March Madness Betting: Odds to Win the NCAA Championship


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The Selection Committee has made their decisions and the field of 68 is set. Now that we know the bracket, the seedings and the paths, we have a clearer picture of who has a legitimate shot to win it all. The March Madness futures have also been released, so let’s take a look at the betting odds.


Examining the Favourites

Mid-majors are always fighting to get some love in the NCAA tournament and that’s the case once again in 2017. Even Gonzaga, who lost only once this season and is a No. 1 seed, is posted behind four other teams at +900.


The power conferences dominate the top of the board starting with the ACC, which sent nine programs to the NCAA Tournament. Their regular season champion, North Carolina, enters as the +700 favourite – a spot they share with conference rival, Duke. Duke is a No. 2 seed with eight losses.


On paper, the Kansas Jayhawks (+800) have the easiest path of the No. 1 seeds. Louisville is the No. 2 seed in the Midwest and has been inconsistent all season long. No. 3 seeded Oregon just lost key forward Chris Boucher for the season; he was a double-digit scorer. Beyond that, the Jayhawks’ first two games are in Kansas City, so they should have some home-court advantage.



Looking beyond the top tier of teams, there’s some good value with the West Virginia Mountaineers (+2500). They’re a No. 4 seed and, according to the Sagarin Ratings, are the fourth-best team in the country, or fifth-best if you use the Ken Pomeroy Ratings. The Mountaineers lost eight times this season, and all of the losses were by nine points or less with six of them being by six points or less.


Speaking of undervalued teams, Wichita State is eighth in the Pomeroy Ratings and is a No. 10 seed. They went 30-4 with two of the losses coming from Top 25 teams on neutral sites. Their wins came by more than 19 points on average per game; only Gonzaga, who is a No. 1 seed, had a greater average scoring margin. Wichita is also fifth in rebounding margin.


Another team that could make some early noise is Vanderbilt (+25000). A couple of weeks ago, they probably wouldn’t have made the cut, but they won seven of their final nine games to get in. Not only did they beat Florida three times this season, they played Kentucky twice, and lost by only six points both times. Vanderbilt ranks No. 15 in threes made per game and have a 7-foot-1 center that can step out and hit shots from beyond the arc. They could be a matchup problem for a number of teams if they stay hot.


*Odds as of March 13, 2017