How to bet the Final Four 

April, 1, 2011

They were doing their standard accounting on Monday at the Hilton Las Vegas, like they always do at this time of year. The Final Four was just five days away, and it was time to tally what kind of liability they had in all the future bets on the remaining teams.

Like most books, the Hilton will post college basketball future odds twice. One of those times is in the summer, long before the season starts. Then they recalibrate just before the tournament begins. "Obviously, the second pool we post is where most of the money comes in," Jay Kornegay told me on Thursday afternoon.

But a funny thing happened as they reviewed the tickets for VCU. There it was, a lone, $10 play -- made sometime in December or January as far as they can tell -- on VCU to win the whole sha-bang ... at 5,000-1. "This is a bet we take all the time," Kornegay said. "In 20 years, we have never had this situation where one of these real long shots with long odds has a chance to win."