Alabama clinched a program first on Sunday afternoon. In winning its second SEC Tournament title and Regular Season crown in three years, the 28-5 Crimson Tide (NET 2), were duly rewarded for three straight Q1 double-digit wins in three days.
Alabama Basketball has a 1-seed in the tourney, and is your overall No. 1 overall seed for the Big Dance. We’ve hit on this at length down the stretch in Points in the Paint, but this was a year you really did not want to draw the No. 2-4 overall seeds. Even if still a 1-line, at least two, and perhaps three regions were projected to be meatgrinders.
The Selection Committee's official rankings of the 2023 #MarchMadness field! pic.twitter.com/oPjuTDcf0J— NCAA March Madness (@MarchMadnessMBB) March 12, 2023
That in fact, came to pass. Alabama’s South Region is about as forgiving as you can have in a year were 7-8 teams had a claim to 1-seed, and the 2-seeds are every bit as good as the 1s.
Look at this: absolutely ridiculous.
But, did that change Alabama’s odds to win it all?
Nope. Not appreciably. Despite having a far tougher region than the Tide, and potentially drawing Auburn in Birmingham in the second Round, the Houston Cougars are still the favorite per DraftKings Sportsbook, at +$500.
The Crimson Tide has improved its odds somewhat, moving from the third best odds (+850), to second overall, at +$700. And, we would counsel you that taking the Tide here is not just a homer pick but probably is the smartest play, if you’re spitballing the future.
- Look at the 2-seeds: UCLA, Marquette, Texas, Arizona — with the Wildcats being far and away the weakest of those four in the NET and advanced stats. The Wildcats are in ‘Bama’s region.
- Look at the 3-seeds: Baylor, Gonzaga, K State, Xavier — again, Alabama drew the most mortal 3-line, in Baylor.
- Even the tough 4/5s out there, the Tide got fortunate: No Vols, no Duke, no Miami, no Indiana. The Crimson Tide drew one of the weakest UVA team in the last decade.
- Scary midlines? No Arkansas or Auburn, both of whom have given ‘Bama fits this year. No red hot underrated Big 12 teams lurking.
- Looking for a 5-12 upset to then give a 1 trouble? Oral Roberts and VCU are waaaay on the other end of the country.
- Look to history: Last 5 years, and 12 of the last 15, the team cutting down the nets has been a 1-seed.
Yes, Alabama did draw Baylor as a 3-seed, and the 8/9 winner is going to be a battle: Maryland/West Virginia. But, in the main, this is as great of a draw as you could possibly expect, in a tournament where you need to win 5 games in a row, with the last four being Q1 affairs.
The Crimson Tide can do it. And with favorable, longer odds of 7/1, that’s a good investment for a great team.
EDIT 3/12/2023 10:37 PM DST: After this was published, ‘Bama moved to +$500, with Houston still first at +$350. Still good odds, at 5:1, but perhaps not quite as lucrative as before.
Is Alabama good value at 5:1?
Yes, especially with the favorable bracket
It’s not bad, but Houston is the favorite for a reason (+350), and KU has the big game experience (+800), among others
No, it is still a team prone to cold starts and extended cold shooting spells.
Our thanks as always to DraftKings for sponsoring the site. You can check out up to the minute spreads for ‘Bama games — and the other 66 games in this year’s tourney, over at their hub.