March Madness odds 2023: Projecting the teams with best chances to make each round, win NCAA Tournament

Marcus Sasser 11132022

It’s bracket time.

The field for the 2023 NCAA Tournament is set, which means it’s time for everyone to start getting their brackets filled out. Picking a perfect bracket isn’t easy. In fact, it’s nearly impossible. No model can bring out all the right answers, no matter the science and code behind it.

But that won’t stop us from trying. With 68 teams set to compete in 63 games, any bit of information can help, and The Sporting News is hoping to provide some insight into how the March Madness might unfold.

The Sporting News is rolling out its projection model that evaluates the field and which teams are the most likely to come out of each matchup. The model is based on a composite ranking from the Pomeroy, Sagarin and ESPN BPI ratings, as well as The Sporting News’ ratings for each team based on their offensive and defensive stats in each game throughout the 2022-23 season. The model then runs a Monte Carlo simulation of the tournament 20,000 times and records the outcomes for each result.

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Here is a look at the current odds for the entire 2023 March Madness bracket, as well as what The Sporting News’ model says about the field.

Marcus Sasser 11132022

March Madness odds 2023

It should come as no surprise, but early odds are favoring the No. 1 seeds. According to BetMGM, Houston has a +550 chance of winning the national championship. Kansas is second.

RegionTeamSeedOdds
MidwestHouston1+550
WestKansas1+800
SouthAlabama1+800
EastPurdue1+1100
WestUCLA2+1200
SouthArizona2+1200

Here’s a look at the teams with the best odds for each seed in the tournament.

SeedRegionTeamOdds
1MidwestHouston+550
2West/SouthUCLA/Kansas+1200
3WestGonzaga+1800
4WestConnecticut+1600
5EastDuke+3000
6WestTCU+3500
7MidwestTexas A&M+5000
8SouthMaryland+8000
9WestIllinois+8000
10MidwestPenn State+15000
11EastProvidence+12500
12East/SouthOral Roberts/Charleston+25000
13WestIona+50000
14SouthUC Santa Barbara+100000
15East/MidwestVermont/Colgate+100000
16AllAll+100000

Noticing a theme? The battle for the west could well wind up being the most hotly contested in this year’s field. Of the 15 seeds, the west has six of the best odds by seed to win it all, per BetMGM. All other regions are tied with four.

MORE: Download a free 2023 NCAA Tournament bracket PDF here

The Sporting News model agrees with oddsmakers, and views Houston as the favorite to emerge from the madness with a title. Here’s a look at the model’s projected top five, with the percentage to win converted to odds.

RegionTeamSeedTitle Win PercentOdds
MidwestHouston116.57%+504
SouthAlabama112.27%+715
WestUCLA29.72%+929
EastTennessee47.07%+1314
MidwestTexas26.32%+1484

Interestingly, only two of the top five teams based on TSN’s model are No. 1 seeds in their regions. UCLA and Texas are each No. 2 seeds in their respective regions, while Tennessee comes in all the way down from a No. 4 seed in the east. That is largely because, as the betting odds agree, Purdue is the most vulnerable No. 1 seed. The model has the Boilermakers at just a 5.48 percent chance to win the title.

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EXPERT PICKS: DeCourcy (Alabama) | Bender (Kansas) | Fagan (Marquette) | Pohnl (Kansas)

NCAA Tournament odds to advance by region

Here is a look at the odds for each team to advance past each region, as well as the projected run for each team based on The Sporting News’ model.

It should be noted that teams in the play-in or facing play-in teams will have their odds and model projections updated once the games are concluded. Odds for teams to reach the Elite Eight will be updated as they are released.

Zach-Edey-032422-GETTY-FTR

East

Oddsmakers aren’t as high on the east region as the other three. Of all the three No. 1 seeds, Purdue has the lowest title odds among top teams and the region’s No. 2 seed, Marquette, ranks behind all other twos, two three seeds and a four seed.

SeedTeamRound of 32Sweet SixteenElite EightFinal Four
1PurdueTBD-200TBD+250
2Marquette-750-145TBD+450
3Kansas State-500+125TBD+900
4Tennessee-550+500TBD-110
5Duke-300+150TBD+900
6Kentucky-165+180TBD+1200
7Michigan State-125+300TBD+1400
8Memphis+120+400TBD+2000
9Florida Atlantic-145+500TBD+3500
10USC+105+400TBD+3000
11Providence+140+350TBD+3500
12Oral Roberts+240+1200TBD+10000
13Louisiana+400+1200TBD+10000
14Montana State+375+1600TBD+10000
15Vermont+525+2000TBD+10000
16Texas Southern/Fairleigh DickinsonTBDTBDTBD+10000

The wide-open nature of this region means that it has few huge upset picks. Though the odds for Purdue vs. its No. 16 opponent have yet to be released, the East region is the only region where the No. 2 seed isn’t also at least a 1,000-point favorite to its first-round opponent. Still, the only time the favored team is also a lower seed is No. 9 Florida Atlantic opening as a -145 favorite to No. 8 Memphis.

The model agrees that this region is wide open, and because of that, all the teams have relatively low title odds, with one notable exception. Despite coming in at No. 4, Tennessee is viewed as a relative favorite compared to each of the three seeds above it in Purdue, Marquette and Kansas State.

MORE: Florida Atlantic, Oral Roberts among bracket-busting picks

It also gives decent odds on a pair of intriguing upset picks with Vermont and Montana State each having more than a 15 percent chance of upsetting Marquette and Kansas State, marking only two of three teams below a 13 seed with such odds.

Looking for a pair of lower seeds to win it all? Perennial title contenders Duke and Kentucky might have low odds to win this year’s trophy, but they’re better value than betting on Kansas State as the three seed.

SeedTeamRound of 32Sweet SixteenElite EightFinal FourChampionshipTitle winner
1Purdue98.22%62.96%33.70%20.86%11.54%5.48%
2Marquette83.36%49.78%29.90%14.60%6.86%2.79%
3Kansas State79.60%42.88%20.58%8.12%3.00%0.98%
4Tennessee86.86%61.34%36.78%24.26%13.68%7.07%
5Duke68.16%28.00%12.22%7.16%3.02%0.93%
6Kentucky57.48%31.22%16.52%6.48%3.12%0.87%
7Michigan State52.04%24.46%12.18%4.40%1.18%0.47%
8Memphis55.24%21.36%8.88%3.92%1.60%0.62%
9Florida Atlantic44.76%15.56%5.90%2.40%0.80%0.28%
10USC47.96%20.34%9.04%3.14%0.84%0.34%
11Providence42.52%21.62%9.74%3.38%0.96%0.33%
12Oral Roberts31.84%7.50%1.96%0.74%0.18%0.07%
13Louisiana13.14%3.16%0.56%0.12%0.02%0.01%
14Montana State20.40%4.28%1.02%0.26%0.02%0.00%
15Vermont16.64%5.42%1.02%0.16%0.04%0.01%
16Texas Southern/Fairleigh Dickinson1.78%TBDTBDTBDTBDTBD

Midwest

Houston is the current title favorite to win based on oddsmakers, which makes coming out of this field difficult for any other team. It’s why No. 2 Texas, despite being viewed as a quality team, trails two other No. 2 seeds overall in the odds. For the Longhorns to win a title, they would have to beat the Cougars.

SeedTeamRound of 32Sweet SixteenElite EightFinal Four
1Houston-5000-350TBD+140
2Texas-1200-130TBD+400
3Xavier-650+105TBD+1000
4Indiana-200+140TBD+1400
5Miami-165+175TBD+2000
6Iowa StateTBD+200TBD+1600
7Texas A&M-150+225TBD+1200
8Iowa+100+600TBD+3000
9Auburn-115+700TBD+2500
10Penn State+125+500TBD+3000
11Mississippi State/PittTBDTBDTBD+6600/+8000
12Drake+135+500TBD+6600
13Kent State+165+700TBD+10000
14Kennesaw State+450+1600TBD+10000
15Colgate+725+2000TBD+10000
16Northern Kentucky+1400+8000TBD+10000

BetMGM has a few teams as being possible upset picks. Drake and Kent State have the best odds for any 12 and 13 seeds to win their first-round matchups against Miami and Indiana. No. 9 Auburn is a narrow favorite against No. 8 Iowa.

MORE: When does March Madness start?

The model views Houston as far-and-away the favorite coming out of the No. 1 seed, with Texas more than 10 percent behind, though still with strong odds to win the championship. Three and four seeds Xavier and Indiana are the only other teams with more than a 1 percent chance to come win it all.

The model agrees with the odds that Drake looks like it could make for an interesting 12-5 upset against Miami. The Bulldogs have a 42.9 percent chance of beating Miami, the best of any No. 12 seed in the field. They also have the best odds of any team outside the region’s top seven to reach the Sweet 16.

SeedTeamRound of 32Sweet SixteenElite EightFinal FourChampionshipTitle winner
1Houston95.62%72.06%57.58%39.94%26.04%16.57%
2Texas87.94%59.28%40.56%20.04%12.40%6.32%
3Xavier85.84%48.62%21.12%8.64%3.76%1.70%
4Indiana67.22%39.94%14.02%6.58%2.48%1.01%
5Miami57.08%28.08%7.84%3.00%1.04%0.34%
6Iowa State62.78%31.86%14.50%5.60%2.24%0.80%
7Texas A&M57.94%24.16%11.88%4.78%2.22%0.85%
8Iowa48.78%12.30%5.44%2.76%0.82%0.40%
9Auburn51.22%14.92%8.18%3.08%1.14%0.49%
10Penn State42.06%13.88%5.52%2.24%0.58%0.17%
11Mississippi State/Pitt37.22%TBDTBDTBDTBDTBD
12Drake42.92%17.74%3.96%1.18%0.26%0.07%
13Kent State32.78%14.24%2.80%1.04%0.14%0.05%
14Kennesaw State14.16%2.96%0.44%0.06%0.00%0.00%
15Colgate12.06%2.68%0.58%0.12%0.00%0.00%
16Northern Kentucky4.38%0.72%0.18%0.02%0.00%0.00%

Allen Flanigan-Brandon Miller

South

There is certainly a case to be made for the south having the most difficult No. 1 and 2 seeds to face in the bracket. No. 1 Alabama is tied with west top seed Kansas for the second-best title odds overall, while No. 2 Arizona comes in tied with UCLA for the fifth-best odds to win a championship.

Odds for Virginia’s matchup against Furman had not been released at the time of publication.

SeedTeamRound of 32Sweet SixteenElite EightFinal Four
1AlabamaTBD-300TBD+190
2Arizona-1200-225TBD+500
3Baylor-650+110TBD+550
4VirginiaTBD+150TBD+1200
5San Diego State-200+135TBD+875
6Creighton-225+155TBD+800
7Missouri+115+650TBD+5000
8Maryland+120+550TBD+2200
9West Virginia-145+400TBD+1800
10Utah State-140+375TBD+3000
11NC State+180+600TBD+5000
12Charleston+165+650TBD+8000
13FurmanTBD+800TBD+10000
14UC Santa Barbara+450+1400TBD+10000
15Princeton+750+1400TBD+10000
16Southeast Missouri State/Texas A&M-CCTBDTBDTBD+10000

There is only one region where two teams ranked below the No. 8 seed are favored to win their opening round matchup, and that is the south. No. 9 West Virginia and No. 10 Utah State both enter as the first-round favorites to beat No. 8 Maryland and No. 7 Missouri, respectively.

MORE: How to pick Virginia vs. Furman

Oddsmakers are certainly leaving open the possibility for several upsets, as even No. 11 NC State and No. 12 Charleston come in with odds below +200 to pull off wins against No. 6 Creighton and No. 5 San Diego State.

Utah State appears to be the place to start when looking at upsets, based on the projection model. The Aggies are 58.9 percent favorites to beat Missouri, per its projections, while West Virginia is just a narrow 50.9 percent favorite.

Creighton could be an interesting team to count on going far in this year’s bracket. The No. 6 Bluejays have the fourth-best championship odds in the region, per the model, and have nearly a 20 percent chance of reaching the Elite Eight.

SeedTeamRound of 32Sweet SixteenElite EightFinal FourChampionshipTitle winner
1Alabama97.26%68.96%52.50%34.56%19.56%12.27%
2Arizona86.44%57.46%33.70%17.64%7.92%4.26%
3Baylor82.44%45.16%24.10%10.68%5.00%2.10%
4Virginia70.40%36.46%11.58%5.24%1.60%0.67%
5San Diego State67.56%40.38%14.46%6.72%2.10%0.99%
6Creighton65.40%35.68%18.02%8.68%4.16%1.71%
7Missouri41.10%14.92%5.94%1.72%0.62%0.14%
8Maryland49.10%15.16%7.88%3.50%1.34%0.49%
9West Virginia50.90%15.48%8.74%4.34%1.80%0.66%
10Utah State58.90%24.50%10.46%3.68%1.54%0.55%
11NC State34.60%15.20%6.32%1.94%0.72%0.19%
12Charleston32.44%13.68%2.86%0.80%0.10%0.08%
13Furman29.60%9.48%1.90%0.30%0.02%0.02%
14UC Santa Barbara17.56%3.96%0.70%0.10%0.02%0.01%
15Princeton13.56%3.12%0.76%0.10%0.00%0.00%
16Southeast Missouri State/Texas A&M-CC2.74%0.40%0.08%0.00%0.00%0.00%

Jaquez

West

The west looks to have the most difficult bracket in this year’s tournament. Kansas is tied for the second-best title odds with Alabama and is the biggest favorite to advance to the Round of 32. UCLA is tied for the fifth-best title odds and is tied with Houston for the best odds to reach the Round of 32 (though Alabama’s odds have not been released yet). And Gonzaga and Connecticut each have the best odds to win the title and advance past the first round of any team in their respective seeds.

SeedTeamRound of 32Sweet SixteenElite EightFinal Four
1Kansas-10000-250TBD+350
2UCLA-5000-250TBD+300
3Gonzaga-2000-145TBD+400
4Connecticut-550+100TBD+500
5Saint Mary’s-190+170TBD+1000
6TCUTBD+200TBD+1000
7Northwestern+100TBDTBD+4000
8Arkansas-145+350TBD+2000
9Illinois+120+425TBD+2500
10Boise State-120+600TBD+5000
11Arizona State/NevadaTBDTBDTBD+10000
12VCU+155+800TBD+10000
13Iona+400+1000TBD+10000
14Grand Canyon+950+1600TBD+10000
15UNC Asheville+1400+5000TBD+10000
16Howard+2000NATBDNA

There’s potentially some room for upsets here, but not much. No. 10 Boise State is favored against No. 7 Northwestern and No. 12 VCU has close odds to No. 5 Saint Mary’s, but this appears to be a fairly chalky region. Of course, in March, that could always mean it’s the most likely region to feature plenty of upsets.

The model certainly agrees with the oddsmakers that this region is as chalky as it gets. It has the top eight seeds all favored to win their first-round matchups, with the Broncos again appearing to be the most likely team to pull off the upset over the Wildcats at 48.54 percent.

MORE: Why Oklahoma State, Rutgers, UNC, Clemson missed tournament

However, the model does highlight some possible opportunities to pick up some relative sleepers and have them go deep in the tournament. This is the only region with five teams with greater than a 1 percent chance to win the championship, and each of the top four teams have greater than a 4.2 percent chance to win it all.

SeedTeamRound of 32Sweet SixteenElite EightFinal FourChampionshipTitle winner
1Kansas95.30%58.08%32.64%16.48%7.68%4.24%
2UCLA93.26%70.24%45.00%28.22%16.46%9.72%
3Gonzaga85.82%58.34%31.38%16.78%9.50%4.60%
4Connecticut78.70%51.38%30.48%15.94%8.90%4.54%
5Saint Mary’s66.36%30.32%14.46%5.94%3.34%1.17%
6TCU64.26%27.44%10.26%3.76%2.06%0.86%
7Northwestern51.46%14.58%5.32%1.92%0.64%0.19%
8Arkansas54.74%23.48%10.04%4.00%2.08%0.73%
9Illinois45.26%17.96%6.80%2.86%1.12%0.34%
10Boise State48.54%14.10%4.84%1.40%0.70%0.18%
11Arizona State/Nevada35.74%TBDTBDTBDTBDTBD
12VCU33.64%11.02%3.58%1.20%0.28%0.13%
13Iona21.30%7.28%1.96%0.58%0.16%0.03%
14Grand Canyon14.18%3.78%0.52%0.14%0.02%0.01%
15UNC Asheville6.74%1.08%0.12%0.10%0.00%0.00%
16Howard4.70%0.48%0.04%0.00%0.00%0.00%

Dave Gallo

Dave Gallo is a pioneering sports analytics expert, renowned for his revolutionary work in AI-driven sports simulations, projections, and advanced statistical analysis. With a profound passion for sports and technology, he crafts cutting-edge computer models that accurately predict outcomes. Dave's game-changing insights have reshaped strategy, player evaluation, and decision-making across various sports. His dynamic presentations make complex analytics accessible and inspiring, ensuring his legacy as a visionary in sports analytics. Check out Dave's Pick Record.

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