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

Marcus Sasser 11132022
march madness odds 2023: projecting the teams with best chances

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.

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.

Region Team Seed Odds
Midwest Houston 1 +550
West Kansas 1 +800
South Alabama 1 +800
East Purdue 1 +1100
West UCLA 2 +1200
South Arizona 2 +1200

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

Seed Region Team Odds
1 Midwest Houston +550
2 West/South UCLA/Kansas +1200
3 West Gonzaga +1800
4 West Connecticut +1600
5 East Duke +3000
6 West TCU +3500
7 Midwest Texas A&M +5000
8 South Maryland +8000
9 West Illinois +8000
10 Midwest Penn State +15000
11 East Providence +12500
12 East/South Oral Roberts/Charleston +25000
13 West Iona +50000
14 South UC Santa Barbara +100000
15 East/Midwest Vermont/Colgate +100000
16 All All +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.

Region Team Seed Title Win Percent Odds
Midwest Houston 1 16.57% +504
South Alabama 1 12.27% +715
West UCLA 2 9.72% +929
East Tennessee 4 7.07% +1314
Midwest Texas 2 6.32% +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.

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

Seed Team Round of 32 Sweet Sixteen Elite Eight Final Four Championship Title winner
1 Purdue 98.22% 62.96% 33.70% 20.86% 11.54% 5.48%
2 Marquette 83.36% 49.78% 29.90% 14.60% 6.86% 2.79%
3 Kansas State 79.60% 42.88% 20.58% 8.12% 3.00% 0.98%
4 Tennessee 86.86% 61.34% 36.78% 24.26% 13.68% 7.07%
5 Duke 68.16% 28.00% 12.22% 7.16% 3.02% 0.93%
6 Kentucky 57.48% 31.22% 16.52% 6.48% 3.12% 0.87%
7 Michigan State 52.04% 24.46% 12.18% 4.40% 1.18% 0.47%
8 Memphis 55.24% 21.36% 8.88% 3.92% 1.60% 0.62%
9 Florida Atlantic 44.76% 15.56% 5.90% 2.40% 0.80% 0.28%
10 USC 47.96% 20.34% 9.04% 3.14% 0.84% 0.34%
11 Providence 42.52% 21.62% 9.74% 3.38% 0.96% 0.33%
12 Oral Roberts 31.84% 7.50% 1.96% 0.74% 0.18% 0.07%
13 Louisiana 13.14% 3.16% 0.56% 0.12% 0.02% 0.01%
14 Montana State 20.40% 4.28% 1.02% 0.26% 0.02% 0.00%
15 Vermont 16.64% 5.42% 1.02% 0.16% 0.04% 0.01%
16 Texas Southern/Fairleigh Dickinson 1.78% TBD TBD TBD TBD TBD

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.

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

Seed Team Round of 32 Sweet Sixteen Elite Eight Final Four Championship Title winner
1 Houston 95.62% 72.06% 57.58% 39.94% 26.04% 16.57%
2 Texas 87.94% 59.28% 40.56% 20.04% 12.40% 6.32%
3 Xavier 85.84% 48.62% 21.12% 8.64% 3.76% 1.70%
4 Indiana 67.22% 39.94% 14.02% 6.58% 2.48% 1.01%
5 Miami 57.08% 28.08% 7.84% 3.00% 1.04% 0.34%
6 Iowa State 62.78% 31.86% 14.50% 5.60% 2.24% 0.80%
7 Texas A&M 57.94% 24.16% 11.88% 4.78% 2.22% 0.85%
8 Iowa 48.78% 12.30% 5.44% 2.76% 0.82% 0.40%
9 Auburn 51.22% 14.92% 8.18% 3.08% 1.14% 0.49%
10 Penn State 42.06% 13.88% 5.52% 2.24% 0.58% 0.17%
11 Mississippi State/Pitt 37.22% TBD TBD TBD TBD TBD
12 Drake 42.92% 17.74% 3.96% 1.18% 0.26% 0.07%
13 Kent State 32.78% 14.24% 2.80% 1.04% 0.14% 0.05%
14 Kennesaw State 14.16% 2.96% 0.44% 0.06% 0.00% 0.00%
15 Colgate 12.06% 2.68% 0.58% 0.12% 0.00% 0.00%
16 Northern Kentucky 4.38% 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.

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

Seed Team Round of 32 Sweet Sixteen Elite Eight Final Four Championship Title winner
1 Alabama 97.26% 68.96% 52.50% 34.56% 19.56% 12.27%
2 Arizona 86.44% 57.46% 33.70% 17.64% 7.92% 4.26%
3 Baylor 82.44% 45.16% 24.10% 10.68% 5.00% 2.10%
4 Virginia 70.40% 36.46% 11.58% 5.24% 1.60% 0.67%
5 San Diego State 67.56% 40.38% 14.46% 6.72% 2.10% 0.99%
6 Creighton 65.40% 35.68% 18.02% 8.68% 4.16% 1.71%
7 Missouri 41.10% 14.92% 5.94% 1.72% 0.62% 0.14%
8 Maryland 49.10% 15.16% 7.88% 3.50% 1.34% 0.49%
9 West Virginia 50.90% 15.48% 8.74% 4.34% 1.80% 0.66%
10 Utah State 58.90% 24.50% 10.46% 3.68% 1.54% 0.55%
11 NC State 34.60% 15.20% 6.32% 1.94% 0.72% 0.19%
12 Charleston 32.44% 13.68% 2.86% 0.80% 0.10% 0.08%
13 Furman 29.60% 9.48% 1.90% 0.30% 0.02% 0.02%
14 UC Santa Barbara 17.56% 3.96% 0.70% 0.10% 0.02% 0.01%
15 Princeton 13.56% 3.12% 0.76% 0.10% 0.00% 0.00%
16 Southeast Missouri State/Texas A&M-CC 2.74% 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.

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

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.

Seed Team Round of 32 Sweet Sixteen Elite Eight Final Four Championship Title winner
1 Kansas 95.30% 58.08% 32.64% 16.48% 7.68% 4.24%
2 UCLA 93.26% 70.24% 45.00% 28.22% 16.46% 9.72%
3 Gonzaga 85.82% 58.34% 31.38% 16.78% 9.50% 4.60%
4 Connecticut 78.70% 51.38% 30.48% 15.94% 8.90% 4.54%
5 Saint Mary’s 66.36% 30.32% 14.46% 5.94% 3.34% 1.17%
6 TCU 64.26% 27.44% 10.26% 3.76% 2.06% 0.86%
7 Northwestern 51.46% 14.58% 5.32% 1.92% 0.64% 0.19%
8 Arkansas 54.74% 23.48% 10.04% 4.00% 2.08% 0.73%
9 Illinois 45.26% 17.96% 6.80% 2.86% 1.12% 0.34%
10 Boise State 48.54% 14.10% 4.84% 1.40% 0.70% 0.18%
11 Arizona State/Nevada 35.74% TBD TBD TBD TBD TBD
12 VCU 33.64% 11.02% 3.58% 1.20% 0.28% 0.13%
13 Iona 21.30% 7.28% 1.96% 0.58% 0.16% 0.03%
14 Grand Canyon 14.18% 3.78% 0.52% 0.14% 0.02% 0.01%
15 UNC Asheville 6.74% 1.08% 0.12% 0.10% 0.00% 0.00%
16 Howard 4.70% 0.48% 0.04% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00%

Written By

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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