College Basketball Futures: Best Picks to Win the 2023 NCAA Tournament

July 31, 1:29 PM EDT

One might notice the enhanced odds for teams to win the title in college basketball. In other sports, the chalk is hard to withstand, as the best choices are at excruciatingly-low odds. Who really wants to bet a 2-1 or 3-1 team months in advance where everything needs to go perfectly over the course of an entire season? With bets to win next season’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, the top team is +1000. There are ten teams between +1000 and +1800 before the odds begin to plummet for the more off-the-wall choices.

Atop the list for this upcoming season is an up-and-coming Houston Cougars team at +1000. Right in that area are a gaggle of worthy contenders, including the principles from last season’s final—the North Carolina Tar Heels and the champion Kansas Jayhawks at +1100 and +1200, respectively. Duke begins the post-Coach K era at +1100, the same odds as Kentucky. Between +1400 and +1800 are Arkansas, Baylor, UCLA, Arizona, and Gonzaga. So it’s a crowded list at the top.

The questions are many. Some things are still up in the air. But the way people are looking at it now, Duke and North Carolina look really strong. Mark Few should have a solid team after a sooner-than-expected Gonzaga exit last season. Kentucky looks like they have a lineup that’s built to take this down. A healthier Arizona should be primed for a deeper run in 2022-23. Arkansas seems poised to wreak havoc. And Houston is loaded to the gills. There’s a lot to break down looking ahead to the best picks to win it all this season. Let’s get started!

Top Picks to Win the 2022-23 NCAA Basketball Tournament (Odds by Bovada)

Arkansas Razorbacks (+1400):

Only the sixth choice on the board, it seems like we’re primed to start seeing some of those great Arkansas hoops teams again as we did when Nolan Richardson was roaming the sideline. Coach Eric Musselman has recruited well and might now have the team he wanted all along. Talent wins these tournaments, and looking at the projected starting five; it’s hard to find a more-talented lineup. Adding three more five-star talents should make them a real handful. The addition of 6’7” point guard Anthony Black gives Musselman an ideal floor general. With other high-profile additions and the transfer of Missouri Trevon Brazile, the Razorbacks deserve some extra attention this season.


Kentucky Wildcats (+1100):

I’d look for a more-pointed effort from the Wildcats in this season’s NCAA following a rough exit in the tourney last season at the hands of the Cinderella Saint Peter Peacocks. They got some good news with the return of National Player of the Year Oscar Tshiebwe, and he should be a veritable handful this upcoming season. The big man will be joined by a typically strong recruiting class for coach Calipari, including five-star talent in Chris Livingston and Cason Wallace. The defensive exploits of Wallace could help bring the Wildcats around into one of the more complete teams in the nation.


Duke Blue Devils (+1100):

Also going off at 11-to-1 on Bovada are the new-look Duke Blue Devils. Jon Scheyer will be the first new coach Duke has had in decades, but the newness doesn’t stop with him. Four of the top 13 national prospects are likely to fill starting spots in his lineup. But the talent and size will be considerable, and if a new coach with a lot of youth can hit the ground running, they should be a huge factor. And with Dereck Lively, II. and Kyle Filipowski, the number one and three recruits in the nation, they have two seven-foot projected starters that should present a lot of problems for opponents.


Houston Cougars (+1000):

The top pick on the board, it’s not hard to see why people would think this would be Houston’s year. Granted, the pitfalls in the tournament seem ultra-numerous, but Kelvin Sampson seems to have dialed into a nice winning formula. And last season, we saw that coaching, in addition to depth, helped carry the Cougars to a conference title and an elite-eight run in the NCAA Tournament. With the prize jewels of their backcourt lost for the season in Travon Mark and Marcus Sasser, it was quite a feat to go that far. In their absence, they found another star in Jamal Shead. That three-headed backcourt monster will be the envy of all of college basketball. The frontcourt getting bolstered also bodes well for Sampson’s board-crashing, defensive-minded approach. They could have it all in 2022-23.


Best Darkhorse NCAA Tournament Pick

Michigan Wolverines (+2000):

Some memories from last season might not bode well for a title run this season. After all, they were barely .500 in conference play, didn’t win 20 games, and were bounced early from the tourney. But if there is a team that could benefit from stability and growth, it’s this Michigan team, returning All-American Hunter Dickinson and mega-prospects Caleb Houstan and Moussa Diabate. Some featured role players step into starting spots, and if things start to click more throughout the season, the Wolverines could position themselves as an interesting darkhorse selection come tourney time.