March Madness Final Four Predictions 2023: Odds, Picks & Best Bets - AAC representatives set up nicely for deep NCAA Tournament runs
The madness is finally here! Starting with the First Four on Tuesday, we will be treated to 3 weeks of nonstop college basketball – ending with the Final Four and eventually the Championship Game in early April. Make sure you check out all of the useful resources that Pickwise has to offer during the NCAA Tournament to help make informed decisions when filling out your bracket and building your betting card.
Are there any Cinderella teams capable of going on a run to the Final Four this year? Which metrics are most important to consider? What seeds have the best chance to advance to Houston? These are all questions that I can help answer. Here are some quick tips for picking your Final Four teams.
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Final Four Quick Tips and Info
- There has been more than one 1-seed in the Final Four just 4 times in the last 10 tournaments. However, a 1-seed has won the last 5 championships and 12 of the last 15.
- After 2-seed Villanova won the title in 2016, 2-seeds failed to make the Final Four in consecutive years. However, they have rebounded in a big way as of late with at least 1 team representing the #2’s in each of the last 3 Final Fours.
- Excluding Gonzaga and Houston – 2 of the nation’s premier programs as of late – there has been only 1 team outside basketball’s power conferences to make the Final Four in the last 8 tournaments: Loyola Chicago (2018).
- Since #8 Butler and #11 VCU went on a run in 2011, there has been at least 1 7-11 seed in the Final Four in 9 out of the last 11 tournaments.
- Last year was the first year since 2016 in which 2 teams from the same conference made it to the Final Four. It happened 3 consecutive times prior to that in 2013-2015.
Honorable Mention – #11 is the lowest seed to make it to the Final Four. There have been 5 of them to do so – LSU (1986), George Mason (2006), VCU (2011), Loyola Chicago (2018), UCLA (2021).
Honorable Mention – A vast majority of teams that make it to the Final 4 rank in the top 40 of KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency ratings. Only 3 out of the last 40 Final Four teams ranked outside the top 40 of that metric at year’s end, while none were outside the top 50.
Check out those last 2 tips and much more in our March Madness bracket guide!
Final Four Odds
Here are the Final Four odds for the top 5 teams in each region, as well for some of the popular teams that are seeded lower. Odds are courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook.
#1 – Alabama Crimson Tide (+190)
#2 – Arizona Wildcats (+440)
#3 – Baylor Bears (+600)
#4 – Virginia Cavaliers (+1000)
#5 – San Diego State Aztecs (+1000)
HM – #6 Creighton Bluejays (+800)
#1 – Houston Cougars (+120)
#2 – Texas Longhorns (+450)
#3 – Xavier Musketeers (+900)
#4 – Indiana Hoosiers (+1200)
#5 – Miami Hurricanes (+1600)
HM – #7 Texas A&M Aggies (+1000), #10 Penn State (+2600)
#1 – Kansas Jayhawks (+320)
#2 – UCLA Bruins (+320)
#3 – Gonzaga Bulldogs (+400)
#4 – UConn Huskies (+550)
#5 – Saint Mary’s Gaels (+1000)
HM – #6 TCU Horned Frogs (+900), #8 Arkansas Razorbacks (+2000)
#1 – Purdue Boilermakers (+300)
#2 – Marquette Golden Eagles (+420)
#3 – Kansas State Wildcats (+900)
#4 – Tennessee Volunteers (+500)
#5 – Duke Blue Devils (+850)
HM – #6 Kentucky Wildcats (+850), #8 Memphis Tigers +(1800)
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Houston Cougars (+120)
While the odds are not too attractive, I think the Cougars have the “easiest” path to the Final Four of all the top seeded teams. They are 7-2 SU against tournament teams and have experienced guards in Marcuss Sasser, Jamal Shead, and Tramon Mark – who all have played in the NCAA Tournament in the last 2 years. The Cougars play extremely hard, and they have an elite defense that ranks 4th nationally according to KenPom and 3rd nationally over the last month per BartTorvik. They pair their defense with a highly efficient offense and elite offensive rebounding, which makes them extremely difficult to beat. A Cougars-Longhorns matchup in the Elite 8 to earn a spot in the Final 4 in Houston would be must-see tv.
Memphis Tigers (+1800)
The Tigers would most likely have to go through Purdue and Duke or Tennessee to get to the Elite 8, but they have the pieces to do so. Memphis is extremely tough on both sides of the ball, ranking in the top 21 in adjusted offensive efficiency and defensive efficiency over the last month per BartTorvik. They are top 40 on both sides of the floor over the course of the entire season and have veteran leadership all over the roster. In fact, just 1 player in the rotation is not a senior while their main competitors in the East region rely heavily on freshmen and sophomores.
Point guard Kendric Davis (22.1 PPG) is one of the best scorers in the country, and carries one of the highest usage rates in all of college basketball. He has an elite assist rate to go with a low turnover rate and is nearly automatic from the free throw line – which will be huge for Memphis in close games. His primary running mate, forward DeAndre Williams, averages 17.8 PPG and 8.0 RPG and makes up for his lack of interior size with elite athleticism and physicality. He could be a tough matchup for Zach Edey in the Round of 32 due to his quickness. The Tigers gave Gonzaga a run for its money in the Round of 32 last year without Davis on the roster. With him, they are very capable of a deep run. Opposing offensive rebounding rate is my only concern.
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