Kentucky New Vegas Favorite for NCAA Title

Las Vegas casinos have tabbed Kentucky the latest favorite in an NCAA tournament full of upsets, and are hoping that Virginia Commonwealth ends its improbable run without a title.

Executive Director Jay Kornegay of the Las Vegas Hilton race and sports book said Sunday night that Kentucky was a 2-point favorite to win its semifinal game against Connecticut, while Butler was a 2 1/2-point favorite over Virginia Commonwealth.

Race and Sports Director Mike Colbert of Cantor Gaming says his books made Kentucky an 8-5 favorite to win the title. Connecticut is the next favorite at 11-5, while Cantor is giving Butler 4-1 odds and VCU 7-1 odds to win it all.

Colbert and Kornegay say a VCU title would be troubling for their casinos given some big bets on the long shots.

Meanwhile, the NCAA tournament’s television ratings are the highest since 2005.

Through the regional finals, this year’s tourney has averaged a 6.0 rating and 13 share. That’s up 11% from 2010.

This was the first season of the NCAA’s 14-year, $10.8 billion contract with CBS and Turner, which meant every game was televised nationally for the first time.

Sunday’s regional finals on CBS earned a 7.6/16, the same as 2010.

CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus says “as far as I’m concerned, I think everything turned out even better than I thought it was going to.”

Ratings represent the percentage of all homes with televisions tuned into a program. Shares represent the percentage of all homes with TVs in use at the time.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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