Just like that, we’re less than two months away from the start of March Madness. After nearly three months of college basketball, the Tennessee Volunteers’ Final Four odds sit sixth at +350 on DraftKings and at +300 on FanDuel. However, all the major online sportsbooks give the Vols top 10 odds to win it all this year.
Those odds could get a boost on Saturday, Jan. 28, when No. 4-ranked Tennessee takes on No. 10 Texas at Thompson-Bowling Arena.
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Volunteers Final Four Odds vs. the Field
DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook list the Houston Cougars, Alabama Crimson Tide, and Purdue Boilermakers with higher Final Four odds than the Vols.
Odds to Win NCAA Championship
Although the Cougars are the favorites across the board, it’s the Crimson Tide that may have the best case for wager consideration to win it all. Considering they are a conference foe, the Vols have a great chance to test their mettle. The Crimson Tide currently have a top-10 scoring offense and have played the toughest strength of schedule so far. They are vulnerable defensively, but that didn’t stop them from upsetting the Cougars head-to-head this year.
The Vols will have a chance to see how they measure up against the No. 2-ranked Crimson Tide on Feb. 15 in Knoxville, which will be one of the biggest indicators of just how legitimate they are.
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Volunteers Season in Review
If the Vols are to make it to the Final Four this season, they’ll have to prove they can beat more competitive teams. As good as they are, they haven’t faced many ranked teams to get a true measure of where they stand. Of the two they have played, they defeated No. 9-ranked Kansas Jayhawks, and they lost to the No. 6-ranked Arizona Wildcats. The team doesn’t have many dominant offensive weapons (shooting 44% as a team), but it does have the second-ranked defense nationwide.
However, it’s tough to get a read on how dominant the defense actually is at the moment. In the Vols’ two matchups against ranked teams, their defensive effectiveness was split. They stalled Kansas’ two offensive weapons, but all of Arizona’s stars shined. If the Vols are to have a chance, they’ll need to bring their defensive A game to each tournament contest.
Fortunately for the Vols, they’ll have multiple opportunities to measure themselves down the stretch of the season.
Upcoming Marquee Matchups
Four of the Vols’ last 11 games this season are against ranked opponents, beginning Saturday, Jan. 28, against the No. 10 Texas Longhorns. They’ll also face the No. 15-ranked Auburn Tigers twice, and the No. 2-ranked Crimson Tide before March Madness begins. After these games, fans and sports bettors will have a much clearer picture of how strong the Volunteers’ Final Four odds.
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The Vols have a very similar recipe to winning as the championship favorites Houston Cougars. Play tough defense and team ball offensively. However, their best offensive weapon is a guard who averages 12 points on 40% shooting. That’s going to make keeping pace with more explosive offensive teams very challenging come tournament time.
As of now, our prediction is that the Vols’ run ends in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament. We’ll definitely revisit that prediction a little later in the season, specifically after their matchup with the Crimson Tide.
Photo by Ian Cox/Tennessee Athletics