The month of February ended on a sour note for the South Carolina Gamecocks, who posted straight up losses in the three of their final five games, a stretch of futility that has tumbled them out of the AP Top 25 rankings, and diminished their March Madness betting odds to a distant 150/1 at sportsbooks available through BettingSports.com.
Despite the Gamecocks' fading hopes of winning their first-ever national championship, along with the Clemson Tigers, who wrap up February as longshots to qualify for the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament for the first time since 2011, baller fans across South Carolina are still expected to get in on March Madness action.
Whether they are glued to their televisions, tablets and smartphones throughout the tourney, or making the 2300-mile trek across country to take in the action under the bright lights of Las Vegas, basketball fans spend millions of dollars each year, both on March Madness betting at countless online sportsbooks, and on the ultimate boys weekend in Vegas, where hotels offer a wide variety of college basketball betting and viewing experiences.
Chris Sharp, a self-described "certified 11-time veteran of Las Vegas March Madness" provides all you need to know for cashing in on March Madness betting, in his regular column at BettingSports.com, the premier online resource for sports betting news and insights.
As Sharp explains, there is lots of value available to sports bettors on the first weekend of the Big Dance, when the nation's powerhouses typically face off against upstart schools that have elevated their game to qualify for the tourney.
This year, there are familiar names atop the March Madness odds, led the Kansas Jayhawks, who wrapped up the month of February on a high note, crushing the Texas Longhorns by a 86-56 score, justifying their ascent to the top of the AP Top 25 rankings, and claiming the perch atop the college basketball futures betting odds as 8/1 favorites.
Conversely, the defending champion Duke Blue Devils have seen their odds slip, falling to 20/1 after closing out February with a stunning 76-62 loss to the rival Pittsburgh Panthers, and plunging to No. 17 on the national rankings.
However, the Blue Devils have a history of beating the odds, something they accomplished last year when they claimed their fifth national championship despite entering the tourney trailing the favorites at sportsbooks available through BettingSports.com.
Last year's favorites, the Kentucky Wildcats, also have their work cut out for them at this year's edition of the Madness.
After coming within one game of a perfect season a year ago, the Wildcats were once again forced to retool their lineup after losing several players to the NBA Draft.
Despite a roster that includes seven freshmen and two sophomores, the Wildcats have been a threat in the hunt for the SEC regular season crown.
KU entered the month of March deadlocked with the Texas A&M Aggies atop the conference standings with an 11-5 record, and remain in striking distance of the betting favorites, at a strong 16/1 on the March Madness odds.