If you were expecting some kind of jaw-dropping development involving sportsbooks winning or losing millions from the Duke – Wisconsin national title game, you’re not going to get any of it today. Sure, Duke won its sixth national title, beating Wisconsin, 68-63, in the championship game, but for the most part, betting action in the run-up to the game was so evenly split that bettors and oddsmakers are probably coming out of the game at a stalemate, free to live another day.
Okat, it’s not as exaggerated as it seems, but the fact is that there really wasn’t any overwhelming favorite as far as where the action was heavy on. Wisconsin backers did push the Badgers to as high as 1.5-point favorites, but for the most part, it really was a toss-up. Action was also tempered leading up to the game with some books suggesting that the game coinciding with baseball’s opening day could have had something to do with it.
While the final numbers haven’t been tallied up, it doesn’t look like sportsbooks will post any significant win or loss coming out of the game. It may have been a tempered conclusion to the tournament, but at least a lot of them wouldn’t have sweated a Kentucky title, which would have been the worst case scenario given the avalanche of bets on the Wildcats before the tournament started.
As far as the game itself goes, you have to give it to Duke and coach Mike Krzyzewski for rallying against Wisconsin in the second half and holding on in the dying seconds, thanks to some timely plays from the Blue Devils’ four standout freshmen. This latest championship now puts Coach K’s haul to five titles, second only to the Wizard of Westwood, John Wooden.
With the college basketball season now over, sportsbooks can let out a short sigh of relief. This time of the year isn’t particularly as high-strung compared to football season and March Madness, but they’re still going to need to be in complete focus because of what’s to come next month.
For now, though, March Madness is done and the Duke Blue Devils are the champions. It wasn’t the team everybody thought was going to win it, but then again, anytime you have Coach K on the sidelines, you know your team has a chance. Duke showed that throughout the tournament and for their efforts, they just hoisted their fifth men’s college basketball championship.
Or as Jerome Bettis once said, “one for the thumb!”