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March Madness 2024: What to Expect Predictions & Favorites

   March Madness 2024: What to Expect Predictions & Favorites

February 29, 2024

march madness

March Madness 2024 is nearly here. The NCAA is set to pit its best male and female basketball teams against each other in a search for supremacy. We will take a look at the strongest-looking men’s teams ahead of the prestigious tournament, as well as the odds attached to them heading into it.

The tourney lived up to the billing in 2023 as the No. 16 seeded UConn Huskies won their fifth championship after steadying the rudder when it mattered most, having entered as early-season favorites before dropping off as they hit a poor run of form.

The final was certainly not what fans expected as the Huskies matched up against No. 5 seed San Diego State, which is what made it all the more exciting.

Selection Sunday is set for March 17, and teams eagerly await.

Fans are already making their bets as legal betting is available in more states this time around.
Players have the option to place their money both in person and online, from the well-known from Nevada to New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

With enthusiasts from states like Colorado, Illinois, and Michigan joining the fray, sports betting North Carolina, for example, was not an option last year but online wagering is set to become legal on March 11, making the fan experience even more of an intrigue.

Sportsbooks experience a flurry of activity during March Madness as NCAA college basketball attracts a large section of the betting pot during the season, with things coming to a boil by the time the tournament rolls around.

Bookmakers typically post odds for the knockout period the summer before the season starts but they are fluid and are changed very often as players get injured, suspended, or change schools.

Odds can be altered on a near-daily basis once the season kicks off in November, so betting strategies naturally adjust with the changes.

Betting trends tend to follow certain known factors as they pertain to the tourney. It’s worth noting that seven of the 20 teams that have entered the tournament with unblemished records have won the national championship that year. Also, only 13 teams have been able to put up a successful defense after winning a title, something that could come into play this season.

Since regional seeding was introduced in 1979, the No. 1 seed has won nearly 60 percent of the time.

The UCLA Bruins have won the most titles, with 11. However, they haven’t been able to lift one since 1995.

The Huskies are favored to repeat last year’s feat as they are the outright favorites at +500 following their blowout 76-59 win over San Diego State.

While they lost some key players in Adama Sanogo and Jordan Hawkins, with both players leaving for the pros, they remain the most formidable team in college basketball, with head coach Dan Hurley getting freshmen Donovan Clingan and Alex Caraban back. Andre Jackson Jr. also returned as a senior.

Connecticut boasted a 25-3 record at the time of writing, with a 15-2 conference record while having gone 15-0 at home. They have held all but two teams under 80 points all season.

The Purdue Boilermakers are next up at 7/1, having won the Big Ten Conference Tournament title last season after a 29-6 record (15-5 in their conference). They suffered an embarrassing upset at the hands of Farleigh Dickinson in the first round.

They’ll be looking to go a lot further this year. They also hold a 25-3 overall record and are 14-3 in said conference with no losses in 14 games at home. They’ve faced stern opposition all season and have beaten six Top 25 teams so far.

The Houston Cougars are 15/2 and pose a huge threat at the moment at No. 2. They will be keen on going further than the Sweet 16 this season following an exit from the round last year after an upset loss to the Miami Hurricanes.

Houston is also unbeaten at home and boasts a 16-0 record on their own floor while holding a 25-3 record overall, with a 12-3 record in the Big 12.

While they dropped consecutive games to Iowa State and TCU in January, we can tip them to reach the Final Four as they currently own the best defense in the nation.

As always, there are several strong teams to watch out for during March Madness 2024. While the UConn Huskies are the favorites to win it all again, they will face stiff competition from the likes of the Purdue Boilermakers and the Houston Cougars. The Arizona Wildcats, Tennessee Volunteers, and Auburn Tigers are also teams to watch out for.

Once March Madness is on, anything can happen, and upsets are part of the excitement. It will be interesting to see which teams rise to the occasion and which ones fall short in their quest for glory in 2024.

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