The Michigan Wolverines are favored despite being the lower seed in their first-round matchup Thursday against the Rams of Colorado State.
Michigan will get March Madness round one action rolling with the first tip-off on Thursday in Indianapolis. Michigan sportsbooks have the Wolverines as favorites to advance, but beyond that, the odds are long that the team will play much deeper in the tournament.
March Madness Odds for the Wolverines
Sportsbooks have Michigan as anywhere between 2- and 3-point favorites to win their NCAA Tournament First Round game against Colorado State. However, they are +12,000 to win the whole thing according to FanDuel Michigan, which is worse odds than you can get on San Diego State, for example.
Experts don’t expect the Wolverines to last long in March Madness: DraftKings Michigan lists U-M at +15,000 to win the NCAA Tournament. Michigan would have to win two games this week and two more next week to get to the Final Four. FanDuel showed odds of +2000 for Michigan to make the Final Four on Wednesday morning.
Maybe you’d prefer some conference-strength help for your wagering on March Madness? At DraftKings, you can get odds of +750 for any Big Ten team to win the NCAA Tournament. The same sportsbook is offering a State Rivalry bet: Which team will advance further? Michigan (-130) or Michigan State (+100)?
In that same vein, BetMGM Sportsbook Michigan lists a special bet for Michigan, Michigan State, or Wisconsin to reach the Final Four, with odds at +550.
No. 11 Michigan vs. No. 6 Colorado State
Thursday, March 17, 12:15 p.m. ET; Indianapolis, Ind. (CBS)
Last November when the college hoops season tipped off, Michigan was one of the favorites to be a Final Four team and contend for a national title. But, it’s been a strange season for coach Juwan Howard’s team — so strange that he wasn’t on the court for the last part of the regular season due to a five-game suspension for throwing a punch at a Wisconsin coach in the post-game handshake line. Since that disciplinary action, Howard’s team has gone 3-3 with a Jekyll and Hide finish to its Big Ten season.
The Rams emerge from the Mountain West Conference, where they were one of three schools to win as many as 25 games. Unfortunately for them, three of their losses came against those other dominant teams in their own conference. Even more telling, Colorado State lost twice to UNLV — an 18-14 team that didn’t even get an invite to the National Invitational Tournament, let alone March Madness.
Why did the Rams get pushed around by a lackluster team like UNLV twice? Because Colorado State plays shoddy defense. The Rams ranked 138th in the nation in defensive efficiency. This is a team that usually finds itself in a sloppy up-tempo game and is prone to lapses on the defensive end.
When you lose 14 games as the Wolverines did this season, you don’t feel like a team that can go deep in the NCAA tournament. Still, the Maize and Blue will probably get past the Rams in this first-rounder.