For the fifth time in school history, the University of Connecticut is the men’s basketball Division 1 national champion.
The Huskies capped one of the most dominant NCAA Tournament runs in the event’s history with a 76-59 win over San Diego State for their sixth double-digit victory. UConn’s title, its fifth in the past 25 years, affirms its status as one of the elite programs in men’s basketball — the Huskies are a bonafide blue blood.
The infamous transfer portal will undoubtedly wreak havoc on rosters, but here’s a look at the favorites to cut down the nets at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. on April 8, 2024.
March Madness National Championship Betting Odds
All college basketball odds are current as of Tuesday, April 4, and courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.
- Duke (+1000)
- Kentucky (+1200)
- Connecticut (+1400)
- Kansas (+1600)
- Marquette (+1600)
- Purdue (+1800)
- Alabama (+2000)
- Arizona (+2000)
- Michigan State (+2000)
- North Carolina (+2000)
- Arkansas (+2200)
- Creighton (+2200)
- Houston (+2200)
- Gonzaga (+2500)
- Texas (+2500)
- UCLA (+2500)
- Baylor (+2800)
- Tennessee (+2800)
- USC (+2800)
- Miami (+3000)
The Huskies have the third-shortest odds but the target is clearly on coach Dan Hurley‘s team’s back. Florida, then coached by Billy Donovan, was the last team to repeat as national champion, and no reigning champion has even reached the tournament’s second weekend since Duke in 2016.
The Blue Devils are the favorite in Jon Scheyer‘s second full season as coach, followed by John Calipari and Kentucky. Both teams got hot in the second half of the regular season, yet each was knocked out in the second round in its respective region.
Shaka Smart and Marquette, the last team to defeat UConn when it did so in the Big East Tournament, follow those three, sharing the fourth-shortest odds with 2022 champion Kansas. The Jayhawks did not have coach Bill Self for their final five games as he was treated for a heart condition.
March Madness National Championship Favorites
Duke (+1000) • DraftKings Sportsbook
When in doubt, it’s Duke. The Blue Devils were always destined to struggle in 2022-23 given the transition from coach Mike Krzyzewski to Scheyer and after losing four players to the first round of the 2022 NBA Draft, headlined by top pick Paolo Banchero.
But Scheyer appeared to get his feet under him during the second half, where the Blue Devils won 10 of their final 11 games including their upstart run to the ACC Tournament championship. Despite likely losing at least three players to the NBA Draft, including leading scorer Kyle Filipowski, Duke has a slew of five-star freshman recruits coming in and could return rising-senior Jeremy Roach, along with others from its rotation.
The Blue Devils will also undoubtedly be active in the transfer portal since there are fewer questions about the program given Scheyer’s successful first season. Duke hasn’t won it all since 2015, and it may not again in 2024, but it is a worthy favorite.
Kentucky (+1200) • DraftKings Sportsbook
Wildcats fans were in dire straits during their team’s uninspiring 10-6 start on the heels of their first-round flameout in the 2022 tournament. But Calipari and co. righted the ship, closing the season with 11 wins over their final 15 regular-season games then the program’s first NCAA Tournament win since 2019.
- Catch all of our college basketball betting tips as we move close out the 2023 NCAA Tournament.
Kentucky will lose 2022 National Player of the Year and 2023 leading scorer Oscar Tshiebwe to the NBA Draft but like many others should be active in the transfer portal given that’s where it landed Tshiebwe from West Virginia in 2021.
There are concerns about Calipari’s postseason coaching ability, but the Wildcats should be near the top of the preseason rankings for 2023-24.
UConn (+1400) • DraftKings Sportsbook
Not only did the Huskies dominate through most of the regular season and NCAA Tournament, but there’s a chance much of their roster will return intact. Rising junior guard Jordan Hawkins is likely to declare for the NBA Draft, but forward Adama Sanogo, the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player, still has a season of eligibility, as does guard and third-leading scorer Tristen Newton, due to COVID-19.
UConn’s defensive length and rebounding, plus its inside-outside scoring, was a big part of its postseason dominance and could transform the college game in the age of outside shooting. Still, we’ll see what the Huskies can do for an encore given the fact they’ve never gotten beyond the second round of NCAAs in the season after winning it all.
March Madness National Champion Contenders 2024
Kansas (+1600) • DraftKings Sportsbook
Despite losing its top-two scorers to the NBA, Kansas won the Big 12 and earned a No. 1 seed for the second straight season. Self’s hospitalization undoubtedly affected the Jayhawks in their stunning 72-71 loss to Arkansas in the second round where they were outscored 38-25 over the final 15-plus minutes.
Still, with Self likely to return at full strength, the Jayhawks will undoubtedly be formidable again, especially if leading scorer and conference player of the year Jalen Wilson returns for his senior season.
Purdue (+1800) • DraftKings Sportsbook
The Boilermakers ran roughshod over the Big 10 before making history with their first-round tournament loss to No. 16 seed Fairleigh Dickinson. Still, it’s possible they’ll have their entire rotation back, including 7-4 center and Naismith National Player of the Year Zach Edey for his senior season given his questionable draft marks and continued development.
There are legitimate concerns about coach Matt Painter‘s ability to game plan against smaller schools, given the fact the Boilermakers have lost to a double-digit seed in three straight tournaments. But if you’re looking to bet on a first-time national champion, this would be the one to target.
North Carolina (+2000) • DraftKings Sportsbook
After their Cinderella tournament run crashed in their close loss to Kansas in the 2022 national-title game, the Tar Heels had a season to forget in 2022-23. North Carolina muddled through a season-long malaise, becoming the first preseason No. 1 to miss the NCAA Tournament since the field expanded to 64 teams in 1985.
Still, Hubert Davis will have another star-studded lineup to roll out in 2023-24, led by forward and UNC all-time leading rebounder Armando Bacot, who will take advantage of his COVID-19 eligibility year. Bacot will likely join guard R.J. Davis to lead the Heels, who will lose outgoing senior Leaky Black and Caleb Love in the transfer portal.
Can Davis get the most out of his team after the lost season? You can bet UNC will be active in the transfer portal, and the roster is seasoned — it was 20 minutes from a championship in 2022, leading Kansas by 15 — which means there’s a strong possibility, especially at these odds.
March Madness National Champion Sleepers 2024
Miami (+3000) • DraftKings Sportsbook
The Hurricanes ran into a buzzsaw in UConn in the Final Four but appear to be on the path to continued national prominence under coach Jim Larrañaga. Miami won the ACC regular season and finished in the top 10 nationally for the second straight season, and could lose just second-leading scorer Jordan Miller if ACC Player of the Year Isaiah Wong returns for his senior season.
The ACC should be better, since Duke, UNC, and Virginia won’t likely stay down long, and these odds will lengthen drastically if Wong enters the draft, as he initially did in 2022. But Miami went from Elite 8 to Final Four from 2022-23, and there’s really only one more step up for Larrañaga and his group.
Florida Atlantic (+5000) • DraftKings Sportsbook
You can bet major programs will be sniffing around Boca Raton trying to lure some of the Owls’ best players via the transfer portal, but they are only slated to lose one senior from the team that went 35-4 and came seconds away from the national-championship game.
But if coach Dusty May can at least retain leading scorers and breakout tournament stars Johnell Davis, Alijah Martin, and 7-footer Vladislav Goldin, FAU will have all the talent to once again get back to the tournament from Conference USA. A lot broke right for the Owls to reach the Final Four, but they’ll be talented, hungry, and seasoned, which is a dangerous combination, especially at these odds.
Ohio State (+5500) • DraftKings Sportsbook
The Buckeyes missed the NCAA Tournament for the first time in coach Chris Holtmann‘s six-season tenure yet nearly played their way into the field by advancing to the Big Ten semifinals before falling to Purdue.
But Holtmann has already landed three four-star freshmen that are likely to return the Buckeyes to the tournament in 2024. These odds will plummet if Holtmann can get star five-star recruit Bronny James to come to Columbus for 2023-24.
Holtmann has only coached past the NCAA Tournament’s first weekend once, with Butler in 2015, which makes his pedigree a legitimate concern. But Ohio State should be a tournament team in 2024 with or without James, and if it has him, the championship will be the goal.