Saturday ended the Wildcats pursuit of a perfect 40-0 season and a national championship.
But Kentucky’s dramatic loss was a big gain for Las Vegas bookmakers, especially William Hill.
“That was good news for us, because we had a yearlong prop (bet) with Kentucky going undefeated,” Nick Bogdanovich, director of trading at William Hill, told KNPR’s State of Nevada. “We started it out at 50-1 and they bet it all the way down to even money. So yes we had some exposure.”
Bogdanovich admitted there was a collective “sigh of relief” at William Hill after Wisconsin’s 71-64 win over the Wildcats in the Final Four at the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament on Saturday.
“We had some good six figure liability with Kentucky,” Bogdanovich said.
And that game set the stage for more betting on last night’s brilliant final game between Duke and Wisconsin. Duke defeated Wisconsin 68-63 on Monday in Indianapolis.
“When Duke got the win, it really helped us,” Bogdanovich said.
So with the 2015 championship in the books, who is the favorite to win the 2016 Men’s College Basketball Tournament? The Kentucky Wildcats open as 8-1 favorites to avenge their semifinal loss and cut down the nets next April in Houston.
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The defending champion, Duke Blue Devils, open as 15-1 to become the first team to repeat since the Florida Gators in 2006 and 2007. The Blue Devils opened last spring at 10-1 to win Monday night’s championship game.
Here is the list of 2016 championship odds for the top 10 favorites.
North Carolina 9/1
Iowa State 15/1
Michigan State 15/1
Source: William Hill
Nick Bogdanovich, director of trading, William Hill