Arkansas Upsets Gonzaga in Sweet 16: Sportsbooks Rejoice as Bulldogs Lose

Arkansas Upsets Gonzaga in Sweet 16: Sportsbooks Rejoice as Bulldogs Lose article feature image

Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images. Pictured: Jaylin Williams and Trey Wade of Arkansas.

Most brackets have now officially been busted.

The No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament has been eliminated in the Sweet 16 round, when No. 4-seeded Arkansas defeated No. 1 Gonzaga 74-68 on Thursday night.

Gonzaga was the second-biggest liability according to BetMGM. The Bulldogs accounted for 12% of national-championship tickets and 8% of the total handle.

Gonzaga was the +230 favorite to win the title entering Thursday at BetMGM. It was +350 before the start of the tournament and +600 at the beginning of the season.

The Zags also accounted for 7.7% of National Championship futures at PointsBet, the most of any remaining team. They also accounted for 8.6% of the handle, which was third among the teams remaining.

According to Action Network's Darren Rovell, Caesars had the most money on Gonzaga. The Zags accounted for 27% of the National Title future handle.

No sports book had more money on Gonzaga to win than @CaesarsSports.

A whopping 27% of the money was on Zags to win it all at that book.

— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) March 25, 2022

ESPN reported that 27.1% of brackets had Gonzaga winning the National Championship.

The last time the pre-tournament favorite lost in the Sweet 16 or earlier was in 2011, when Duke lost to Arizona.

Pre-Tournament Favorites to Lose in Sweet 16 or Earlier

  • 2011: Duke +400 (Sweet 16)
  • 2010: Kansas +200 (Round of 32)
  • 2006: Duke +400 (Sweet 16)
  • 2004: Kentucky +350 (Round of 32)
  • 2002: Duke +250 (Sweet 16)

Gonzaga closed as a 9.5-point favorite on most books and 10-point favorite on a few other sportsbooks entering the matchup against Arkansas.

That makes them the seventh-biggest favorite to lose outright in the Sweet 16 or later since 1978.

Biggest Upsets In Sweet 16 or Later since 1978

  • 2002 Indiana +12 vs. Duke (Sweet 16)
  • 2011 VCU +11.5 vs. Kansas (Elite Eight)
  • 1998 Utah +10.5 vs. Arizona (Elite Eight)
  • 1997 Arizona +10.5 vs. Kansas (Sweet 16)
  • 2022 Arkansas +10 vs. Gonzaga (Sweet 16)
  • 1985 Villanova +10 vs. Georgetown (National Championship)

The books will now turn their focus to the Arizona game as the Wildcats are the biggest liability at BetMGM and PointsBet. They face Houston on Thursday night.

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Doug Ziefel
Jun 23, 2024 UTC