Illinois presents enormous value in latest Final Four odds

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March 11th, 2021

March Madness is just around the corner, and Final Four futures (say THAT five times fast) are now available. The consensus is that Baylor, Gonzaga, and Michigan will be No. 1 seeds, and it certainly seems as though Illinois is most likely to join those teams on the 1-line barring a disaster in the Big Ten tournament.

The Illini have +150 odds to make the Final Four, and have emerged as the consensus fourth choice. Baylor and Gonzaga are co-favored at -305, while Michigan is -143.

Odds to make the Final Four

Florida State
Oklahoma State
Ohio State

The Wolverines have looked shaky in March

That last number confounds me a bit. The Wolverines have tons of talent, are well-coached, and are capable of beating any team in the country when they’re firing on all cylinders. However, the maize and blue have stumbled to end the year.

In addition to losing their regular season finale to Michigan State, the Wolverines were decimated by Illinois earlier this month despite the Illini being without matchup nightmare Ayo Dosunmu.

Illinois is peaking at the right time

Illinois, on the other hand, finished the regular season with a 20-6 mark and went 16-4 in Big Ten play with wins in 11 of their last 12 games. They’re the No. 2 seed in the Big Ten tournament despite having two more conference wins than Michigan, and chances to solidify a No. 1 seed could come against either the Wolverines in the final or No. 3 seed Iowa in the semifinal round.

We don’t have a complete March Madness bracket as of this writing, and matchups could always throw monkey wrenches into the system (not to mention the whole “pandemic” thing). However, if you’re looking to make a Final Four bet, I think there’s some value in Illinois.

The Illini certainly look to be peaking at the right time, and they’re threats to not just make the Final Four, but cut down the nets after the national title game as well.