A season and a tournament filled with twists and turns in March Madness odds wrapped up with a definitive statement by the underdog in the championship game, which drew plenty of money in the futures market. College basketball betting has seen pent-up demand unleashed on the NCAA Tournament, after March Madness was canceled last year.
NCAA basketball betting saw plenty of shifting throughout the 2020-21 season. The one constant was Gonzaga being favored all along the way, with Baylor No. 2 pretty much all season at BetMGM Nevada. But the Bears spoiled the Bulldogs' quest for perfection in Monday's final.
Let's put a bow on 2020-21 and look ahead to 2021-22 March Madness odds.
Baylor upsets Gonzaga in NCAA Championship
Monday night's championship game did not go as expected for oddsmakers. Baylor had Gonzaga in a double-digit hole almost the entire game, and the Bears ultimately coasted to an 86-70 victory to claim the national title.
That said, the outcome was welcome at multiple sportsbooks, including The SuperBook at Westgate and William Hill US, which both needed Baylor to nab an outright win Monday night. BetMGM Nevada was stuck big on Gonzaga futures, to the tune of low-seven figures, so that book also needed the Bears to win outright.
However, going against that need were three huge bets – all from one customer – on the championship game: $330,000 on Baylor +4.5, $300,000 on Baylor moneyline +165 and $330,000 on Under 159.5. All three hit, basically negating BetMGM Nevada's futures market win from the Gonzaga loss.
"It wasn't horrible, but it wasn't great," BetMGM Nevada's Scott Shelton told Covers late Monday night, noting that the book at least dodged the worst-case futures scenario of a Gonzaga win and a Baylor cover in the title game. "It's almost dead even, what we lost on the game and what we won on Gonzaga futures."
2021 March Madness odds over time
2022 March Madness odds
Sports betting waits for no one, and 2021-22 March Madness odds are already on the board at BetMGM. Gonzaga opened late Monday night as the +600 favorite, followed by Michigan at +800.
Baylor, the newly-minted champion, hit the board as the +1,200 co-third choice, along with Duke and Florida State. Ohio State UCLA and Villanova followed at +1,600, then a gaggle of schools at +2,000: Alabama, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan State, Purdue and Virginia Tech.
Past March Madness winners
|Season||National Champion||Odds Prior to Round 1 of March Madness|
|2016-17||North Carolina Tar Heels||+535|
|2014-15||Duke Blue Devils||+1,000|
|2009-10||Duke Blue Devils||+650|
|2008-09||North Carolina Tar Heels||+400|
|2004-05||North Carolina Tar Heels||+350|
|2000-01||Duke Blue Devils||+250|
Understanding March Madness futures odds
Sportsbooks will post odds for the NCAA men's basketball championship as early as the summer before the season starts. These odds are constantly adjusted throughout the offseason as players get hurt, suspended or are traded. Once the season begins in November, title odds will change as often as daily as teams win and lose games and as players get hurt or suspended. Sportsbooks will also adjust the March Madness futures odds based on handle and liability to certain teams.
March Madness futures odds will usually look like this:
- Kansas Jayhawks +1,000
This means that on a $100 bet, you'll stand to win $1,000 if the Jayhawks win the NCAA men's basketball title. If it's close to the end of the regular season or even during the tournament and college basketball has a very dominant team, you might see that a team is has a minus sign (-) ahead of its odds.
- Duke Blue Devils -120
This means that you would need to bet $120 to win $100 on a Duke championship.
Above we have posted the American odds for March Madness futures. However, these are easy to convert to decimal odds or fractional odds with our odds converter tool.
How to bet college basketball futures
Predicting the winner of the NCAA men's college basketball tournament is one of the hardest things to do in sports betting. The lose-and-go-home format and the fact that a school needs to win six straight games against quality opponents means that the favorites don't always take home the title.
Another factor that comes into play is that the tournament bracket isn't set until Selection Sunday. As the college basketball season winds down, you can be pretty sure that the big favorites will slide into the bracket as top seeds. But for teams in the middle of the pack, nothing is certain.
As always when betting futures odds, be sure to look into injuries and suspensions. You might find some current value in a team that is expecting to get a key player back before March Madness begins.
Instant replay: March Madness odds
Here are a few key points for March Madness odds:
• Baylor upsets Gonzaga in March Madness final.
• Sportsbooks have already released odds for 20222 March Madness, with Gonzaga (+700) again favored to take the title.
March Madness odds FAQs
When are odds for March Madness released?
Odds to win March Madness are released during the offseason and are constantly updated through the year leading up to the tournament. Odds for individual games will be released once the field is set.
What are the odds of winning March Madness?
As of April 6, 2021, Gonzaga had the best odds of winning March Madness in 2022 at +700. Baylor followed close behind at +850.
Which team had the longest odds to win March Madness?
Dating back to 2000, the biggest underdog to win March Madness was Connecticut in 2013-14. The Huskies entered the NCAA Tournament with +9,500 odds to win it all.
How do March Madness odds work?
Odds are set on every team in the country to win March Madness as college basketball's national champion. Those odds change throughout the season and as teams are eliminated from play.