March Madness Odds: Zags Are the Early Favorite, Villanova Close Behind

Gonzaga, which had a perfect 2020-21 season before losing the National Championship game to Baylor, has +700 March Madness odds to win the NCAA Tournament. The Zags are the favorite, followed by Villanova. Check out the complete odds to win March Madness.

Posted: Jul 25, 2021 5:20 PM ET Updated: Jul 25, 2021 5:20 PM ET Est Time: 3 min
Drew Timme Gonzaga Bulldogs NCCAB
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

It's never too early to start looking at March Madness odds, with a new season roughly three months away.

With many star players from last season graduating to the professional ranks, it gives schools a chance to reset as they make their push for the NCAA Tournament with returning players and new talent.

Gonzaga is one of those teams that will be without a number of its biggest stars from last season's strong run, but how will that impact its college basketball odds a year after losing in the title game?

Let's find out with an early look at the 2022 odds to win March Madness.

2022 March Madness odds

Gonzaga, last year's runner-up, and Villanova are the early favorites.

Odds via the Covers Line, an average comprised of odds from multiple sportsbooks.

Compare March Madness odds before betting to ensure you get the best number.

March Madness favorites

Gonzaga will be without stars Jalen Suggs, Corey Kispert, and Joel Ayayi, who are all entering the NBA draft. But they are still a +700 favorite to win March Madness a year after a surprise loss in the title game to Baylor. Gonzaga was a heavy pre-tournament favorite to the National Championship game after an undefeated season up until that point. 

The Bulldogs will be returning key players from that team, though, including Drew Timme and Andrew Nembhard. Timme averaged 19 points and 7.0 rebounds per game last season and should be one of the nation's leading scorers and a favorite for player of the year.

Villanova is second on the board at +900 odds to win the NCAA Tournament. Though they will be losing key pieces, such as leading scorer Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, they will still be returning Collin Gillespie and Jermaine Samuels — two double-digit scorers last season who will be coming back for a fifth year. Villanova lost to Baylor in the Sweet 16.

Michigan and UCLA are next on the board, tied at +1,200. The two teams met in the Elite 8 last season, with UCLA pulling off the upset on the No. 1-seeded Wolverines.

The Wolverines will lose Franz Wagner and likely a couple of others to the NBA, but will have a bunch of seniors coming back. UCLA, meanwhile, will benefit greatly from NCAA Tournament breakout star Johnny Juzang's decision to return to the Bruins instead of entering the draft.

Purdue rounds out the Top 5 at +1,300.

Other notables include Duke at +1,400, tied with the defending champion Bears. Illinois, last season's Midwest No. 1 seed going into March Madness, is at +2,200 odds to win.

Where can I bet on March Madness?

March Madness is one of the busiest times of the year for online sportsbooks and is very popular with bettors. Every betting site will offer March Madness odds, but the best 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.

Past March Madness winners

Season National Champion Odds Prior to Round 1 of March Madness
2020-21 Baylor Bears +500
2019-20 Tournament canceled N/A
2018-19 Virginia Cavaliers +675
2017-18 Villanova Wildcats +570
2016-17 North Carolina Tar Heels +535
2015-16 Villanova Wildcats +1,500
2014-15 Duke Blue Devils +1,000
2013-14 Connecticut Huskies +9,500
2012-13 Louisville Cardinals +450
2011-12 Kentucky Wildcats +185
2010-11 Connecticut Huskies +2,500
2009-10 Duke Blue Devils +650
2008-09 North Carolina Tar Heels +400
2007-08 Kansas Jayhawks +700
2006-07 Florida Gators +400
2005-06 Florida Gators +2,000
2004-05 North Carolina Tar Heels +350
2003-04 Connecticut Huskies +450
2002-03 Syracuse Orange +1,800
2001-02 Maryland Terrapins +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

Key point for March Madness odds:

• Sportsbooks have already released odds for 20222 March Madness, with Gonzaga (+700) again favored to take the title.

March Madness odds FAQs

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