March Madness Odds: Zags, Cougs Top Board

The road to March Madness is in motion and oddsmakers have the usual suspects — Gonzaga and Houston — atop the board to win the National Championship with the UNC Tar Heels not far behind.

Last Updated: Jan 30, 2023 9:39 AM ET Read Time: 6 min
Drew Timme Gonzaga Bulldogs March Madness
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

With under two months remaining until March Madness, the college basketball regular season is in full swing. 

College basketball odds have installed the defending champion Kansas Jayhawks as one of the March Madness odds favorites, but they actually sit behind a couple of other programs, including the Gonzaga Bulldogs, with Drew Timme back in the fold.

Find out who else is in the mix to win the 2023 NCAA Men's Basketball National Championship as the new season is already underway.

Notable favorites to win the 2023 National Championship

Houston Cougars (+900)

The Houston Cougars put the nation on notice in last season's tournament, decimating teams as a No. 5 seed before eventually falling to Villanova in the Elite Eight. They did this while missing their two best players in Marcus Sasser and Traon Mark, who were both injured during the season. This tournament is coming off the heels of their Final Four appearance, before falling to Baylor that year.

The No. 3 Cougars are currently 18-2 on the season, with five-star recruit Jarace Walker now complimenting a healthy Sasser and Mark. It's no surprise why this team is at the top of the odds board.

Gonzaga Bulldogs (+900)

The program just refuses to die. After another disappointing season that saw the Bulldogs lose in the Sweet 16, it didn't look like the program had much direction with the losses of Drew Timme and Chet Holmgren looming over the team.

However, Timme eventually announced he was pulling from the NBA Draft. The Zags have won nine out of their last 10 games and have more than enough firepower to have one more run at capturing the NCAA Championship.

North Carolina Tar Heels (+1,200)

The dream run just wasn't meant to be for the No. 8-seeded North Carolina Tar Heels last year, who squandered a 15-point halftime lead to Kansas in the National Championship game. 

However, with the return of leading scorer and rebounder Armando Bacot — as well as starters Leaky Black, Caleb Love, and RJ Davis — this team is poised to make another deep tournament run.

The Tar Heels won five in a row to begin the 2022 regular season before dropping close games to Iowa State and Alabama. While North Carolina isn't currently ranked in the AP Top 25, the program has won four straight and remains among the best in the ACC.

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March Madness line movement

See the line movement for how this year's March Madness teams started and ended from last April. Tap the team logos or lines (mouse over on desktop) to isolate individual teams.

Where can I bet on March Madness?

March Madness is one of the busiest times of the year for online sportsbooks and is very popular with bettors. Every betting site will offer March Madness odds, but the best sites are safe and secure, offer a wide range of banking options, and give you a ton of markets for each game. Check out the best March Madness betting sites in your region.

Understanding March Madness futures odds

Sportsbooks will post odds for the NCAA men's basketball championship as early as the summer before the season starts. These odds are constantly adjusted throughout the offseason as players get hurt, suspended or are traded. Once the season begins in November, title odds will change as often as daily as teams win and lose games and as players get hurt or suspended. Sportsbooks will also adjust the March Madness futures odds based on handle and liability to certain teams.

March Madness futures odds will usually look like this:

  • Gonzaga Bulldogs +375

This means that on a $100 bet, you'll stand to win $375 if the Bulldogs win the NCAA men's basketball title. If it's close to the end of the regular season or even during the tournament and college basketball has a very dominant team, you might see that a team is has a minus sign (-) ahead of its odds. 

  • Gonzaga Bulldogs -120

This means that you would need to bet $120 to win $100 on a Gonzaga championship.

Above we have posted the American odds for March Madness futures. However, these are easy to convert to decimal odds or fractional odds with our odds converter tool.

How to bet college basketball futures

Learning how to successfully bet on March Madness is one of the hardest things to do in sports betting. The lose-and-go-home format and the fact that a school needs to win six straight games against quality opponents means that the favorites don't always take home the title.

Another factor that comes into play is that the tournament bracket isn't set until Selection Sunday. As the college basketball season winds down, you can be pretty sure that the big favorites will slide into the bracket as top seeds. But for teams in the middle of the pack, nothing is certain.

As always when betting futures odds, be sure to look into injuries and suspensions. You might find some current value in a team that is expecting to get a key player back before March Madness begins.

Where to bet on March Madness

If you're in a state that allows mobile, or online betting, make sure you know which sites are the best March Madness betting sites. Great betting sites offer sharp odds, quick payouts and are safe and secure when it comes to depositing and withdrawing your money.

Past March Madness champions

Year Champion Runner-Up
2012 Kentucky Kansas
2013 Louisville* Michigan
2014 Connecticut Kentucky
2015 Duke Wisconsin
2016 Villanova North Carolina
2017 North Carolina Gonzaga
2018 Villanova Michigan
2019 Virginia Texas Tech
2020 COVID-19 COVID-19
2021 Baylor Gonzaga
2022 Kansas North Carolina

March Madness trends

• Of the 20 teams that have entered the tournament with undefeated records, only seven have gone on to win the national championship.

• Only 13 teams have successfully defended their national championship the following season.

• UCLA has the most NCAA titles of all-time (11), although the Bruins have not won the tournament since 1995.

• A No. 1 seeded team has won the national championship 62% of the time since regional seeding was introduced in 1979.

March Madness Title Odds FAQs

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