2024 March Madness Odds

Thomas Snodgrass

Updated: Feb 21, 2024

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Selection Sunday is quickly approaching, so teams are making their late season push to get into this year’s NCAA Basketball tournament.

Sometimes, those teams that just squeeze into the bracket are responsible for the most madness in the month of March.

For only the second time in the 84-year history of the March Madness tournament, a #16 seed defeated a #1 seed last year, with Fairleigh Dickinson knocking off Purdue.

The upsets were not done there.

For the third consecutive year, we watched a #15 seed take down a #2 seed, with Princeton edging out Arizona.

In fact, the madness carried into the Final Four in 2023, with the last four programs remaining being #9-seed Florida Atlantic, #5 seeds San Diego St and Miami, #4-seed UConn.

Sometimes, it’s best for bettors to look outside the top-ranked teams to find some interesting values in the NCAA Basketball bracket.

Let’s pinpoint some clubs that can make the Final Four and provide some madness.

NCAA Basketball Final Four Odds

Marquette Golden Eagles – To Make Final Four (+575) BetMGM

The 19-6 Golden Eagles are primed to make some noise this March, and much of that has to do with the experience from their current group, led by senior guard Tyler Kolek.

Marquette’s solid on both ends of the floor, ranking just about 50th in both offensive and defensive efficiency, and according to the KenPom rankings, the Golden Eagles are 23rd in adjusted offense and 15th in adjusted defense.

Playing in one of NCAA Basketball’s most competitive conferences, the Big East, Marquette has held up strong in the face of stiff competition, but they’ve also picked up wins in non-conference matchups over then-No. 23 Illinois, then No. 1 Kansas, and then-No. 12 Texas.

The Golden Eagles are 10-4 in Big East play and they will round out their season with contests against No. 15 Creighton and No. 1 UConn right before tourney time.

This Marquette team will be well-tested right when the bracket kicks off.

Duke Blue Devils – To Make Final Four (+750) Caesars

Considering that the Connecticut Huskies are +500 on most sportsbooks to win the National Championship again, I’m digging Duke’s odds of making the Final Four, which are greater than UConn’s chances of taking the whole thing.

Replacing a legend at head coach like Mike Krzyzewski is a tall task, so Jon Scheyer is going to need his club to make a tournament run in his first year with the Blue Devils’ clipboard in hand.

Duke’s center Kyle Filipowski may be the second-best center in the NCAA, behind Zach Edey of Purdue, but he is the focus for Scheyer’s starting five, averaging a team high 17.0 points per game.

The Blue Devil’s backcourt features a trio of solid contributors in Jeremy Roach (14.0 ppg), Jared McCain (13.8 ppg), and Tyrese Proctor (10.0 ppg).

Throw in forward Mark Mitchell (12.9 ppg) and Scheyer has a starting five with five individuals capable of posting 20 points in any contest.

KenPom ranks Duke as the 12th-best program in adjusted offense and 25th in adjusted defense, so this club is more than just buckets.

The Blue Devils also move the ball around well, averaging just 9.8 turnovers per game, tied for 21st in NCAA and ranking 14th in offensive efficiency.

Last season, Duke was 46th in offensive efficiency and 130th in turnovers, so maybe Scheyer figured something out that Coach K couldn’t.

Less mistakes should lead to a better finish in the tournament. 

Kentucky Wildcats – To Make Final Four (+700) bet365

The one thing that could hold back Kentucky is their borderline non-existent defense.

The Wildcats have allowed 77.4 points per game, which is 304th in the NCAA, and they’re ranked 82nd in defensive efficiency at KenPom and 135th in defensive efficiency.

A couple of hot shooters will be needed for Kentucky to squeeze into the Final Four.

Antonio Reeves (19.5 ppg) is the Wildcats’ leading scorer, and he’s averaging 20.3 in conference play.

The senior guard will need to keep firing around 50% once the tourney begins.

In Kentucky’s second round exit in 2023 against Kansas State, Reeves was just 1-of-15 shooting, with 1-of-10 shooting from beyond the arc.

A more composed Reeves will be needed in 2024.

In some circles, it is said “that the best defense is a good offense”, and this couldn’t be more true for John Calipari’s team.

The Wildcats have not been to a Final Four since 2015, and this may not be the team to end that drought.

Creighton Blue Jays – To Make Final Four (+800) bet365

The Creighton Blue Jays recently defeated the No. 1 UConn Huskies by 19 points and that win certainly got bettors to take a deeper look at this Final Four hopeful.

For those that may have forgotten, Creighton just narrowly missed the Final Four in 2023, losing in the Elite Eight to the San Diego State Aztecs by a costly free throw.

The Blue Jays big frontcourt duo of Ryan Kalkbrenner (17.1 ppg, 7.3 rpg) and Baylor Scheierman (18.4 ppg, 8.7 rpg) have been a terror in the Big East, and the maturation of guard Trey Alexander (17.1 ppg, 6.0 rpg) has been the cherry on top for this electric trio.

Creighton is ranked 11th in offensive efficiency and they rank third in effective field goal percentage (58%).

The Blue Jays are a smart club that knows how and when to take the best shot.

KenPom has Creighton ranked 24th in adjusted defense, and holding the No. 1 team in the country to 66 points and less than 50% shooting is a prime example of the potential of this defense.

The Blue Jays were burned by a free throw last season, and they’re looking to fix that in 2024.

Creighton has decent odds to make the Final Four, but I certainly wouldn’t qualify them as a ‘sleeper’ to make the Final Four.

Let’s take a look at a couple teams that are sleepers to make a deep run in the tournament.

NCAA Basketball Final Four Sleepers

Saint Mary’s Gaels – To Make Final Four (+1800) Caesars

The Saint Mary’s Gaels are 22-6, and that record is after their 3-5 start in the first eight games.

Currently in the midst of a 14-game winning streak that dates back to December 29th, 2023, the Gaels have put the West Coast Conference on notice, going 13-0 in conference play.

The WCC is no longer dominated by Gonzaga!

Saint Mary’s slow-tempo offense has been efficient, as they rank 357th in adjusted tempo at KenPom but still a respectable 42nd ranking in offensive efficiency.

It’s the Gaels’ smothering defense that has carried this team.

Saint Mary’s is 12th in adjusted defense in the KenPom rankings, 2nd in defensive efficiency (behind only Houston), and they are allowing just 59.1 points per game, which is third-best in NCAA.

At +1800, the Gaels’ top-notch defense makes an interesting wager for the Final Four.

New Mexico Lobos – To Make Final Four (+2800) FanDuel

The Mountain West Conference has quietly been one of the best conferences in College Basketball this season, with five teams in the conference currently with 20 wins or more, the most of any conference.

The Mountain West Conference tourney should be entertaining.

One team I like to win the conference and make a deep run in March Madness is the New Mexico Lobos.

New Mexico has cooled off after a strong start to the season, losing three of their last five, but they’ve already pulled off big wins over conference foes, beating then No. 19 San Diego State by 18-points and then-No. 16 Utah State by 13-points.

The Lobos’ offense has the ability to take over a game and overwhelm opposing defenses.

Ranked 31st in adjusted offense at KenPom, 36th in offensive efficiency, and 12th in points per game (83.4), New Mexico’s offense could get hot in the tournament and boost this club to a surprisingly deep tournament run.

The Lobos’ trio of guards, Jaelen House (15.9 ppg), Donovan Dent (15.4 ppg), and Jamal Mashburn (14.6 ppg) have been tough to slow down, especially with New Mexico’s high-paced offense ranking sixth in adjusted tempo.

With the 29th best defensive efficiency, the Lobos are not a simple one-sided squad.

On both sides of the ball, New Mexico is the best team in the Mountain West, and in 2024, that says a lot about the quality of this team.

Shopping For Final Four Odds

TeamBetMGMCaesarsbet365FanDuel
Marquette+575+550+500+550
Duke+575+700+600+500
Kentucky+525+500+700+650
Creighton+700+750+800+600
St. Mary’s+1800+1800+1600+1800
New Mexico+1600+2000+2000+2800

The difference for Final Four odds among some teams is wild from one book to the next.

A $10 bettor would win $160 on BetMGM if New Mexico were to make the Final Four, but that same bettor could have made $280 placing the same wager on FanDuel.

It would certainly sting knowing that you’ve left $120 on the table, so don’t make that mistake and shop around for the best odds!

March Madness Betting Odds Explained

Every year, the NCAA hosts a tournament for the 68 best teams in the country, with the winner of the March Madness tournament being declared the National Champion.

The 68 teams invited to the tournament are divided into four divisions called regions. (North, South, East, West)

Each of these regions will play elimination games until one team is declared the winner of their region. The four remaining teams are the four teams who make up the NCAA Final Four.

A team can gain entry into the March Madness tournament in two ways. Thirty-two spots are automatically awarded to the 32 conference champions.

The remaining seeds are awarded at the discretion of the tournament committee.

When the teams are selected for the tournament, they are ranked or seeded between 1 and 16.

These seeds or rankings determine which teams play each other.

The #1 ranked team in each region will play the #16 ranked seed.

#2 plays #15, and that format continues for all eight first-round games.

March Madness Key Betting Stats

The March Madness tournament is divided into four regions, each consisting of 16 teams.

These teams are ranked 1 through 16, with rankings determining who your opponent will be.

Let’s look at how these matchups have played out historically.

MatchupRecord Last 6 Years2023 Tournament
#1 seed vs #16 seed#1 seed is 26-23-1
#2 seed vs #15 seed#2 seed is 24-43-1
#3 seed vs. #14 seed#3 seed is 26-24-0
#4 seed vs. #13 seed#4 seed is 21-73-1
#5 seed vs. #12 seed#5 seed is 19-94-0
#6 seed vs. #11 seed**#6 seed is 13-153-1
#7 seed vs. #10 seed#7 seed is 17-113-1
#8 seed vs. #9 seed**#8 seed is 11-172-2

Interestingly, over the last six years, the #6 and #8 seeds, who should be the betting favorite in their first-round games, are below .500 in the previous six years.

What Is March Madness Bracket Betting?

Many of us are familiar with traditional basketball-type bets, such as point spreads, moneylines and totals, also referred to as over/unders bets.

However, the NCAA March Madness tournament is an opportunity to dive into what is known as bracket betting.

College hoops fans are trying to fill out the winner of all 63 tournament games before the Madness even begins.

Only first-round matchups are known when you fill out a bracket, and it is up to you to predict how all of the remaining games will play out.

The odds of filling out a perfect bracket are astronomical, and the rewards offered for a perfect bracket are often very steep.

Filling out brackets is by far the most popular way for recreational and novice fans to bet on the tournament.

Points are awarded for each game a person gets correct, and the bettor with the most points overall is declared the winner.

Popular March Madness Bets

In a big betting event like March Madness, you will find many different options when you log into the online sportsbooks of your choice.

The sportsbooks understand this is a very popular time of year for bettors, and you can find many different bonus options like the BetMGM bet 10 win 200.

Here, we will detail the most popular March Madness betting types.

Point Spreads

The spread is the most popular form of betting for basketball.

A point spread is a handicap given by the oddsmakers to both teams.

The team expected to win the game will have to win by a certain amount of points to cover the point spread and win the bet.

Sportsbooks set a point spread for each game, and bettors must decide if they want to pick their favorite team to win by more than that number. 

If a spread is set at -5 points, and the favorite wins the game 70-66, then they have failed to cover the -5-point spread, making the underdog team the winner of the bet.

Totals (O/U)

Totals betting is also commonly referred to as Over/Under betting.

Sportsbooks will set a total for the number of points both teams will combine to score in a game.

A bettor then has to decide if the two teams will combine to score more or less points than the total set by the ‘books.

If you think they will combine to score more than the total, you are taking the Over.

Of course, if you believe the opposite, you are betting on the Under.

Moneylines

Moneyline betting is maybe the simplest form of gambling available.

There is no point spread to worrying about moneyline betting. 

The only decision a bettor needs to make is who will win the game outright.

Where things get a little bit tricky for moneyline bettors is dealing with the odds assigned to each team.

Favorites are given negative odds, meaning you are not betting a dollar-for-dollar scenario.

The most difficult challenge for recreational bettors is to pick underdogs and bet against the favorites, regardless of the odds assigned to each team.

Futures

You can bet on who wins the March Madness tournament well before the big dance begins.

Of course, as the tournament plays out, a bettor can still wager who the eventual champion will be.

Obviously, as teams advance and go deeper into the tournament, their odds begin to drop significantly. The key to Futures betting is identifying great teams before they go on a run.

Player Prop Betting

March Madness player prop bets have nothing to do with a game’s outcome or the final score.

Player props are centered around individual player performance. Instead of betting on which team will win the game or cover the spread, a bettor can look at placing wagers on how many points, assists, rebounds, etc., a player will have during a game.

Player prop betting is an excellent alternative for those who want some action on a game but aren’t overly familiar with the teams playing or don’t have a feel for who might win.

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About the author

A fan of both the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers, which is rare! Thomas provides sports betting content with the intent to educate and en...

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