KENTUCKY opened as 32-point favorites against Hampton. Vegas Vic has them at 34. By the time the game starts tonight (9:40, CBS), the line could be 35.

It's Vic's highest spread total since Duke was a 34-point favorite against Alabama State in 2004 and covered it with a 96-61 win. Yep. The Dookies were laying 34 and won by 35.

In the SEC semifinals this year, Kentucky was favored by 24 1/2 over Auburn and won by 24 (91-67). In the conference title game, the Wildcats beat Florida by 25. They were 13 1/2-point favorites.

The general public loves betting on favorites and loves dominant teams, which is why the line keeps climbing. Kentucky is nearly even money to win this tournament, which is ridiculous for such a large field. Duke and Wisconsin are next at 7-1.

Jeff Sherman is an oddsmaker for Westgate Las Vegas Superbook.

"The only things we can think of [recently] at those kind of odds are when the Bulls had Jordan and UNLV had its team in the '90s," Sherman told the Associated Press. "You don't see it this low very often."

Kentucky Props

The gambling website Bovada has a couple of interesting prop bets involving Kentucky.

* Will Kentucky win the championship and win all six games by 10 or more points?

Yes is +500 for every 100 wagered. No is +100 for every 800 wagered.

* Will Kentucky trail at halftime of any game?

Yes is +100 for every 260 wagered. No is +200 for every 100 wagered.

* Which will be the first No. 1 seed eliminated?

Villanova. . . 3-2 Duke. . . 3-1

Wisconsin. . . 2-1 Kentucky. . . 7-1

* Will Kentucky make the Sweet 16?

Yes. . . 1-20 No. . . 9-1

Vegas, Baby

With apologies to Wichita State, which entered last year's tournament 34-0, Kentucky's run of domination is more similar to the 1991 UNLV team.

That Runnin' Rebels squad, led by Larry Johnson and Stacey Augmon, entered the NCAAs 30-0 and on a 41-game winning streak.

They opened defense of their title by drilling Montana, 99-65, covering the 30 1/2-point number.

"Nevada-Las Vegas is for real," Montana coach Stew Morrill said afterward. "Everyone knows that, and we found it out firsthand. To experience [playing them] up close and personal was something."

UNLV beat Georgetown - which had Alonzo Mourning and Dikembe Mutombo - Utah and Seton Hall before being upset by Duke in the Final Four.

Wichita State was 35-0 and a No. 1 seed last season when it lost to 8th-seeded Kentucky in the first weekend.


Kentucky Hampton

Seed. . . 1-MW 16-MW

Record. . . 34-0 17-17

Record on March 6. . . 27-0 12-17

RPI. . . 1 251

Strength of schedule. . . 25 331

vs. Top 100. . . 21-0 0-0

vs. spread. . . 18-13-3 8-0

Avg. height/frontline. . . 6-11 6-8

McDonald's All-Americans. . . 9 0

NCAA tourney W-L. . . 118-48 2-4