March Madness bracket betting: Only 4 teams at 25-to-1 or longer odds have won a title
By now everyone knows the theme of the 2023 NCAA tournament: It’s probably the most unpredictable Final Four ever.
If you’re in a bracket pool, well, you lived it.
There’s another way of looking at this wacky Final Four: Three of the four teams had pre-tournament odds that would make them the second-most unlikely champion since seeding began in 1978.
Only one team, the 2014 UConn Huskies, had longer than 35-to-1 odds to win it all when the tournament started. That UConn team is the outlier in just about every analysis of past champions.
Three others were 25-to-1 or longer: 1985 Villanova, 2011 UConn and 1983 NC State.
1985 Villanova is the second-most unlikely champion of the last 45 years, and Miami, San Diego State and Florida Atlantic would blow that Wildcats team away. Florida Atlantic in particular would blow all the records away. Here are the odds for each Final Four team at BetMGM as the first round tipped off:
San Diego State +8000
Florida Atlantic +20000
Even UConn’s odds were pretty juicy as the tournament got started. Just nothing compared to the other three teams that are heading to Houston.
Imagine having a $100 bet on Florida Atlantic before the tournament, hoping to cash it for $20,000. It’s not that crazy either; FAU is just a 1.5-point underdog against SDSU in the semifinal, and the Owls wouldn’t be a huge underdog against Miami or UConn in the title game.
When you take a huge underdog to win it all, it starts with hopes and dreams but almost never cashes. A 25-to-1 or longer underdog to win the NCAA tournament almost never hits. This year, three of the four teams still alive could enter that group.