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NCAA Tournament 2024 Odds - March Madness Favorites

Written by: Andrew Norton
Fact-checked by: James Whitelock
Updated March 1, 2024
10 min read

The 2023-24 regular season is approaching, with just a handful of conference games left before conference tournaments start. And then, we know what comes next! It is the optimal time to check out which teams will likely be in the 2024 NCAA Tournament and whether their odds have betting value.

March Madness, as the NCAA Tournament is often known, is one of the most significant sporting events in the United States, with a total of 67 games spanning roughly three weeks. It is a single-elimination tournament that features 68 teams, 32 of which are conference tournament winners, while the other 36 garner “at-large” bids for their impressive play throughout the season.

So, which teams can we expect to not only make the 2024 NCAA Tournament, one of the greatest gauntlets in sports but also win? Let’s get into it further below!

Who Has the Best Odds to Win the NCAA Tournament 2024?

As of February 2024, the Connecticut Huskies have the best odds (+500) to win the NCAA Tournament.

However, the Houston Cougars (+750), Purdue Boilermakers (+750), and Tennessee Volunteers (+1300) are not too far behind.

Odds taken from DraftKings Sportsbook. Head over to DraftKings to place your bets!

NCAA Basketball Tournament Predictions

Who Can Win March Madness 2024?

Tier 1: Purdue, UConn, Houston, North Carolina, and Arizona

Purdue Predictions +750 at DraftKings

The two major questions about the Purdue Boilermakers heading into this season, “Who will step up and be secondary scorers behind Edey,” and “Can Purdue improve its three-point shooting,” have seemingly been answered. 

At the time of writing, the Boilermakers were shooting over 40% from behind the arc, ranking them in the top five in the nation in that category. Further, Braden Smith and Fletcher Loyer have elevated their games substantially from last season to this one. It certainly doesn’t hurt that senior transfer Lance Jones has emerged as a legitimate secondary scoring threat for Purdue, too.

These two questions were especially important after their weaknesses were exposed last year in a loss to a No. 16 seed in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. It seems that Purdue has indeed put its worst loss in program history in its rearview mirror.

The Boilermakers brought back Zach Edey, Braden Smith, Fletcher Loyer, Mason Gillis, Ethan Morton, Trey Kaufman-Renn, and Caleb Furst. Brandon Newman was the only departure from last season’s team. Edey, a 7-foot-4 center and reigning Wooden Award winner, has picked up exactly where he left off last year. Edey is complemented by guards Jones, Loyer, and Smith, who are all capable scorers, shooters, and creators for this Boilermakers squad.

Purdue is deep and has the talent to be a championship-contending team; it ranks second in KenPom’s adjusted efficiency margin, with the second-highest adjusted offensive efficiency ranking and a top-25 defense in the nation. 

The Boilermakers generate some of the cleanest looks from behind the arc of any team in Division One, as Edey pins his defender deep in the paint, and when the double-teams come, he kicks the ball out to open teammates; it is foolproof, as long as Purdue has players who can knock down the shots.

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UConn Predictions +500 at DraftKings

Not many teams in college basketball can say that they lost their two most dominant players from an NCAA Championship team and still were a true contender the next season; however, Connecticut is going to have no issues doing just that by the time the 2023-24 campaign is all said and done.

The Huskies lost their top two scorers (Jordan Hawkins and Adama Sanogo), who combined for nearly 33 points and 12 rebounds of production per game. That might not sink every program, but it certainly wouldn’t be conducive to putting another championship-caliber team on the floor.

Luckily for UConn, it brought back Donovan Clingan, Alex Karaban, and Tristen Newton, three vital pieces from its championship squad. Clingan, a 7-foot-2 rim-protecting center, uses his size, strength, length, and coordination to wreak havoc in the paint on both ends of the floor, while Newton has proven to be one of the most well-rounded players in America, leading the Huskies in points, rebounds, and assists per game. 

Further, Karaban is another integral piece of the equation, as his combination of scoring talent and rebounding prowess adds another layer to this elite team.

The Huskies would have been in solid shape had they just brought those three players back and built solely around them; however, they brought in a lottery-level talent in freshman guard Stephon Castle, as well as Cam Spencer, an experienced sharpshooting guard who transferred from Rutgers.

Meanwhile, Solomon Ball, Samson Johnson, and Hassan Diarra provide important bench minutes for the Huskies’ second unit; they are eight or nine players deep, which is a great recipe for a squad with championship aspirations.

UConn has one of the steadiest offensive attacks in the nation, boasting an array of players who can score at all three levels. Clingan’s physicality and size occupy most opponents’ frontcourts, allowing the Huskies to grab many offensive rebounds. Castle, Spencer, and Newton can light it up at any point, while Karaban can stretch larger frontcourts and help space the floor. Head coach Dan Hurley’s elaborate half-court offensive sets, in conjunction with the talent that he has helped put on the floor, have the Huskies in “position A” for another title run in the 2024 NCAA Tournament.

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Houston Predictions +750 at DraftKings

Kelvin Sampson has built this Houston Cougars program into a legitimate title contender every year. Sampson and the Cougars lost All-American Marcus Sasser and top-ten pick Jarace Walker to the NBA, while Tramon Mark transferred to Arkansas to play for the Razorbacks. 

However, Houston was able to return Emanuel Sharp, Jamal Shead, J’Wan Roberts, Ja’Vier Francis, and Terrance Arceneaux, though; it also secured Baylor’s L.J. Cryer and Temple’s Damian Dunn in the transfer portal. Houston has not skipped a beat between the five key returners and the two exceptional transfers.

The Cougars have spent the majority of the 2023-24 regular seasons as the top-ranked defense (first in KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency), which should not be a surprise to anyone. 

As a matter of fact, Houston is far and away the best defensive team in the nation; the difference between the Cougars and the second-best defense is roughly the same difference as the second-best defense to the 19th-best. From the beginning of the season to the beginning of the new year, Houston ranked first in opponent effective field goal percentage and opponent points per game, and third in opponent turnovers per game.

There are two things that any Sampson-coached team will do at an extremely high level, regardless of offensive talent: offensive rebounding and defense. 

Houston is a tier one contender, with its healthy balance of returners and transfers who are all bought into the program. The Cougars might not get the recruits that Duke, Kentucky, or Kansas get; however, they have structured a much more stable model that can survive in the chaos of the transfer portal era.

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North Carolina Predictions +1800 at DraftKings

Perhaps, the Tar Heels’ late year success and consequent deep NCAA Tournament run in 2022 led to expectations that the next season would be easy, especially with most of their key players returning to the team. 

However, that could not have wound up being farther from the truth, as North Carolina, who was ranked first in the nation in the 2022-23 preseason, ended up missing the NCAA Tournament altogether. No team in college basketball history had been ranked first in the preseason and missed March Madness until UNC did it last year.

The Tar Heels’ leading scorer from the past two seasons, Caleb Love, transferred from the program to head to Arizona, but UNC was able to bring back Armando Bacot, R.J. Davis, Seth Trimble, and Jalen Washington, as well as bring in Harrison Ingram, Cormac Ryan, and Jae’Lyn Withers as key transfers. North Carolina also got a five-star freshman guard in Elliot Cadeau who has continued to progress throughout the 2023-24 campaign.

Thus far in the season, UNC has really impressed, sitting as high as fifth in KenPom’s adjusted efficiency margin; it also only has three losses through its first 16 games despite playing the eighth-hardest schedule (opponent adjEM) in the nation. 

The Tar Heels are leaps and bounds better on both ends of the floor, but their defensive improvements have been by far the most impressive. There are not any college basketball fans or experts who would deem last season’s struggles on a lack of talent and, luckily, UNC brought a lot of that back in Davis and Bacot.

Davis averages over 20 points per game, while Bacot posts close to 15 points and 11 rebounds. The additions of Cormac Ryan and Harrison Ingram have also been huge, as they combine for roughly 24 points and 11 rebounds. With Cadeau directing the offense and Trimble, Washington, and Withers playing key roles as reserves, this Tar Heels squad could finish the job they set out to do two years ago.

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Arizona Predictions +1400 at DraftKings

No Azuolas Tubelis, no Courtney Ramey, no Kerr Kriisa? No problem. The Arizona Wildcats have already put together an impressive NCAA Tournament resume by beating Duke (on the road), Alabama, Wisconsin, and Michigan State in their non-conference matchups. 

Their only non-conference losses were against Purdue and Florida Atlantic in double-overtime.

The Wildcats were able to keep Oumar Ballo, Pelle Larsson, and Kylan Boswell rostered for this season while also snagging highly-coveted North Carolina transfer Caleb Love and San Diego State transfer Keshad Johnson. 

Those five players average between 12 and 17 points per game for Arizona; its offense is one of the best in the nation. Arizona loves to play up-tempo (tenth in adjusted tempo) and has the personnel to outscore any team in the nation; however, the Wildcats don’t just rely on offensive output. They are one of the most physical teams in America.

Few teams play with the sense of urgency that the Wildcats play with on a nightly basis. They force turnovers at a high rate, get out in transition, and put a ton of points on the board. Arizona even brings down most of its misses on the offensive end of the floor, making it a force to be reckoned with.

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Tier 2: Tennessee, Kansas, Auburn, and Marquette

Tennessee Predictions +1300 at DraftKings

Sure, the Tennessee Volunteers miss Julian Phillips and Olivier Nkamhoua. Uros Plavsic’s physicality in the paint has also been missed, especially on the defensive glass, which is one of the only weaknesses that this team possesses. But the Volunteers still brought back three exceptional guards in Santiago Vescovi, Zakai Zeigler, and Josiah-Jordan James, three of their four leading scorers from the 2022-23 season. Jonas Aidoo has also been sensational in his junior season for the Vols!

In last season’s NCAA Tournament, the Volunteers had to make a run without their starting point guard, Zeigler, who suffered an incredibly untimely torn ACL on senior night. Zeigler’s absence left a void, as he was the team’s best facilitator and perimeter defender. Still, Tennessee made a Sweet 16 and could have reached the Elite Eight or Final Four had Zeigler been healthy. 

Tennessee was already set to have one of the best two-way backcourts in the nation, and it only improved when coveted fifth-year senior transfer Dalton Knecht announced that he would join the Vols for his final season. Knecht is an elite perimeter scoring threat who can also use his size and athleticism to score in both the half-court and the fastbreak. 

Don’t put too much stock into Tennessee’s record, as its non-conference schedule has been amongst the toughest in the nation. The Volunteers have played Purdue, Wisconsin, Kansas, North Carolina, and Illinois before the start of conference play, which can only mean good things for later in the season, especially tournament time.

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Kansas Predictions +2800 at DraftKings

Kansas lost its top two scorers (Gradey Dick and Jalen Wilson), but don’t worry: the Jayhawks brought in more than enough to make up for those losses. Their most important acquisition was 7-foot-1 stretch-five Hunter Dickinson, who has proved to be an extremely efficient player on all three levels offensively. Dickinson also has given Kansas an interior defensive presence that it did not have last season; he has quickly fill in the gaps needed from the loss of Wilson’s offensive production. 

At the same time, Bill Self snagged one of the best guard recruits, Elmarko Jackson, and brought over Johnny Furphy from Australia, who has become a vital piece to the Jayhawks’ offensive attack. Despite the losses of Gradey and Wilson, Kansas also returned three experienced and talented upperclassmen, including Kevin McCullar Jr., K.J. Adams Jr., and Dajuan Harris Jr., who have continued to improve.

Bill Self and the Jayhawks usually keep their rotations tight, never digging deeper than nine guys at the very most. If they can avoid injuries, this is an uber-talented core that can thrive defensively like last season but also play at a higher level offensively.

The biggest issue for Kansas right now is the health of Kevin McCullar Jr., who has missed several games recently due to injury. If McCullar is healthy for the Big 12 Conference tournament and the NCAA Tournament, then Kansas remains firmly in Tier 2. However, if he continues to miss time, the Jayhawks will drop off this list entirely. Nonetheless, it could be a solid time to buy low on them because of recent struggles!

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Auburn Predictions +2000 at DraftKings

Few frontcourt duos are as offensively talented and physically imposing as Johni Broome and Jaylin Williams. Broome, in particular, has been a bona fide All-American on both ends of the floor, averaging just shy of a double-double with points and rebounds while also logging roughly 2.5 blocks per game on the defensive end of the floor.

But the Auburn Tigers aren’t solely reliant on their frontcourt to keep them competitive; they also have a handful of guards who can provide scoring, playmaking, and defense every night, including Chad Baker-Mazara, Aden Holloway, Denver Jones, Tre Donaldson, and K.D. Johnson, who all average between seven and ten points per game.

The Tigers are an elite defensive team, as it has top-tier rim protection with Broome and a plethora of wing players who contest without fouling on the perimeter and don’t get blown by on straight-line drives. Auburn ranks fourth in KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency metric and first in opponent effective field goal percentage nationally.

Defense wins championships, but we want to see a bit more offensive consistency, especially from their guards, before the Tigers can be a Tier 1 team for us.

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Marquette Predictions +2000 at DraftKings

On a list of the most experienced teams in the country, Marquette certainly would rank towards the top after bringing back nearly everybody from last season’s dual Big East championship squad. The Golden Eagles’ core of Tyler Kolek, Kam Jones, Oso Ighodaro, David Joplin, Stevie Mitchell, and Chase Ross is still in tact, with Olivier-Maxence Prosper as the sole departee. 

Marquette didn’t start the season as strongly as many expected but it has climbed back to the expected form, dominating the second half of their 2023-24 campaign by winning 11 of 12 games between mid January and the end of February. The Golden Eagles’ only loss in that stretch was to the UConn Huskies on the road. That loss makes plenty of sense and doesn’t concern us at all in the long run.

The Golden Eagles are one of the few teams in the nation that rank in the top 25 in adjusted offensive and defensive efficiencies as well as adjusted offensive and defensive shot quality, analytically proving that they are a nightmare to deal with. Of course, that should already be obvious based on their play in February.

The trio of Ighodaro, Jones, and Kolek can lead this team to a national championship because of their leadership, cohesion, and chemistry; they have played together for a while and have experienced success. Further, they are going to be motivated to make a deep run after an early exit last season.

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Tier 3: Duke and Kentucky

Duke Predictions +2800 at DraftKings

Duke is another team that has a surprising amount of key returners, including Tyrese Proctor, Mark Mitchell, Kyle Filipowski, and Jeremy Roach. Except for Roach, all of those players likely would have been drafted if they declared at the end of the 2022-23 season; however, they decided to come back, not only to improve their draft stock but also to make another run at a National Championship.

Further, the Blue Devils brought in a solid recruiting class featuring top-ten recruit Jared McCain, who has started alongside the above returners. Joining McCain to provide bench depth as freshmen are T.J. Power, Sean Stewart, and Caleb Foster, all high-level four-star recruits.

Duke will have plenty of talent across the board and enough depth to stay afloat in case of injuries or foul trouble. However, its physicality in a tournament environment, especially against teams like Tennessee, is still a question mark. If the Blue Devils can overcome those obstacles, they could be National Championship contenders.

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Kentucky Predictions +2200 at DraftKings

Kentucky’s roster turnover is substantial once again. After a mediocre season by its standards, Kentucky is bringing in an elite recruiting class, highlighted by Justin Edwards, Aaron Bradshaw, Rob Dillingham, Reed Sheppard, Zvonimir Ivisic, and D.J. Wagner. Most teams would be delighted to secure two players of their caliber; Kentucky is bringing in six of them.

The combination of Bradshaw and Ivisic will create a massive, physical frontcourt. At the same time, Edwards, Wagner, and Dillingham will immediately come in and impact both sides of the floor on the perimeter. The Wildcats also return second-leading scorer and super senior Antonio Reeves; they were also able to convince West Virginia standout Tre Mitchell to transfer over. 

There were growing pains in the early part of this season for Kentucky, but it has thrown a number of these freshman in the proverbial fire and they have proven that they belong at the highest collegiate level. Reed Sheppard, Robert Dillingham, Aaron Bradshaw, and Justin Edwards are all projected to be first-round picks in the upcoming 2024 NBA Draft!

With Bradshaw healthy, and everyone else beginning to get on the same page, the Wildcats could make a deep push in the 2024 NCAA Tournament.

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NCAA Tournament FAQ

Where Will the NCAA Tournament 2024 Be Held?

What are the Dates for March Madness 2024?

Which Team Has Won the Most NCAA Tournaments in College Basketball?

Who Is the Current NCAA Tournament Champion?

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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.

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