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NC State, on its way to the Final Four, was 1000-to-1 to win the title 3 weeks ago

On March 12, NC State played the second game in the ACC tournament. That's the sign of a team that had a bad regular season.

With 4:51 left in that game, Louisville hit a 3-pointer to tie it up with the Wolfpack. Louisville went 8-24 last season and fired coach Kenny Payne the day after it lost to NC State.

Even at 1000-to-1 odds, which NC State was at BetMGM to win the NCAA tournament before the ACC tourney tipped off, you would have been crazy to take them to make a Final Four. Even betting a dollar on them to win the championship would have seemed foolish. They were the No. 10 seed in their own conference tournament.

But here NC State is, heading to the Final Four after beating Duke on Sunday. There have been some wild runs to the Final Four, like 2011 VCU, 2006 George Mason, 2018 Loyola Chicago and the combo of San Diego State and Florida Atlantic last season.

NC State's path is just as unexpected, which we can see from the fluctuation in its title odds.

NC State had long odds all season

At no point did the odds indicate NC State was a Final Four contender. Even now, after five wins to take the ACC tournament and four more wins to make the Final Four, the Wolfpack are still 18-to-1 to win it all.

Before the season, NC State was 150-to-1 to win it all. They went 17-14 before the ACC tournament, dropping seven of their last nine regular-season games. Their title odds rose to 1000-to-1. A modest $5 bet would win $5000 if NC State took home the title. Yeah, right.

North Carolina State's DJ Burns Jr. cuts the net following an Elite Eight win over Duke. (AP Photo/Brandon Wade)
North Carolina State's DJ Burns Jr. cuts the net following an Elite Eight win over Duke. (AP Photo/Brandon Wade) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

But then the Wolfpack got on a roll and won the conference tourney and an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. Still, they were a No. 11 seed and 200-to-1 to win it all, even worse than their odds when the season opened.

On the Monday after the bracket was revealed, only 1 percent of tickets and 0.6 percent of the money bet on the championship winner at BetMGM were on NC State. But good for those in the 1 percent.

Even from game to game, there hasn't been much faith in NC State. In the eight games since beating Louisville, the Wolfpack have been underdogs seven times. They're 8-0 straight up.

Wolfpack have been underdogs often

Here are the spreads for NC State's NCAA tournament games, via Covers.com:

First round: +5 vs. Texas Tech

Second round: -6.5 vs. Oakland

Sweet 16: +7.5 vs. Marquette

Elite Eight: +7 vs. Duke

Funny enough, the only time the Wolfpack haven't covered the spread in their last eight games was the win over Oakland. They won 79-73, failing to cover by a half point.

It took a long time for NC State's championship odds to adjust. After a first-round win, NC State moved from 200-to-1 to 100-to-1. And the Wolfpack stayed at 100-to-1 until they beat Marquette, at which point their odds moved to 30-to-1. That means as of last Friday morning, that $5 bet on NC State to win the title could have still been worth $500 if they end up finishing their journey with a championship.

This NC State run has been as unfathomable as any we've seen in the NCAA tournament. Back when they were on the ropes on a Tuesday afternoon against Louisville during the first day of the ACC tournament, even 1000-to-1 odds seemed foolish. NC State is an underdog again, getting 9.5 points against Purdue in the national semifinal, but that hasn't bothered the Wolfpack for weeks.