As the college basketball seasons wind down, Iowa sportsbooks are fine-tuning their March Madness futures. Although the oddsmakers have lines on the men’s teams at Iowa State University, Northern Iowa University and the University of Iowa, the odds aren’t the same on all three teams.
The shortest odds belong with the Hawkeyes. That doesn’t mean Iowa’s path to the men’s Final Four or the national championship game is clear, however.
March Madness futures for three of Iowa’s men’s teams
Among the sportsbook operators with action available on the NCAA DI men’s championship tournament next month are Elite Sportsbook, PointsBet and William Hill. Those three sportsbooks all have lines on the Hawkeyes winning the national championship.
The same goes for the Cyclones of Iowa State. The odds for Iowa’s Big 12 institution winning it all this year are a lot longer, however.
Only Elite and PointsBet include the Panthers of Northern Iowa in their title field. PointsBet has the most attractive odds there, currently sitting at +15000.
PointsBet is also where Iowa bettors can find other bet types for the Hawkeyes. That book has Iowa +1050 to reach the Final Four and +2000 to claim a one seed in the tournament bracket. PointsBet sets the over/under on the Hawkeyes’ seeding for the tournament at 5.5.
Iowa State is +2500 to qualify for the Final Four and +4000 to win the Big 12 tournament on PointsBet. Elite has lines on all three teams being one of the Final Four.
The path to hardwood supremacy for all three of these teams looks very different. That starts with coming out of their respective conferences successfully.
Three very different paths to the same destination
Northern Iowa is again looking like the class of the Missouri Valley Conference. Iowa is part of a crowd near the top of the Big Ten. Iowa State is fighting to stay out of the cellar in the Big 12.
The Panthers are on track to enter the MVC tournament as the top seed. Although Northern Iowa has just a game lead over Southern Illinois and lost a road game to the Salukis earlier this season, the Panthers have a shot at revenge for that loss later this month.
Winning that game could effectively seal the regular-season title for Northern Iowa. Iowa’s potential seeding in its conference tournament is less clear right now, however.
The Hawkeyes are one of five Big Ten teams within two games of the conference leader, Maryland. Three of Iowa’s remaining seven contests are against other teams in that group. If the Hawkeyes can win out, they could grab one of the top two seeds in the Big Ten tourney.
Iowa State’s only hope to qualify for the field of 68 this year is winning the Big 12 tournament. Facing either Texas Tech or West Virginia in the first round sets them up for an early exit, however.
Although none of Iowa’s sportsbooks currently have futures live on the women’s tournament, that might change next month. The Hawkeye women’s team is having an even better season than the men’s side, currently tied for the Big Ten lead.
On the men’s side, sportsbooks have the most optimism about Iowa this March. Whether that optimism will pan out remains to be seen, but that should create a buzz around sportsbooks in the state.