Conference play is well underway, which means March is right around the corner.
But with a couple of months until the national champion cuts down the nets in Houston, there is still ample time to get exceptional odds.
Here’s a look at National Championship odds and futures bets for 2023 college basketball.
All college basketball odds are current as of Monday, Jan. 23 and courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook
March Madness National Champion Betting Odds 2023
- Houston (+600)
- Alabama (+1000)
- Arizona (+1000)
- Purdue (+1200)
- Kansas (+1500)
- Tennessee (+1500)
- UCLA (+1500)
- Connecticut (+2000)
- Gonzaga (+2000)
- North Carolina (+2200)
- Baylor (+2500)
- Texas (+2500)
- Virginia (+2800)
- Kentucky (+3000)
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Houston has long been the betting favorite to claim the title in its home city thanks to 18 wins in its first 19 games.
Still, the Cougars expect to have serious competition especially as March draws near. Alabama beat Houston during the regular season and has been atop the standings in the SEC all season. Arizona and UCLA are each among the contenders atop both the rankings and the Pac-12 standings.
Purdue looks like a bonafide contender, led by Wooden Award favorite Zach Edey. The Boilermakers will face some of the stiffest competition in the nation in the Big Ten conference, which could have as many as 10 NCAA Tournament bids come Selection Sunday.
After a few months of wandering in the wilderness, college basketball’s blue bloods appear poised to get back in the mix as well. Kansas, North Carolina, and Kentucky are back in the top 15 for betting odds, even if the Wildcats are on the bubble, and Duke is poised to join them all in the NCAA Tournament.
Don’t forget to also check out 2023 Final Four Odds to hedge a bit.
2023 March Madness National Championship Best Bet
It’s still been 26 years since they won the National Championship, and 22 years since they last reached the Final Four, but the Wildcats are once again a legitimate contender.
The Wildcats are loaded, with five players averaging double-figures in scoring through their first 20 games, led by Lithuanian forward Ąžuolas Tubelis and center Oumar Ballo.
Can coach Tommy Lloyd and the Wildcats finally exorcise the demons and cut down the nets? Can they at least get to the Final Four? Both questions remain to be answered.
But Arizona is as good a bet as any right now.
March Madness National Champion Favorites 2023
They may be national contenders like Phi Slamma Jamma were in the 80s, but these are not your father’s Cougars. They are among the best defensive teams in the country and are extremely well-coached by Kelvin Sampson.
The last non-Power Six program to win the title was UConn, which also came from the AAC (2014). But Houston should continue to be among the favorites due to Wooden Award dark-horse Marcus Sasser and its ability to grind out possessions and play well defensively.
The Crimson Tide are back in the championship mix thanks to a 12-1 stretch that included wins over Houston, Arkansas, and Missouri.
Alabama will be favored to win thanks to an elite offense and arguably the best player on the floor most nights in 6-foot-9-inch wing Brandon Miller. Miller is averaging about 20 points per game through the Tide’s first 20. Given the odds, and Nate Oats‘ ability to get the most out of his team, a sprinkle on the Tide is a worthy bet.
- Catch all of our college basketball betting tips as conference play heats up.
However, hold off betting the farm on Alabama since Oats is just 2-2 in the NCAA Tournament as Crimson Tide coach.
The Boilermakers did not let the loss of 2022 leading scorer Jaden Ivey faze them, as Edey carried them to 19 wins in their first 20 games. Freshman Fletcher Loyer picked up where Ivey left off, giving Purdue a veritable 1-2, inside-outside punch.
I am leery about Matt Painter‘s ability to navigate the NCAA Tournament since he is 17-13 in March Madness games but hasn’t advanced beyond the Elite Eight over his 13 tournament appearances. Perhaps this is the year, though.
March Madness National Championship Contenders 2023
The Bruins should be near the top of the Pac-12 standings. Coached by the venerable Mick Cronin and led by Jaime Jaquez Jr., a preseason All-American, preseason All-Pac-12 guard Tyger Campbell, and junior Jaylen Clark, the Bruins are once again formidable and should battle for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
The best development is Arizona’s solid start, which should keep UCLA’s odds profitable all regular season. Still, if UCLA keeps winning, the odds are only going to get shorter on it cutting down the nets for a record 12th time.
The defending national champions climbed to No. 2 in the nation with marquee wins over Duke and Indiana, plus a 10-game win streak between December and January.
Led by Jalen Wilson and Hall of Fame coach Bill Self, the Jayhawks have the potential to be on the 1-line on Selection Sunday if they can win the Big Twelve tournament.
No team has won the national title in consecutive seasons since Florida did so in 2006 and 2007, so be sure to consider that fact before putting your money down on Kansas.
North Carolina (+2200)
North Carolina was the preseason favorite and No. 1 team after its upstart run to the title game in 2022, but the group stumbled out of the gate. The Tar Heels started just 5-4, with a stunning four-game losing skid, and fell out of the top-25 rankings altogether.
Lest we forget the Tar Heels had an uneven start to 2021-22, going just 12-6 in their first 18 games. They weren’t in the top 25 until the final regular season rankings but went 17-4 in their final 21 games and nearly stole the title from Kansas.
With experienced players like Armando Bacot, Leaky Black, Caleb Love, and R.J. Davis, the Tar Heels are still loaded and took off in December and January with an 8-2 stretch.
Plus, with these odds — a $100 wager would fetch $2,200 in profit — a sprinkle is absolutely a worthy investment.
March Madness National Champion Sleepers 2023
The Blue Devils don’t look like a signature championship-caliber team in Jon Scheyer‘s first year as coach. But one need only remember about 10 months ago when their archrival Tar Heels rode a talented, yet underachieving roster and first-year coach all the way to the championship game.
Duke’s non-conference schedule, plus the gauntlet known as ACC play, should prep it for the NCAA Tournament. Plus, the Blue Devils have played shockingly good defense, which should be able to keep them in games against more talented teams.
The Scarlet Knights have been building to this season with an experienced and battle-tested roster that plays elite defense under coach Steve Pikiell.
Rutgers’ pedigree is nonexistent. The Scarlet Knights have reached the Final Four once in school history and have only won a single tournament game in the past 40 years. Plus, their offense is in the bottom third of the country.
Still, the Scarlet Knights’ defense will keep them in games against any opponent. They also have proven they can beat major powers, as showcased by their wins over Purdue and Indiana.
New Mexico (+10000)
New Mexico was picked to finish in the middle of the conference in the preseason yet ripped off wins in 18 of its first 20 games under coach Richard Pitino.
The Lobos have arguably the conference’s best player, Jamal Mashburn Jr., and one of the best offenses in the nation that averaged about 82 points per game through their first 20.
A $100 bet would fetch $10,000 in profit, and even a $10 wager would net $3,000. With those odds, this is certainly worth a small wager.