Are #1 seeds really a good bet in the NCAA Tournament?

Can #1 seeds be a smart future bet in the NCAA Tournament?

Some might say it’s too obvious, but think about it: these teams earned the top spot for a reason. They’ve proven themselves against tough competition to get there. So, betting on them could be a pretty solid move. Since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985 and then to 68 teams in 2011. 24 out of the last 38 national championship winners have been #1 seeds and seven out of the last 10 years, a #1 seed has been victorious. 

But while they have won an outstanding 63% since 1985, #1 seeds winning is not a guarantee. For example, in 2023 all the #1 seeds were eliminated before the Elite Eight, showing how unpredictable the tournament can be sometimes. There has also only been one time since 1985 where all four #1 seeds made the Final Four, showing that it is a rare occurrence that all four number one seeds make it that far. 

Top seeds are often favored for good reasons. While their odds may be shorter and payouts lower, they consistently demonstrate superior performance and are more likely to advance in the tournament. Sure, it might seem boring to bet on the favorites, but history shows that it’s a strategy that can pay off. Since 1985, the top three or four seeds have consistently dominated March Madness, securing the majority of Final Four appearances, championship game berths, and national titles.  

#1 Seeds in 2024

UConn is the 31 seeed in the East and they stand at an impressive 31-3 this season, eyeing a back-to-back national title, a feat not seen since Florida in 2006-2007. Houston, with a strong 30-4 record, relies on their stellar defense, ranking first in points allowed at just 57 per game. Purdue, at 29-4, owes their #1 seed in the Midwest to Zach Edey‘s standout performance, averaging 24.4 points and 11.7 rebounds per game. Securing the final #1 seed, is one of the best second-half teams in the game, North Carolina, led by ACC Player of the Year RJ Davis.  

Here are the #1 seeds their Final Four odds and odds to win it all posted at FanDuel: 

Team Final Four Odds National Championship Odds
UConn +110 +370
Houston +135 +600
Purdue +165 +700
North Carolina +340 +1700

While backing underdogs can be appealing, especially with enticing plus odds, it’s important to be cautious. Only a small fraction of champions in the past decades have been seeded below third place – only 20% to be exact, with no team seeded below eighth ever clinching the title. Anything can happen, trends could start to shift, but it is important to keep this data in mind to make an informed decision when betting this March Madness. 

While underdog stories are tempting and Cinderella stories are good for TV ratings, betting on #1 seeds remains a solid choice for profiting from betting on March Madness. With a strong track record of victories, these teams are reliable contenders. However, upsets can happen, highlighting the tournament’s unpredictability. Still, considering the historical dominance of top seeds, it’s wise for bettors to take a long look at #1 seeds when making March Madness National Champion future bets. 

Add your comment

Your email address will not be published.