Through cancellations and quarantines, the college basketball season finally arrived at its "One Shining Moment" when March Madness betting came to a conclusion with the Baylor Bears beating the Gonzaga Bulldogs in the NCAA Tournament final.
In mere minutes, college basketball betting had a fresh set of odds to win 2022 March Madness. Sportsbooks usually hold off on the NCAA Tournament futures until after the top players take their talents to the pros but if bookies are going to hang 'em, we're going to bet 'em.
Here are our best long shot picks to win March Madness 2022.
Arkansas Razorbacks +2,000
The Hogs were one of the best teams in the SEC this past season and finished one win away from a spot in the Final Four, losing to eventual champ Baylor in the South Region championship. Looking at the 2022 March Madness prospects, the Razorbacks are the 12th overall choice by the bookies, alongside other notables like Louisville, Houston, Illinois, and Purdue at 20/1 odds.
Arkansas does bid farewell to star freshman guard and leading scorer Moses Moody (16.8 ppg) and seniors Jalen Tate and Justin Smith are done, but head coach Eric Musselman has returning depth and immediately plugs those gaps in his lineup with transfers Chris Lykes (Miami) and Au'diese Toney (Pitt).
Lykes was limited this season due to injuries but is a proven producer (averaging close to 16 ppg the previous two years) and a threat from beyond the arc. Toney averaged 14.4 points per game for the Panthers before pulling the plug on the program in mid-February. Add those upperclassmen to a roster now rich in experience, as well as talent, and Arkansas will be among the elite in a power-packed SEC.
North Carolina Tar Heels +3,000
It’s a little weird pegging one of the greatest programs in college hoops history as a live long shot but North Carolina isn’t getting much respect from the oddsmakers at this 30/1 price tag. The retirement of legendary coach Roy Williams and subsequent hire of Hubert Davis is being seen as an improvement by many, allowing UNC to break free from Williams’ antiquated offenses.
The Tar Heels put together a strong second half to the season and made a good push in the ACC Tournament in order to make the NCAA cut, before fizzling out versus Wisconsin in the Round of 64. Davis is expected to return a good chunk of talent in the backcourt and has a blossoming big in Armando Bacot under the hoop.
The Heels currently have a solid but far-from-elite recruiting class lined up for 2021 and it’s unclear if the coaching change can lure in undecided prospects like Chet Holmgren and Patrick Baldwin Jr., who have UNC shortlisted. As it stands, though, North Carolina is showing up on early Top 25 lists and, given the shaky state of the ACC this past season, the Heels are in a good spot to return to glory under Davis.
Memphis Tigers +4,000
In two crazy seasons, Penny Hardaway has Memphis on the cusp of something big. Hardaway had to cope with losing his star player during James Wiseman’s drama in 2019-20 and then battled COVID-19 outbreaks and cancellations this past season – still winning a collective 36 games in the process.
The Tigers showed plenty of character and composure after their NCAA Tournament snub on Selection Sunday, accepting a spot in the NIT and rolling through the “other tournament” to pick up a postseason trophy and plenty of extra experience. Memphis runs a frenzied attack on defense, ranking No. 1 in KenPom’s famed adjusted defensive efficiency metric this past year.
There’s a bit of a revolving door in Memphis this offseason. Hardaway watched Damion Baugh, Boogie Ellis, D.J. Jeffries, and Jordan Nesbitt all dive into the transfer portal (after losing Ahmad Rand and Lance Thomas to transfers midway through the season) and Moussa Cisse is making a go at the pros.
As of now, leading scorer Landers Nolley II and forward DeAndre Williams are still undecided and Miami transfer Earl Timberlake helps fill those roster gaps. On top of that, Penny brings in the eighth-ranked 2021 recruiting class, highlighted by small forward Josh Minott. Barring any more draft jumpers, Memphis is building on something big.
Where can I bet on March Madness odds?
March Madness is one of the most popular times of the year for sports bettors, which of course makes it one of the busiest times of the year for online sportsbooks. Every betting site will offer March Madness odds but the top sites are safe and secure, offer a wide range of banking options, and give you a ton of markets for each game. Check out the best March Madness betting sites in your region.