It has been one of the craziest NCAA Tournaments in recent history with no top-2 seeds in the Final Four.
Three of the four teams are making their first Final Four appearance in school history, and UConn is back in the tournament semifinals after not getting past the Sweet 16 since 2014, when they won it all.
There are only two games remaining in the college basketball season, so let’s dig into the March Madness odds.
NCAA Tournament Betting Odds 2023
The Final Four is set, and it’s one that nobody could have predicted, consisting of a 4-seed, two 5-seeds, and a 9-seed.
- UConn (-125)
- San Diego State (+380)
- Miami (+475)
- FAU (+650)
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NCAA Tournament 2023 Favorites
UConn is now the odds-on favorite to win the NCAA tournament following a dominant run through the West Region, capped off with a 30-point win over Gonzaga in the Elite 8.
UConn has been the most impressive team in the tournament with an average margin of victory of 22.5 points across their four wins, and are now the highest remaining seed left in the Final Four.
Adama Sanogo has been the most dominant player in the Big Dance and is now the favorite to win the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player award.
- Check out the full Top-25 list of the best March Madness players.
San Diego State has leaned on its length and defensive prowess, and after pulling off the upset of then-favorite Alabama and beating a solid Creighton team, have made their first Final Four in school history.
When looking at the current college basketball lines, these are the two favorites to make the NCAA Championship Game.
NCAA Tournament 2023 Contenders
Miami has arguably the most impressive wins of the tournament, beating Houston and Texas to advance to the Final Four for the first time in school history.
After making the Elite 8 last season, we knew they had the talent to make a run, but not sure anyone saw this coming. The Hurricanes’ offense has been cooking on all cylinders, scoring 85+ points against Houston and Texas.
FAU is the biggest of the surprises in the Final Four. After a fortunate matchup against FDU in the Round of 32, they beat an athletic Tennessee team and staved off a red-hot Kansas State team to become the first Conference USA team in a Final Four since Memphis in 2008.
Best Tips For Betting March Madness
Here are a couple of tips on how to take advantage of the unpredictability, by getting the best odds and taking advantage of errors in the market.
Capitalize On The Unpredictability
The NCAA Tournament is always unpredictable, with this year being no different.
A new trend is blindly betting on the underdog of every game, which would have been profitable this year. While I certainly don’t recommend blindly taking every underdog, you can’t be afraid to take a couple of underdog moneylines outright.
You can get a ton of value on excellent mid-major or undervalued teams to pull off upsets, and sometimes you’re leaving money on the table but playing it “safe" by just taking the point spread.
In the 32 first-round games of the 2023 NCAA Tournament, only four underdogs covered the spread. And they did not win outright. So if you like a team to cover the spread, chances are, sprinkling a bet on their moneyline at longer odds is profitable.
Follow Line Movement and Team Trends
The main thing I recommend is to follow college basketball future odds all season long. Find a handful of teams you believe in and watch as their odds move throughout the season.
For example, UConn started the year strong but lost seven of nine games at the beginning of January. They went from among the favorites to dropping all the way to (+3000).
Grabbing this number in the assumption that they’ll recover through the natural ebbs and flows of the season is a valuable practice that can pay off in a big way.
Bet Futures on Favorites Early
If you’re wanting to grab one of the favorites, you can often get better numbers early in the season. The best time to get Houston, who were the favorites nearly the entire season, was at the beginning of the season.
The Cougars’ odds continually dropped all season long, before starting the tournament in the range of just (+450), depending on the sportsbook, but more on that later.
Although none of the top-10 favorites have a chance to cash this season, when it comes to action on one of the favorites, the earlier the better.
Fade Over-seeded Teams with Futures
After Selection Sunday, I thought that Purdue was clearly the worst 1-seed and that the East Region was wide open.
At the same time, you could get teams in that region at fantastic numbers to win it all — Kentucky (+5000), Duke (+2000), and a two-seeded Marquette team at (+1800).
Rather than just fading Purdue on a game-to-game basis, you could take advantage of a situation you see value in by betting futures, either to win it all or one of the many other betting options for the NCAA Tournament.
FAU was the eventual champion of the East Region, but if you had bet the Owls after Purdue’s loss, you would have gotten a significantly worse number than if you had trusted that Purdue was overvalued and taken a shot before they were upset.
Line Shop Across Multiple Sportsbooks
In the futures market for college basketball, you’ll see major differentials in odds across sportsbooks.
Some of the sportsbooks will rely more on computer metrics, some will rely more on team performance, and everyone will have different liabilities on each team.
Especially with teams in the (+3000+) range, the odds can vary greatly and you could be missing out on extra money.
A great way to check these numbers is to look at The Game Day’s CBB National Championship odds and compare the numbers at each sportsbook. Many of these sportsbooks will have fantastic sign-up bonuses you can take advantage of to help you get even more value on your NCAAB futures.
Things To Avoid in March Madness Betting
Just as the tips above can help you find and get the best March Madness odds, these things can be equally as harmful to your bankroll.
Picking Too Many Upsets
This also goes for your bracket, but getting too upset and underdog happy can be a problem for your bankroll.
Yes, there are always upsets. However, blindly picking underdogs is not a good strategy. Favorites are favorites for a reason and are usually some of the best teams in the country all season long.
This season was one where the double-digit seeds didn’t win a ton of games, especially the popular upset picks who struggled against the big boys.
Overreacting to Recent Results
This is especially important to remember following conference tournaments, but the same goes for all season long.
Seemingly every year, there is a team who gets hot at the end of the season and wins their conference tournament.
In 2023, Duke won their last six regular season games and rolled through the ACC tournament, but was bounced in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The previous year, Iowa went on a surprise run and won the Big Ten tournament, but was bounced by Richmond in the first round.
These teams often are trendy picks to make deep runs, but be wary — they’re middle-of-the-road seeds due to their season-long results.
Not Looking at Location of NCAA Tournament Games
The NCAA Tournament is spread across the United States, and although the NCAA attempts to make it somewhat fair, you will have teams that have a substantial location advantage.
If you don’t look at the location of the game in comparison to the two teams before placing your bet, you should.
In 2023, Auburn was granted the opportunity to play Iowa in Birmingham, just two hours from their campus. The Hawkeyes had a ton of struggles on the road this season, and playing in a virtual road game in the opening round was a terrible draw.
The fans in attendance naturally were cheering for the hometown Tigers, and being close to home played a factor in their opening-round win.
Being Afraid To Lay Points with Favorites
A lot of times in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament, you’ll see 15-20 point spreads and be gun-shy to lay the points with a big favorite.
It gets breezed over due to people remembering the Fairleigh Dickinson and Princeton upsets, but even with those upsets, the top-three seeds were 6-5-1 against the spread in the 2023 NCAA Tournament.
A lot of the blowouts are expected and don’t receive a ton of attention, but they do happen regularly, especially in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. So, you can’t be afraid to lay points with a far superior team.