Kentucky head basketball coach John Calipari and the Wildcats play No. 3 seed Houston in the Sweet 16. File Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo
March 25 (UPI) -- The NCAA tournament's Sweet 16 round begins Thursday, with new favorites and underdogs developing after the Round of 32.
Duke, who was a +255 bet to win the national championship before the tournament started, has slipped as the sole favorite to win the title, according to BetOnline.AG. The Blue Devils nearly suffered an upset defeat against the ninth-seeded UCF Knights on Sunday.
Despite Duke's near defeat, all 16 betting favorites advanced in this year's Round of 32, according to Forbes. It is the first time that has occurred since the NCAA tournament field expanded to 64 teams in 1985.
The Sweet 16 starts with No. 4 Florida State taking on top-seeded Gonzaga on Thursday at 7:09 p.m. ET at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif.
Duke, Virginia favorites to win national championship
Duke, who opened as the betting favorite to win the tourney, is a +350 bet to win the championship hardware. The Virginia Cavaliers (+350), who beat No. 9 Oklahoma on Sunday, are equal with Duke to win the tournament.
Gonzaga (+450), North Carolina (+800) and Kentucky (+1200) are among the favorites to win the event April 8 in Minneapolis.
Duke (-175), Virginia (-150), Gonzaga (-125) and North Carolina (+140) are favorites to win their respective regions.
Contenders and tournament longshots
12th-seeded Oregon (+8000), the only double-digit seed left in the field, is the biggest underdog. LSU (+5000), Virginia Tech (+4000), Florida State (+3300), Auburn (+2500) and Houston (+2500) also have the longest odds to win the tournament.
Michigan State (+1400), Purdue (+1600), Michigan (+1600), Tennessee (+1600) and Texas Tech (+2000) sit in the middle of the pack.
One perfect bracket remains
Millions of people fill out brackets each year on major sites like ESPN, CBS, Yahoo Sports and NCAA.com, among others.
After the first week of games in the 2019 NCAA tournament, only one perfect bracket remains. The bracket, which is titled "Center Road" in NCAA.com's "Bracket Challenge," has correctly picked all 48 games.
The NCAA's official website called it "the longest streak of correct bracket picks we have ever seen." The website started tracking brackets in the last five years, with the "Center Road" bracket beating the previous record of 39 games set in 2017.
If every game were a coin toss, the odds of predicting 48 contests in a row are 1 in 281 trillion. The bracket has Duke, Gonzaga, Kentucky and Virginia in the Final Four, with the Bulldogs winning the national title.