March Madness Final Four Predictions, Odds, Picks: Transfer Portal Chaos Shifting Betting Odds

Written by: Andrew Norton
Updated March 27, 2024
17 min read
  • Kansas, Houston, UConn, Duke, Alabama, and North Carolina have the best 2025 National Championship odds as of May 2024.

  • The 2023 NCAA Tournament was the first time that a No. 1, 2, and 3 seed failed to make the Final Four. 

  • The highest combination of seeds in a Final Four happened in 2011 when the seeds totaled 26.   

The 2024 Final Four featured two No. 1 seeds, one No. 4 seed, and one No. 11 seed, which resulted in a far more predictable Final Four than the previous year. Will we see something more predictable in 2025, especially given the momentum that NIL deals and the transfer portal have given to major programs?

Early signs point to the powerhouse programs having another dominant season due to money, reputation, and exposure opportunities.

The transfer portal has turned into a second form of recruiting, as it seems like few players stay at just one college for their entire career anymore. So, which teams have positioned themselves well entering the 2024-25 college basketball season? Let’s get into it below.

March Madness Final Four/Championship Odds 

In order for a team to make it to the Final Four, they have to make the NCAA Tournament and then win their first four games. 

If a team is one of the “Last Fo ur In” to the field, they have to win their “First Four” game before squeezing into the field of 64, which means that a five-game winning streak would be necessary for a Final Four run.

In 2021, the UCLA Bruins were the first team to make the Final Four after playing in a “First Four” game. 

Disclaimer: The table below currently has NCAA Championship odds in lieu of Final Four odds, as the latter has not been released yet. Take a look at the NCAA Championship odds, courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook. Once the Final Four odds are released, we will update this table to reflect them.

Kansas Jayhawks+1000
UConn Huskies+1100
Duke Blue Devils+1100
Houston Cougars+1400
Alabama Crimson Tide+1500
North Carolina Tar Heels+1500
Baylor Bears+1800
Gonzaga Bulldogs+2200
Arizona Wildcats+2200
Iowa State Cyclones+2500
Auburn Tigers+2500
Arkansas Razorbacks+2500
Purdue Boilermakers+3000
Kentucky Wildcats+3500
Rutgers Scarlet Knights+3500
Michigan State Spartans+4000
Illinois Fighting Illini+4000
Texas Longhorns+4000
Tennessee Volunteers+4000
Creighton Bluejays+4000
Michigan Wolverines+5000
Miami Hurricanes+5000
Marquette Golden Eagles+5000
Indiana Hoosiers+5000
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Final Four Predictions

March Madness Final Four Predictions - Favorites to Make Final Four 

In the section below, we cover our March Madness Final Four predictions, which include the teams listed below.

Favorite: Kansas Jayhawks

The Kansas Jayhawks are one of just five D-I teams that did not have any portals hit the transfer portal, joining Army, Navy, Marquette, and Binghamton. If that does not tell you about the culture, chemistry, focus, and determination of this incoming team, then it is hard to say what would. 

It should not be hard to explain Army and Navy’s retention, but for the Jayhawks to be one of the other teams as a major D-I program is shocking and a perfect indication of how these players feel about head coach Bill Self, the Jayhawks’ program, and their fans.

Kansas retained 7-foot-2 do-it-all center Hunter Dickinson after acquiring him in the transfer portal last spring; he will be undoubtedly one of the best big men in the nation once again after averaging roughly 18 points and 11 rebounds on a 55/35/62 shooting split. 

A slight improvement in 3-point shooting and free throw shooting would make Dickinson arguably the most well-rounded overall player (or at least one of them) regardless of position in college basketball. 

Three other key contributors from last season’s contending team return alongside Dickinson, including K.J. Adams Jr., Dajuan Harris Jr., and Elmarko Jackson. There is also a possibility that freshman guard/forward Johnny Furphy will return, too, even though he declared for the NBA Draft.

Then, Bill Self decided that he was going to dominate the transfer portal in a similar fashion to another team listed below. Self brought in Zeke Mayo, a guard transfer from South Dakota State, guard Rylan Griffen, a sharpshooter from Alabama’s Final Four team, Riley Kugel, a guard from Florida, and standout guard A.J. Storr from Wisconsin. Talk about a ridiculous haul.

Kansas was a consensus top-25 team for essentially the entire year but a late-season injury to Kevin McCullar Jr., which clearly disrupted the team’s momentum and chemistry, derailed its championship hopes. 

The Jayhawks had an abundance of talent last year, but that team will pale in comparison to the talent and depth they have this year. In fact, Kansas also signed a 5-star freshman center, Flory Bidunga, who was ranked as the No. 17 prospect in the ESPN 100. 

The frontcourt of Dickinson, Storr, and Adams Jr. will be undoubtedly one of the top two or three units in the nation. If depth is considered in that frontcourt ranking, the Jayhawks might rise to No. 1, as Bidunga will be coming off the bench.

The backcourt for Kansas is equally as dangerous, with Jackson, Griffen, Harris, Kugel, and Mayo. There is little chance that a backcourt in the country has even a remote shot at stopping this ridiculous unit.

Regardless of Furphy’s decision, the Jayhawks will be the team to beat entering the 2024-25 regular season. Anything short of Big 12 regular season and tournament titles and a National Championship should be considered a failure for this beyond-loaded squad.

Bet on Kansas Jayhawks at DraftKings 

Contingent Favorite: Alabama Crimson Tide

After making a Final Four in 2024 behind elite play from Mark Sears, Grant Nelson, and the rest of the Crimson Tide squad, Alabama is again well-positioned for a deep run and a possible National Championship.

The reason that the Crimson Tide are listed as a “contingent favorite” is because Sears, a senior with another year of eligibility, has declared for the 2024 NBA Draft but has left the door open for returning to Alabama.

If Sears returns, the Crimson Tide will have the best player in college basketball back on their roster and join a plethora of other returning and incoming players. Reclassified freshman forward Jarin Stevenson also declared for the draft but could opt to return, especially if he gets feedback that doesn’t align with where he hopes to be selected. 

In most mock drafts right now, Stevenson is not a first-round selection, meaning that he will likely return and try to elevate his draft stock. Sears is projected anywhere from the late first round to the second round.

Also set to return are Grant Nelson and Latrell Wrightsell Jr., two huge contributors to last season’s elite offensive attack. Nelson, a 6-foot-11 unicorn forward with some guard skills and terrific mobility for his size, had a somewhat underwhelming season; however, few players in the nation have the potential and upside that Nelson possesses on both sides of the floor. 

If Sears, Nelson, Stevenson, and Wrightsell all return, then that alone would make them a contending team, but head coach Nate Oats also did a phenomenal job of bringing in additional talent. 

That haul of talent includes Aden Holloway, a former 5-star guard at Auburn, Clifford Omoruyi, a double-double machine for Rutgers, Houston Mallette, a sharpshooting guard from Pepperdine, and Chris Youngblood, one of the AAC’s best scorers and shooters.

Oats also snagged four top freshmen recruits, featuring Derrion Reid (No. 11 on ESPN 100), Aiden Sherrell (No. 21 on ESPN 100), Labaron Philon (No. 30 on ESPN 100), and Naas Cunningham (No. 62 on ESPN 100). The Crimson Tide have the second-best recruiting class in the country.

To return as much talent as they are returning, and hit the transfer portal and recruiting trail as hard as they have, says a lot about Oats and his commitment to making Bama an absolute powerhouse. Expect this team to be very similar offensively as they were last season, ranking first in KenPom’s adjusted offensive efficiency, but they should also boast one of the best defensive units.

Bet on Alabama Crimson Tide at DraftKings 

Long Shot: Indiana Hoosiers

The Indiana Hoosiers are my sleeper pick to make the March Madness Final Four. At +5000 to win the National Championship, the Hoosiers have an implied probability of 1.96% to go all the way in 2025. 

The 2023-24 regular season was underwhelming for Hoosiers fans, especially since head coach Mike Woodson didn’t move on from the antiquated “two-big” offensive concept that only worked when he had Trayce Jackson-Davis, a playmaking hub, to revolve the offense around the season before.

Still, look at who they brought back from last season’s team, who they brought in from the transfer portal, and who they recruited to the program out of high school. 

Malik Reneau and Mackenzie Mgbako are big-time offensive weapons and have another year of college basketball under their belt. Reneau averaged just shy of 16 points, six rebounds, and three assists per game on 55.8% shooting from the field, while Mgbako struggled in the beginning of the season but posted nearly 15 points per game in the last 17 games of his freshman season.

Indiana also brought back super senior guards Trey Galloway and Anthony Leal. Leal did not get much playing time but can provide valuable defense and 3-point shooting when he is on the floor. On the other hand, Galloway is a seasoned vet who has consistently seen the court for several seasons. 

While Galloway struggled with his shooting from the perimeter last season, his passing, defense, and slashing abilities allow him to be a highly effective player; he averaged close to 11 points and five assists per game for the Hoosiers.

Additionally, Indiana gets Gabe Cupps back, who logged many minutes as a freshman and could be a valuable backup in the rotation. Further, Jakai Newton, a consensus 4-star and Top 100 recruit from the 2023 class will return after missing the entire season with an injury.

That collection of players would make Indiana at least a halfway decent team entering the 2024-25 regular season, but the Hoosiers have a whole lot more incoming, including freshman 5-star forward Bryson Tucker and transfers Oumar Ballo (Arizona), Kanaan Carlyle (Stanford), Myles Rice (Washington State), and Luke Goode (Illinois). 

Indiana has had the best portal season of any team in the nation, and it might not be all that close. And the Hoosiers aren’t even done—there are two more scholarships available!

Tucker was a last-minute grab from Woodson and company after they lost Liam McNeely to a de-commit, likely because of the Hoosiers’ underperforming overall season and Mgbako ultimately deciding to stay at IU.

Meanwhile, Ballo was the best player in the portal after yet another dominating season for the Arizona Wildcats. Ballo posted 13 points and 10 rebounds per game on an astonishing 65.8% shooting from the field. With Ballo in the interior for IU, the Hoosiers will finally have some real kick-out opportunities to knock down 3-pointers.

We expect Reneau to continue his transition to the power forward position full-time, which means he should take a major leap in his perimeter game and 3-point shooting. This is good news for this Hoosiers team.

Rice and Carlyle were also two of the most highly-coveted guard transfers in the portal and should help immensely with guard play, which, besides 3-point shooting, has been by far the team’s biggest weakness. 

The questions entering this season for IU will be whether they can improve their 3-point shooting, whether Woodson can coach at a high enough level to compete with Dan Hurley, Mark Few, Kelvin Sampson, Bill Self, and Tom Izzo, and whether this group that consists of a hodgepodge of players can create enough cohesion to be a true contender.

Only time will tell, but from an experience and individual talent standpoint, this team has what it takes to be one of the best teams in the nation. Health and chemistry will be imperative, and Woodson has to elevate his coaching, which includes the team’s half-court offense and the sets associated with it. But the sky is the limit if they can click and address all of the aforementioned concerns in the 2024-25 season.

Bet on Indiana Hoosiers at DraftKings 

Who Will Win the March Madness Final Four - My Pick 

Indiana Hoosiers

Where there is value, I will always follow. Concerns about 3-point shooting and Woodson as a head coach are valid to some degree. 

But look no further than the Purdue Boilermakers in the 2023-24 season as a team that was able to fix their 3-point shooting as a team from one season to the next. 

Indiana does not need to make that drastic a change, as the Boilers catapulted from the bottom third of the country in 3P% in 2022-23 to first in 3P% in 2023-24; however, a significant leap in this area would instantly make the Hoosiers a Final Four dark horse 

Myles Rice, Kanaan Carlyle, Oumar Ballo, and Luke Goode joining forces with Malik Reneau, Mackenzie Mgbako, and Trey Galloway gives IU the size, interior play, scoring talent, defense, and rebounding necessary to compete with any team in America. 

It will all come down to how much these players work on their 3-point shooting and whether Woodson can improve his half-court offensive sets and be less stubborn in general. Adapting is imperative in college basketball; sometimes, you have to throw game plans out the window and hit the reset button.

Bet on Indiana Hoosiers at DraftKings 

Who Won the March Madness Final Four in 2023

The 2024 Final Four included two No. 1 seeds (Purdue Boilermakers and UConn Huskies), one No. 4 seed (Alabama Crimson Tide), and one No. 11 seed (N.C. State Wolfpack).

UConn and Alabama faced off in one of the Final Four matchups, with the Huskies winning by double-digits via a dominating second half. 

On the other side of the bracket, the N.C. State Wolfpack battled with the Purdue Boilermakers but fell short in their unlikely quest to make the National Championship game, leaving Purdue and UConn. Unfortunately for the Boilermakers, they were unable to secure the program’s first title, as the Huskies crushed them from start to finish.

In 2024, UConn added a sixth National Championship banner and the second one in the past two seasons. Can the Huskies become just the second program in college basketball history to win three consecutive titles?

March Madness Final Four History

The first year of the NCAA Tournament was in 1939, and it featured eight teams; however, it was not until the 1960s that the phrase “Final Four” was first used in reference to the tournament. The term became even more popularized in 1975 when Ed Chay, a Cleveland sports writer, used it in an article. 

The phrase “March Madness” was first used in conjunction with basketball by an assistant executive secretary (Henry V. Porter) for the IHSA (Illinois High School Association.) Interestingly enough, he used this phrase to describe basketball in the month of March in 1939, which just so happened to be the first year of the NCAA Tournament.

Past March Madness Final Four Winners

Check out the past 15 years of March Madness Final Four teams, beginning with the most recent seasons:

Final Four TeamsYear
UConn Huskies, Purdue Boilermakers,  Alabama Crimson Tide, N.C. State Wolfpack2024
UConn Huskies, San Diego State Aztecs, Miami Hurricanes, and Florida Atlantic Owls2023
Kansas Jayhawks, Villanova Wildcats, Duke Blue Devils, North Carolina Tar Heels2022
Baylor Bears, Gonzaga Bulldogs, Houston Cougars, UCLA Bruins2021
Virginia Cavaliers, Texas Tech Red Raiders, Auburn Tigers, Michigan State Spartans2019
Villanova Wildcats, Michigan Wolverines, Kansas Jayhawks, Loyola-Chicago Ramblers2018
North Carolina Tar Heels, Gonzaga Bulldogs, Oregon Ducks, South Carolina Gamecocks2017
Villanova Wildcats, North Carolina Tar Heels, Oklahoma Sooners, Syracuse Orange2016
Duke Blue Devils, Wisconsin Badgers, Kentucky Wildcats, Michigan State Spartans2015
UConn Huskies, Kentucky Wildcats, Florida Gators, Wisconsin Badgers2014
Louisville Cardinals, Michigan Wolverines, Syracuse Orange, Wichita State Shockers2013
Kentucky Wildcats, Kansas Jayhawks, Louisville Cardinals, Ohio State Buckeyes2012
UConn Huskies, Butler Bulldogs, Kentucky Wildcats, VCU Rams2011
Duke Blue Devils, Butler Bulldogs, Michigan State Spartans, West Virginia Mountaineers2010
North Carolina Tar Heels, Michigan State Spartans, UConn Huskies, Villanova Wildcats2009
Kansas Jayhawks, Memphis Tigers, North Carolina Tar Heels, UCLA Bruins2008

How to Choose the Best Sportsbook for Betting on the March Madness Final Four

With so many sportsbooks available, choosing which one to use can be overwhelming, especially if you are new to online sports betting. However, this section can hopefully make the process a little clearer.

Several factors can go into choosing a sportsbook, including the user interface, app navigability, betting odds, betting types, payment options, and the sports offered. Bettors who are more experienced (and bet more frequently) often have numerous online sportsbooks, so they can always find the best odds and promotions to get a betting edge.

Some of the most popular sportsbooks are BetMGM, Caesars, and FanDuel; the table below should simplify the process for you, detailing pertinent information for each online sportsbook! Let's have a look.

March Madness Final Four Winner OddsOdds Not AvailableOdds Not AvailableOdds Not Available
Welcome BonusUp to $1,500 in Bonus Bets Paid BackUp to a $1,000 First Bet on CaesarsBet $5, Get $150 in Bonus Bets 
Payment Options- ACH Payments Bank Transfer
- Visa
- Mastercard
- American Express
- Discover credit card
- PayPal
- Neteller
- Skrill
- ACH/ Instant Check- Credit Cards (Visa and Mastercard)
- Debit Cards
- Online Bank Transfer
- PayPal
- Caesars Prepaid Play+ Card
- Skrill
- ACH Payments Bank Transfer
- Mastercard
- Visa
- FanDuel Prepaid Card
- Online Transfer
- Wire Transfer
- PayPal
Withdrawal TimeInstantUp to 72 hours Instant
Bet on March Madness Final Four HereBET HEREBET HEREBET HERE

How to Read March Madness Final Four Odds

If you are a new bettor and reading betting odds overwhelms you, do not worry. We will break it down as simply as possible for you ahead of March Madness, one of the biggest sporting events in the world!

If there is a minus sign (-) in front of a team’s Final Four odds, then they are a favorite, meaning their implied probability is greater than 50%. For example, if the Houston Cougars have Final Four odds of -115, then you would have to bet $115 to win $100. 

Conversely, if a team is an underdog, then they will have a plus sign (+) in front of their Final Four odds. If the Creighton Bluejays are +450 to make the Final Four, then a bettor would have to bet $100 to win $450.

March Madness Final Four FAQ

Who is favored to win the March Madness Final Four?

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Andrew Norton

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Andrew has always been an avid sports fan and followed his hoop dreams all the way to college. He’s well-versed in everything betting with multiple years of experience and is qualitatively and quantitatively knowledgeable in sports statistics and analytics.
Nationality: American
Education: Bachelor of Arts
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