March Madness Odds 2024: UConn Opens as Favorite but Consider These Longshots, Value Picks

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As the national championship hunt ends for the 2022-23 college basketball season, a new hunt begins. Sportsbooks wasted no time opening 2024 March Madness odds with the defending champions as the betting favorites at most shops, but not all.

But if UConn winning the program’s fifth national championship teaches bettors anything, it’s this: preseason longshots should not get overlooked.

Odds of Winning 2024 NCAA Tournament

Let’s look at the March Madness odds for the top-25 teams at some of the top sports betting apps in the country:

TeamFanDuelCaesars: Code 'TODAYFULL'BetMGM: Promo Code TODAYDraftKings
UConn+1100+1200+1100+1400
Duke+1300+1500+1300+1000
Kentucky+1500+1800+1400+1200
Arizona+1500+2000+1600+2000
Alabama+1500+2500+1400+2000
Purdue+1600+2200+1600+1800
Marquette+2000+2500+2000+1600
Michigan State+2000+4000+2500+2000
Creighton+2000+3000+2500+2200
North Carolina+2400+4000+2500+2000
Kansas+2500+1500+2200+1600
Houston+2500+2200+2200+2200
Arkansas+2500+4000+2500+2200
UCLA+2500+1800+2200+2500
Gonzaga+2500+4000+2200+2500
Miami (FL)+3000+3000+3000+3000
FAU+3000+7000+3300+5000
Texas+3400+4000+3300+2500
Tennessee+3500+4000+3300+2800
TCU+3500+5000+3300+4500
USC+4500+10000+4000+2800
Baylor+4500+4000+4000+2800
Auburn+4500+6000+4000+5500
Maryland+4500+7000+6600+7000
Ohio State+4500+15000+5000+5500

It seems only right that the defending champion Huskies open as the betting favorite. After all, you have to beat the best to be the best. Until someone beats them, the Huskies are the best team in the nation. But as you can see in the opening odds, college basketball’s “blue bloods” get a ton of respect.

UConn players celebrate after winning the men’s national championship game against San Diego State in the 2023 NCAA Tournament, and they have opened as the betting favorite to win the 2024 NCAAM Championship. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Duke had a 27-9 record last season and didn’t make it past the first weekend. But the Blue Devils were also in the first season of the post-Coach K Era. After being coached by one person for so long, fans expected growing pains.

Read More: Best College Basketball Betting Sites

But by the time the regular season began to wind down, they got it together enough to enter March Madness as a legit contender in the eyes of many. Take away the growing pains and add a talented recruiting class, and maybe Duke can regain its perch on top of the college basketball world.

Kentucky’s early exit from the Tournament was disappointing, but if college basketball bettors know anything, it is never to count the Wildcats out. With an incoming recruiting class that contains four of the top 10 players in the nation, Kentucky could make the jump in 2024.

If anyone can rebuild/reload quickly and become a contender next season, it would be one of the blue bloods. But history has shown us one thing: never overlook a long shot.

2024 March Madness Odds Openers: Longshots, Value Picks

Anyone who bet on UConn at BetMGM in early November when the Huskies’ March Madness odds were +8000 was happy to see them blow the Aztecs out of the water in Monday night’s NCAA title game. Why? Because at those odds, a $100 wager earned those lucky bettors an $8100 payday, their stake plus $8000 in winnings.

Nine of the last 13 winners had preseason odds north of +1000, five had odds longer than +2000, and three had a 2.44% chance (+4000) or less of winning the NCAAM Championship. So, while long shots often do not win March Madness, sometimes they do.

With that in mind, we like the following teams as longshots worth taking a flyer on:

FAU +7000 (Caesars)

The Owls are new to the national championship spotlight, but there is no denying they had a shot at winning it in 2023. With much of the team expected to return next season, FAU could make another run. If they can add a couple of players via the transfer portal, their chances will look even better.

Gonzaga +4000 (Caesars)

The Bulldogs are often at the forefront of the national championship conversation but have struggled to make it over the hump and win it. They’ve made it to the Elite Eight in five of the last eight Tournaments and to the Final Four and title game twice (2017, 2021). Yes, they will lose talent to graduation and the NBA Draft, but they have proven they can reload and come back even stronger the following season.

San Diego State +10000 (FanDuel)

When you look at the roster and see that it has eight seniors and five juniors, betting on them does not sound appealing. They were great in 2023, but the roster will look wildly different in 2024. But at +10000? Considering how good they were in 2023, a $10 bet (to win $1,000) is not a terrible idea.

Other teams possibly worth taking a flyer on include Maryland, Tennessee, Creighton, Xavier, and North Carolina.

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March Madness Odds: History

The following table contains the odds (via SportsOddsHistory.com) for the last 12 NCAA Tournament champions, along with the favorites in the preseason and prior to Round 1 of the Tournament:

YearNCAAM ChampionOdds (Preseason/Prior Rd 1)Favorite (Preseason)OddsFavorite (Prior Rd 1)Odds
2023Connecticut (31-8)+8000/+1600Gonzaga/North Carolina+900/+900Houston+500
2022Kansas (34-6)+1400/+900Gonzago+600Gonzaga+300
2021Baylor (28-2)+800/+500Baylor/Gonzaga+800Gonzaga+200
2020Canceled (Covid-19)
2019Virginia (35-3)+1350/+675Duke+450Duke+255
2018Villanova (36-4)+2700/+570Duke+525Villanova+575
2017North Carolina (33-7)+1900/+535Duke+335North Carolina+535
2016Villanova (35-5)+2500/+1500Kentucky+850Kansas+485
2015Duke (35-4)+900/+1000Kentucky+275Kentucky+110
2014Connecticut (32-8)+6500/+9500Kentucky+400Florida+550
2013Louisville (35-5)+700/+450Indiana+500Louisville+450
2012Kentucky (38-2)+550/+185North Carolina+350Kentucky+185
2011Connecticut (32-9)+4000/+2500Duke+500Duke/Kansas+400
2010Duke (35-5)+1200/+650Kansas/Kentucky+500Kansas+175

Restrictions on College Sports Betting

While March Madness is insanely popular, some states have had concerns over the integrity of the game and athletes when it comes to sports betting. As a result, some states have imposed restrictions on betting on college sports:

  • New Jersey: Betting is prohibited on college teams from New Jersey or on college sports events held in New Jersey.
  • Illinois: Betting is prohibited on games involving teams from in-state colleges and universities; prop betting and in-play prop betting are also banned.
  • Colorado: Betting on games involving teams from Colorado is legal, but bets on player performance are not (player prop bets). Sorry, Buffalo fans — no college bowl props the next time C.U. makes a bowl game.
  • Tennessee: Betting on games involving teams from Tennessee is legal, but bets on player performance (player prop bets) and live prop betting are not. That means no college bowl live betting on the Volunteers.
  • Virginia: Betting is prohibited on games involving teams from in-state colleges and universities; no prop bets or in-play betting.
  • New Hampshire: Betting is prohibited on games involving teams from in-state colleges and universities.
  • New York: Betting is prohibited on collegiate sports events held in-state and on games/events involving teams from New York.
  • Oregon: Betting on college sports via the state-run app is prohibited, but you can bet on them at a tribal casino that offers sports betting.
  • Rhode Island: Betting is prohibited on college teams from Rhode Island and on events held in-state.
  • Washington DC: Betting is prohibited on games involving teams from in-state colleges and universities.
  • Arizona: No prop bets allowed, player, or team.
  • Connecticut: Betting is prohibited on games involving in-state colleges and universities.
  • Illinois: Player prop bets on players from in-state teams are banned.
  • Iowa: No player props on players from in-state teams.
About the Author
Travis Pulver

Travis Pulver

Senior Writer
Travis Pulver is a senior writer for Gaming Today and a lifelong football fan, something he says comes naturally having been born in the football-crazy state of Texas. Through the years, Pulver's love of sports has extended into baseball, basketball, golf, and rugby. Life currently finds him in Indiana with his wife and two kids.

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