Will little Saint Peter's, a MAAC school with an enrollment of about 2,500, actually win the 2022 NCAA Tournament? Almost surely not. The Peacocks are the third No. 15 seed to reach the Sweet 16 all-time and the other two, Oral Roberts in 2021 and Florida Gulf Coast in 2013, lost in that round. To win a national title – and you can't bet on Saint Peter's at some books because it's located in New Jersey – the Peacocks are +6600. It would be very costly if they did shock the world.
Coach Shaheen Holloway's team was +100000 at Caesars Sportsbook to win it all before their first-round stunner of Kentucky and as long as +20000 as early as Tuesday but is now down to +6600. Saint Peter's has captured the fourth-most tickets at Caesars to win the title since the start of the Round of 64 last Thursday, behind Arizona, Gonzaga and Duke. The Peacocks are the first team in the history of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference to advance to the Sweet 16.
"Saint Peter's is now our top liability for title futures," said Adam Pullen, Assistant Director of Trading at Caesars Sportsbook. "It was the same thing last year with Oral Roberts. When you have 200/1 odds, that liability adds up very quickly. By the time the Sweet 16 tips off and there isn't a massive title bet on another team, they'll be the team that we won't want to see advance much further."
This century, only two schools from New Jersey have reached the Sweet 16: Saint Peter's and Seton Hall in 2000. The common thread? Holloway, who was the star point guard on that 2000 Pirates squad. He is widely expected to be named the next Seton Hall coach whenever the Saint Peter's tournament run ends. Seton Hall lost Coach Kevin Willard to Maryland.
The current nine-game win streak is the longest for the Peacocks since winning nine straight in the 1994-95 season, one of just three other trips to the NCAA Tournament in program history. Alas, the run likely ends Friday from Philadelphia against East Region No. 3 Purdue, which is -12.5.
Gonzaga remains the favorite to win the NCAA Tournament, dropping from +325 entering the first round to +230 for the Sweet 16 despite not playing all that well yet. Kansas had been a +900 fourth favorite, but now the Jayhawks only trail Gonzaga at +475. That's because KU's Midwest Region has been watered-down with No. 4 Providence, No. 10 Miami and No. 11 Iowa State remaining.
"Kansas has the easiest path to the Final Four of any team right now," said Pullen. "They'll be considerable favorites at least through the Elite Eight. When the brackets came out, this was the weakest of the regions, and that's why we lowered their odds then. So it makes sense that Kansas is the second choice right now, it's all about draw."
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