March Madness 2023: Houston Enters As Tournament Favorite For First The Time Since 1983

Updated: 12 Sport

With the bracket set, Devin Anthony Ellington breaks down the odds to win the college basketball national championship.

March Madness 2023: Houston Enters As Tournament Favorite For First The Time Since 1983
Devin Ellington Basketball Editor

Devin Anthony Ellington is OLBGs expert Basketball writer. He has previously contributed to numerous quality publications including ESPN.

  • Alabama (+800) grabs first ever #1 overall seed in program history.
  • UNC, the AP Preseason #1 team, misses March Madness and rejects NIT bid.
  • For the first time ever in the Big Ten tourney, the lower seed won the first five games.

It's time for March Madness, which means that fans nationwide will be analyzing sportsbook offerings hoping to hit it big. The Field of 68 has been announced and brackets are being filled out by the millions–the NCAA Tournament is a national holiday for college basketball fans and it could be argued to be one of the most intense sports spectacles out there. We will be breaking down each team's futures odds and will be bracketing them into categories of contention. Without further adieu, let's begin.

College Basketball National Championship 2023 Betting

Team Moneyline Probability
Houston Cougars +550 15.38%
Alabama Crimson Tide +800 11.11%
Kansas Jayhawks +800 11.11%
Purdue Boilermakers +1000 9.09%
UCLA Bruins +1200 7.69%
Arizona Wildcats +1200 7.69%
Texas Longhorns +1600 5.88%
UConn Huskies +1600 5.88%
Gonzaga Bulldogs +1800 5.26%
Baylor Bears +1800 5.26%
Tennessee Volunteers +2500 3.85%
Marquette Golden Eagles +2500 3.85%
Duke Blue Devils +3000 3.23%
TCU Horned Frogs +3500 2.78%
Indiana Hoosiers +3500
Kentucky Wildcats +3500 2.78%
Creighton Bluejays +3500 2.78%
St. Mary's (CA) +4000 2.44%
Virginia Cavaliers +5000 1.96%
Miami (FL) Hurricanes +5000 1.96%
Texas A&M Aggies +5000 1.96%
Xavier Musketeers +5000 1.96%
Kansas State Wildcats +5000 1.96%
Miami (FL) Wildcats +5000 1.96%
Maryland Terrapins +7500 1.32%
Iowa State Cyclones +7500 1.32%
Michigan State Spartans +7500 1.32%
Illinois Fighting Illini +8000 1.23%
Auburn Tigers +8000 1.23%
Iowa Hawkeyes +10000 .99%
San Diego State Aztecs +10000 .99%
Providence Friars +10000 .99%
Northwestern Wildcats +12000 .83%
West Virginia Mountaineers +12000 .83%
Memphis Tigers +15000 .66%
USC Trojans +15000 .66%
Missouri Tigers +15000 .66%
NC State Wolfpack +15000 .66%
Penn State Nittany Lions +15000
Pittsburgh Panthers +17500 .57%
Florida Atlantic Owls +20000 .5%
Arizona State Sun Devils +20000
Mississippi State Bulldogs +20000
USC Trojans +20000
Utah State Aggies +20000 .5%
Boise State Broncos +20000
College of Charleston +25000 .4%
Drake Bulldogs +50000 .2%
Oral Roberts +50000 .2%
Furman Paladins +50000 .2%
Iona Gaels +50000 .2%
Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns +50000 .2%
Kennesaw State
+100000 .2%
Montana State +100000 .2%
UC Santa Barbara +100000 .2%
All 15 Seeds  +100000
All 16 Seeds +100000 .1%

The Elite

This grouping of teams will feature blue bloods, conference champs, and serious national title contenders. Houston (+550), Alabama (+800), Kansas (+800), Purdue (+1000), UCLA (+1200), Arizona (+1200), Gonzaga (+1800), Marquette (+2500), Texas (+1600), Baylor (+1800), UConn (+1600), and Duke (+3000) make up the elite. These teams are notably some of the most talented squads in the bracket. I slotted Duke in this group because of the loss of Zakai Zigler for Tennessee, plus the Blue Devils handled the field in the ACC tourney. Be cautious with teams like Kansas and Baylor, both teams are coming off of exposing performances in the Big 12 tournament with Baylor losing in the first round to Iowa State. Bracket positioning plays a big role in the odds listed but teams like Marquette and Purdue are surging; Shaka Smart has top end offensive talent to match his historically defensive coaching mindset which makes up a lethal pairing. 

The Contenders

These teams are classified as serious contenders who are just outside of the elite threshold, these teams are still dangerous and should be considered to make a run at the national championship. Tennessee (+3000), Creighton (+4000), Kentucky (+4000), TCU (+3500), Saint Marys (+4000), Texas A&M (+5000), Xavier (+5000), Indiana (+3500), are joined by Michigan State at a much higher number (+10000). This is immense value for Tom Izzo in March considering his history. K-State (+5000), UVA (+4000), Memphis (+15000), SDSU (+8000), West Virginia (+12500), Iowa State (+6600), Arkansas (+5000), and Iowa (+10000) are all in the same boat in the sense that they are all very talented and well coached–nearly all of these teams listed here are ranked in the Top-30 for adjusted defensive efficiency, per Bart Torvik. There are a lot of these teams who were in their conference tournament championship games. Memphis offers a ton of value seeing as they handled #1 Houston in the AAC tournament final but the Tigers drew a dreaded 8-9 seeding matchup against the Florida Atlantic Owls (more on them below). 

Multiple double-digit seeds hold value to make a deep run; it wouldn't be shocking to see a 10-Seed or lower in the Sweet Sixteen.

Devin Anthony Ellington - College Basketball Expert -


FAU (+20000), Illinois (+8000), Maryland (+8000), Auburn (+10000), Penn State (+15000), Providence (+12500), USC (+20000), NC-State (+15000), Northwestern (+15000), Utah State (+20000), Boise State (+20000), Mizzou (+20000), Mississippi State (+25000), Arizona State (+20000), Drake (+50000), PITT (+20000), VCU (+25000), College of Charleston (+25000), Iona (+50000), Oral Roberts (+25000), Colgate (+100000), Furman (+50000), and Kent State (+50000) all offer some entertainment value; it would not be shocking to see at least five of these schools win their first round game and it would not surprise me to see a handful of these schools win multiple tourney games. Let's make sure to keep a keen eye out on both Furman and Kent State, the Golden Flashes lost by five to Houston and by seven to Gonzaga as well as losing by a bucket to Charleston and beating N.Kentucky who are also tournament teams in this year's field. 

Deep, Dark Horses

The commonality between these teams is that most of their odds will be around the +100000 range. Fairleigh Dickinson (+100000), grand Canyon (+100000), Howard (+100000), Kennesaw State (+100000), Montana State (+100000), Nevada (+50000), North Kentucky (+100000), Princeton (+50000), SE Missouri State (+100000), Texas A&M Corpus Christi (+100000), Texas Southern (+100000), UC-Santa Barbara (+100000), Louisiana Lafayette (+50000), UNC-Asheville (+100000), and Vermont (+100000) are all teams that have extreme long shots to not only win their first round game but to make a run at the natty. There are a lot of conference tournament champions from smaller conferences within this grouping of teams–Kennesaw State is looking to continue their magical season, 2023 was the program's first winning season in team history.

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