Last Updated Dec 05, 2022, 1:22 PM
March Madness Opening Odds Report
US Sports Betting Industry Expert
March Madness odds have been on the board for months, and with the season almost here, interest is starting to pick up. The NCAA Tournament's ever-expanding popularity makes college basketball national championship odds attractive to bettors of all stripes.
There's a logjam atop WynnBet's board, with Gonzaga, Houston and North Carolina the +1000 co-favorites in odds to win the NCAA Tournament. Defending national champion Kansas is lurking. But plenty more teams are in the mix and certainly worth a look.
WynnBet junior trader Caden Wickwire provides his insights on college basketball championship odds and action.
Gonzaga is a staple at or near the top of the NCAA Tournament odds board, and this year is no different. Blueblood North Carolina is no stranger to short odds, either, and in fact reached the championship game in the 2021-22 NCAA Tournament. The Tar Heels fell just short to Kansas, 72-69. Houston has been steadily rising the past few years, reaching the 2020-21 Final Four and the 2021-22 Elite Eight.
Although those three teams are the favorites, it's another blueblood nabbing early money at WynnBet.
"The team we have been seeing get most of the action to this point has been Kentucky," Wickwire said. "It's understandable, considering the disappointing finish to last season and the fact that they have the reigning national player of the year returning in Oscar Tshiebwe."
Last season, Kentucky was a No. 2 seed in the Big Dance, but became the first victim of March Madness darling St. Peter's. The 15th-seeded Peacocks knocked out the Wildcats 85-79 in overtime.
"The last time we saw an early-round exit like Kentucky had last season was Virginia in 2018, and we all know how well the Cavaliers responded the following year," Wickwire said.
In 2018, Virginia became the first No. 1 seed ever to lose in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The Cavs got run out of the gym by Maryland-Baltimore County, losing 74-54. But in the 2019 NCAA Tourney, Virginia ran the table, winning the title game 85-77 in overtime against Texas Tech.
Tshiebwe and Kentucky would love to pull a similar feat this season. Kentucky opened in late July as the +1200 fourth choice at WynnBet, and the Wildcats remain +1200.
Ticket Takers and Money Makers
To Wickwire's point on early action, Kentucky is taking the most tickets and money thus far in WynnBet's March Madness odds market. UConn, Texas and North Carolina are tied for second in tickets, with Duke next in line.
Duke, per usual, is among the favorites as the +1500 co-fifth choice, joined by defending champ Kansas, 2021 national champ Baylor, Arkansas and UCLA.
Following Kentucky in money is North Carolina, while No. 3 on the money list is a bit of a surprise: Indiana. The Hoosiers landed one of the final bids into the 2021-22 NCAA Tournament, having to survive a First Four play-in game by beating Wyoming. Indiana then lost to St. Mary's in the first round.
Still, coach Mike Woodson – in his first year at Indiana – guided the team to a nine-win improvement from the 2020-21 season, and some early bettors took notice for the upcoming season. Indiana is +4000 at WynnBet.
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Under the Radar
There's nothing better in the preseason/early season than finding a hidden gem or two on the college basketball national championship odds board. Wickwire noted one such team that's coming off a couple of good games in last season's NCAA Tournament.
“TCU is a program that we haven't seen make much noise in college hoops in a long time, and that may change this year," Wickwire said. "For a team that finished eighth in the Big 12 [last season], the Horned Frogs have high aspirations coming into the 2022-23 season. They return 89% of their scoring and finished last season on a high note, putting forth an effort that was nearly good enough to knock off No. 1 seed Arizona in the tournament.”
Indeed, the ninth-seeded Horned Frogs opened March Madness with an 89-62 rout of No. 8 seed Seton Hall. In the second round, TCU dragged Arizona to overtime before succumbing 85-80.
The Horned Frogs are +6000 in odds to win March Madness.