March Madness Sweet 16 Futures Update: Alabama And Houston Sit Atop The Board As NCAA Basketball Favorites

Updated: 9 Sport

Devin Ellington groups the Sweet 16 schools into three "bettable" buckets.

March Madness Sweet 16 Futures Update: Alabama And Houston Sit Atop The Board As NCAA Basketball Favorites
Devin Ellington Basketball Editor

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

  • Kansas (+850) and Purdue (+900) both fall as 1-Seeds, fail to make the Sweet 16.
  • For the first time in tourney history, a 15 and 6 seed will meet.
  • Princeton (+15000) is the lowest seed remaining, will face Creighton (+1200)

The opening weekend of March Madness has concluded and there was an immense level of drama. Fairleigh Dickinson became just the second 16-Seed to knock off a 1-Seed by beating Purdue. The defending national champs (Kansas) were eliminated by an 8-Seed, and the ACC only sent one school to the Sweet 16. With just sixteen schools and only two of the 1-Seeds left, there should still be a vast amount of drama left in the bracket. In the following sections, I will be breaking down the teams still standing into groups or tiers.

College Basketball National Championship 2023 Betting

Team Moneyline Probability
Alabama Crimson Tide +350 22.22%
Houston Cougars +375 21.05%
UCLA Bruins +800 11.11%
Texas Longhorns +1000 9.09%
UConn Huskies +1000 9.09%
Gonzaga Bulldogs +1200 7.69%
Creighton Bluejays +1200 7.69%
Tennessee Volunteers +1400 6.67%
Michigan State Spartans +2500 3.85%
Kansas State Wildcats +2500 3.85%
Xavier Musketeers +3000 3.23%
Miami (FL) Hurricanes +4000 2.44%
San Diego State Aztecs +4000 2.44%
Arkansas Razorbacks +4000
2.44%
Florida Atlantic Owls +5000 1.96%
Princeton Tigers +15000 0.66%

The Elite

The grouping in this first section will include teams that all have odds set at 10:1 or lower. For the first time in almost three months, the Houston Cougars (+375) are not the odds-on betting favorite; that role is now assumed by the Rolling Tide of Alabama (+350). Rounding out the elites are the Pac-12 champs, UCLA Bruins (+800), the Big XII tournament champion Texas (+1000) and the UConn Huskies (+1000). UCLA entered the NCAA Tournament down their starting point guard but it seems as though Mick Cronin has his team locked in for the stretch run. The Bruins will need to cobble together their perimeter play because elite guard play is vital for deeper tournament runs. Houston is healthier than when they started this tournament and the Coogs were able to control their second round game after struggling with their opener against Northern Kentucky. Alabama has navigated the treacherous waters that is the Brandon Miller situation. The Tide have also played great team basketball with Miller taking a step back in their first two games. Miller failed to score a single point in Alabama's opener. Do not be shocked if only one of these schools make it to the Final Four considering the level of parity that is evident in this bracket.

The Contenders

These teams are not quite to the level of elite but are still serious threats to snipe off the elite teams and to cut the nets down. The odds of this grouping of teams will range anywhere from the +1000 to +3500 range. The contenders consist of Gonzaga (+1200), Creighton (+1200), Tennessee (+1400), Michigan State (+2500), Kansas State (+2500), and Xavier (+3000). There are a plethora of solid options to choose a national champion from this group. It would not be entirely unrealistic that this grouping is where the winning team will come from. Creighton offers an elite level of defense and is capable scoring in the 80s against anyone. Gonzaga will go as far as their offense takes them and they have a tricky matchup with UCLA next, the Bruins could see issues arise from not having their star guard on the perimeter. Michigan State and Kansas State will be facing one another at Madison Square Garden, so we'll be losing at least one of them. Creighton and Tennessee will be facing off against the remaining Cinderellas in Princeton and FAU respectively-The Vols have steered clear of a downturn with their star PG Zeigler being out but they could perhaps run into more trouble in their Sweet 16 pairing.

The Cinderellas

This last cluster of schools are the teams that are still wearing their glass slippers on the dance floor. SDSU (+4000), Arkansas (+4000), Miami (FL) (+4000), Florida Atlantic (+5000), and Princeton (+16000) are all hoping to keep their carriage from turning into a pumpkin. I will go out on a limb and say that at least two of these teams will be advancing onto the Elite 8. Miami has six players who were on their Elite 8 team from last year and the Hurricanes are led by an elite PG in Isaiah Wong. Arkansas possesses the best defensive rating for adjusted efficiency of this group, per Bart Torvik. The balance of three-point offense and three-point defense of Florida Atlantic makes the Owls very dangerous- FAU is Top-25 on both offense and defense for eFG% while ranking as the best balanced rebounding team who limits offensive rebounding.  

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