Mark Clark: Want to be an instant millionaire?

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Bet a buck on any No. 14 to 16 seed

March Madness is upon us. In fact, the madness started earlier this season when the FBI began to charge agents, coaches and players with wrongdoings. Cash was passing hands from one to the other to get teenagers to be swayed to agents who planned to make a lot more money than they were spending to get the players to sign a dotted line. Now, the madness of March is here and it is less exciting because of the wrongdoings. In fact, a lot of people will avoid watching the NCAA National Championship Tournament because of the criminal activity that has gone on.

Folks, I am sure it did not all begin this season. Paying kids to sign with agents or at least to sway them towards those agents has gone on for years. It happens in all sports. It is just more obvious in basketball this season. My suggestion to you is to get over it. There are more teams, coaches and agents who followed the rules than there are those who did not.

Anyway, if you are a betting person and want to become an instant millionaire, I have another suggestion for you. Place a $1 bet on any team seeded at No. 14 or below in the National Championship Tournament – and then get them to win it all. A single dollar bet on the Pennsylvania Quakers would turn into $5.75 million if they win it all. The best return on your dollar would be to bet on the North Carolina Central Eagles. That $1 bet could turn into $10 million if the Eagles can win it all. LIU Brooklyn will give you $9,999,999 for a $1 bet. That same bet on Texas Southern or Radford will get you between $8-$8.5 million. All they have to do for you is win. You think those are ridiculous bets? Well, they are about as good as betting that same $1 on a lottery. And, by betting on these teams, you get to suffer longer to see if you win. I mean, hey, you buy a lottery ticket and look at the winning numbers. You know your results immediately. At least you have to watch two 20-minute halves to see if you won with the guys above – if they can last that long. Well, lasting past the jump ball to start the game takes longer than looking at lottery numbers.

Let’s be more frugal with our money and throw out every team in the NCAA tournament below the No. 8 seeded teams – Missouri, Seton Hall, Virginia Tech and Creighton – and place our money on teams that are ranked higher than No. 9. That takes away anyone’s chance of selecting Alabama to win a second National Championship this year, but it was unlikely anyway. It still leaves you with seven SEC schools to select – Missouri, Auburn, Florida, Tennessee, Arkansas, Texas A&M and Kentucky. If a No. 8 seed is to win this tournament, I would go with Missouri. I just would not place any money where my prediction is.

At No. 7 – Texas A&M, Arkansas, Nevada and Rhode Island – I would have to go with Texas A&M. No, I am not being an SEC homer here. I am just selecting the teams with the best odds of winning the tournament from each seed. Texas A&M has 150 to 1 odds to win it all. That ain’t good enough for me to bet anything on them. And, by the way, Missouri had better odds of winning from the No. 8 seed at 50 to 1.

The No. 6 seeds are Florida, Miami, Houston and TCU. Florida is at 85-1 odds to win this thing. Save your money. Stick with Missouri right now. The remainder of the No. 6 seeds have odds from 4,000 to 45,000 to 1.

At No. 5 – Kentucky, West Virginia, Clemson and Ohio State – the odds begin to get closer. Kentucky is at 30 to 1 while Ohio State stands at 125 to 1. West Virginia and Clemson fall between those numbers. Take Kentucky for a $1, more if you are sporty. The Wildcats, while a No. 5 seed, have the best odds of winning for a SEC team.

The No. 4 seeds – Gonzaga, Arizona, Wichita State and Auburn – would all seem to be teams that should have better odds of winning than Kentucky. Well, only two of them do. Gonzaga has 15 to 1 odds of winning while Arizona is set at 20 to 1. Wichita State, the team I think I chose last season or the season before to win, is at 80 to 1 and Auburn is at – are you ready for this – 999 to 1. And the Tigers are a No. 4 seed. Go with Gonzaga at this point in the seedings.

The No. 3 seeds are Michigan State (9 to 1), Michigan (25 to 1), Texas Tech (32 to 1) and Tennessee (48 to 1). I would go with Michigan State and I think the odds of them winning the tournament are better than 9 to 1, maybe like 6 to 1. But, that is just my opinion.

At the No. 2 seeds are Duke, North Carolina, Purdue and Cincinnati. Duke’s odds are 8 to 1 and North Carolina is at 13 to 1. Forget the other two teams. Go with Duke or North Carolina here. Adjust the odds to even between those two teams.

And finally, the No. 1 seeds are Villanova, Virginia, Xavier and Kansas. Villanova is at 7 to 1. Virginia is at 10 to 1. Xavier is 14 to 1. Kansas is 18 to 1. Put Villanova and Virginia at even odds between the two schools. Just pick one and hang on with them.

But, if we look at the odds overall, Villanova has the best odds followed by Duke, Michigan State, Virginia, North Carolina, Xavier, Gonzaga, Kansas, Arizona, Michigan and Kentucky. Those are the 11 teams that have the best chance of winning the National title in San Antonio. Which teams will be in the Final Four? Well, here are my picks – Villanova, Virginia, Gonzaga and Michigan State. In the title game? How about Virginia and Michigan State. The winner? Well, I will go with Michigan State.

Remember, I relied on the odds to make an informed prediction which is just purely a guess on my part. Go pick your own winners. At least by doing that the tournament will be more interesting to watch to see if you are right.

Mark Clark is a local sports writer for 

The Citizen of East Alabama.