March Madness Odds and Action Report

2023 NCAA Tournament Picks
Odds | Matchups | Futures
Sweet 16 | Elite 8 | Final 4 | Championship 

March Madness odds have been on the board for months, and with the season lurching toward March, interest is starting to pick up. NCAA Tournament odds are attractive to bettors of all stripes, with everyone fascinated by the 64-team event.

Perhaps surprisingly, Houston and Alabama are right at the top of the NCAA Tournament odds board. Perhaps just as surprising, Duke and North Carolina are way off the pace.

BetMGM sports trader Seamus Magee provides his insights on college basketball championship odds and action.

2022-23 March Madness Odds

Roll Tide

Mark Sears' Alabama squad is surging up the March Madness odds board. (Getty)

When BetMGM first posted its odds to win the NCAA Tournament, Alabama was hardly buried at +2500, but it was a bit under the radar. When the calendar flipped to 2023, the Crimson Tide were still 25/1. But less than two weeks later, 'Bama was at +1400.

Now, in mid-February, Alabama is all the way into +800, the co-second choice with Purdue, trailing only +600 favorite Houston. Heading into a Feb. 15 clash at Tennessee, the Crimson Tide are ranked No. 1 in the nation at 22-3 SU – and BTW, a not-too-shabby 15-9-1 ATS. 'Bama is 13-1 SU (10-4 ATS) in its last 14 games.

"I’ve liked Alabama all year. I think Nate Oats is one of the five best coaches in the country, and this team is more than capable of winning the whole thing this year," Magee said, while noting he wouldn't mind an Alabama run in the NCAA Tourney. "Alabama is a really good winner for us."

Updated on 05/18/2024
Bonus Code VIBONUS1600 Claim Now

Many Finer Than Carolina – and Duke

Armando Bacot and North Carolina have significantly slipped down the odds board. (Getty)

What's happened to bluebloods North Carolina and Duke? The ACC standouts were ranked Nos. 1 and 7, respectively, in the preseason. The Tar Heels reached the NCAA championship game last season, falling to Kansas 72-69. The Blue Devils reached the Final Four before losing to archrival Carolina 81-77.

Yet both teams are alarmingly far down the odds board for this time of the year. North Carolina (16-10 SU) is +4000, looking up at 18 teams, while Duke (18-8) is even longer at +5000.

As of Feb. 15, the Tar Heels are in a 1-4 SU rut, and the Blue Devils are a middling 5-4 SU in their last nine games. Magee is unconvinced that Carolina is any better than its record.

"I’ve tried at various times throughout the year to have us further out on UNC, in particular. They got all the hype for their Final Four run and having everyone back, but I think people seemed to forget that this team was a No. 8 seed a year ago," Magee said. "Then they get released No. 1 in the AP poll, and the hype only got bigger. But I’ve personally never been a huge fan of this team. I wouldn’t mind seeing them in the tournament, though, because it would cause some more buzz, regardless of the opponent.

"Duke, on the other hand, I’m a little surprised here. It was a loaded class coming in, with a couple key players back. I thought it would take some time for them to gel, but lately, they aren’t doing themselves any favors. Duke and UNC are 3-16 combined in Quad 1 games. I can’t picture both of them missing the tournament, but the tournament would certainly have a different feel if Tobacco Road wasn’t represented."

Ticket Takers and Money Makers

Houston coach Kelvin Sampson has his team atop the March Madness odds board. (Getty)

Defending national champion Kansas is taking the most tickets in BetMGM's March Madness odds market. The Jayhawks are the +1300 co-fifth choice alongside UCLA. Houston is No. 2 in the ticket count, followed by Purdue.

The Cougars lead the money count, with flagging North Carolina No. 2 and Purdue No. 3. But among those teams and all others, there's still only one outfit BetMGM hopes to dodge on the NCAA Tournament odds board: Houston. And that's because Jim "Mattress Mack" McIngvale put $500,000 on the Cougars +1000 at BetMGM in November.

"With Mattress Mack's Houston bet still on the books, it's still Mack," Magee said.

Beyond BetMGM, McIngvale has $1 million on Houston +900 at DraftKings and $500,000 on Houston +900 at Barstool Sportsbook.

Magee noted two teams trending at BetMGM over the past few weeks, and no surprise, one of them is the aforementioned Crimson Tide.

"Alabama has easily seen the most action come their way on the national title odds. The nice little No. 1 ranking in the latest AP poll probably aided that steam a little bit," Magee said. "Baylor is another team everyone is starting to take notice of as well. Since starting 0-3 [in Big 12 play], the Bears only lost once in 11 games, and the betting action has followed."

Indeed, Baylor is on a 10-1 SU run as of Feb. 15.

"Both Alabama and Baylor still are good winners for the book," Magee said.

Flying Under the Radar

Drew Timme and Gonzaga might be worth a look now at +2500. (Getty)

Gonzaga is a perennial contender in the March Madness odds market and perhaps will be again when all is said and done this year. But the Bulldogs, who opened as the +1200 co-fourth choice at BetMGM, are now at their longest odds of the season as the +2500 co-11th choice.

And that piques Magee's interest.

"When do you think was the last time you saw Gonzaga’s odds to win the whole thing this high?" Magee queried. "I know people may roll their eyes at this one, but there are only a couple teams you could argue who run a better offense in the country than Gonzaga. I’ve seen odds as high as 40/1 in New Jersey.

"Mark Few may not have a ring yet, but only [Kansas'] Bill Self has won more games in March Madness than Mark Few since 2010. If the defensive effort can get better, this is a great buy-low spot for the Bulldogs, in my opinion."

Another team Magee is intrigued by at the moment is Indiana. Entering their Feb. 15 game at Northwestern, the Hoosiers were on an 8-1 SU run that included a victory over Purdue.

"They are no longer under the radar, but I think Indiana is starting to look more and more like a team that can make a run," Magee said. "The Hoosiers are red-hot and are starting to get healthy again. They hit 3s and can play rock-solid defense. They're going to be a very difficult team to beat in March."

Indiana opened +6600 following last year's NCAA Tournament and is now into +2500, joining the Zags and Virginia as the co-11th choice.

For more VegasInsider resources, check out our NCAAB Odds and College Basketball Futures Odds pages!