College basketball coachesby a wide margin this offseason in an anonymous poll conducted by Gary Parrish and Matt Norlander as part of CBS Sports' annual series. Oddsmakers seem to agree.
The Jayhawks are the betting favorite to win the 2024 NCAA Tournament, with 11-1 odds to win it all leading 350+ Division I teams as we sit here in mid-September, narrowly ahead of Michigan State, Kentucky, Duke, Purdue and Arizona. Those odds have improved only marginally, but nonetheless in a noteworthy way, since odds first opened after the conclusion of the 2022-23 season, as KU previously had the second-best odds at 15-1. Reigning champion UConn had the best opening odds at 12-1 followed by Duke at 15-1, same as KU's. UConn's odds have fallen in the last few months to 20-1, now (for my money) making the Huskies a potential sleeper pick despite the dearth of repeat champions in the sport over the years.
So which other teams are potentially good value bets as we spin ahead toward the season? Which teams at cost might be a stay-away? And which teams might be some longshots to keep an eye on?
I've compiled a list to answer all those questions below in a futures update with the season fast approaching.
- Current odds: 20-1
When 2024 title odds first opened earlier this year, UConn was the betting favorite at 12-1 coming off its run to the national title. And while no team has repeated since Florida won the Big Dance in 2006 and 2007, UConn certainly looks like it has the horses -- er, rather, the Huskies -- to go back-to-back. Dan Hurley is the top coach in a loaded Big East and he's armed with an ungodly amount of talent on his roster led by five-star freshman Stephon Castle, Rutgers transfer Cam Spencer and a returning bunch that includes Donovan Clingan and Tristen Newton.
- Current odds: 15-1
Yes, yes, it's true: Purdue became the second No. 1 seed in NCAA Tournament history earlier this year to fall to a No. 16 seed. It was an inexcusable, inexplicable loss. But guess what? The first team that did that, Virginia, came back after losing to UMBC in 2108 and won the whole darn thing the next year. Purdue has the talent to follow in UVa's footsteps. Zach Edey will once again be a force to be reckoned with inside, and Matt Painter remains a top-10 level coach in the sport. With a more experienced backcourt and plenty of chips on shoulders, the Boilermakers present a really nice value.
- Current odds: 50-1
This FAU team advanced all the way to the Final Four then brought back all five starters, and it's like Vegas doesn't even care. Put some respect on my Hoot Owls, oddsmakers! Dusty May is one of the sport's rising coaching stars and his roster is reloaded for another real run this year. You could argue on paper they're a top-five team, so getting them at these odds feels like stupid good value.
- Current odds: 40-1
Since Mick Cronin took over the Bruins program, he was in four seasons won 19, 22, 27 and 31 games, steadily building UCLA into a powerhouse out west. If he keeps that steady crescendo up in the win column, next season might be 34+ wins and a natty.
That's not implausible.
What's also not implausible is that, jokes aside, UCLA might really have the best team on the West Coast next season. Tyger Campbell, Amari Bailey and Jaylen Clark. But if you want to buy into uncertainty and put some blind trust into Cronin, it'd be a big payoff. Between transfers, freshmen and a foundational system and culture of winning I think UCLA could surprise a lot of people next season.that make its projections a bit hazy, including the loss of first-round pick Jaime Jaquez Jr. and other key pieces like
- Current odds: 12-1
John Calipari raked in the No. 1 recruiting class in the country led by five-stars Justin Edwards, Aaron Bradshaw and DJ Wagner to go with key additions Zvonimir Ivisic and Tre Mitchell, among others, but -- and pardon me, Big Blue Nation, but you deserve honesty -- the vibes surrounding this program don't inspire a lot of confidence. UK lost in the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament in March one year after losing as a No. 2 seed in Round 1 to Saint Peter's.
At this point Wildcats fans are fed up and quickly running out of patience. With that looming into this season there's Ugonna Onyenso, which at the very least casts major doubt about how viable this team's frontcourt will be. Can this team win the national championship? Sure, of course. Justin Edwards might wind up being the most impactful player in college next season given the flashes he showed on UK's trip to Canada. But 12-1 odds feels a bit rich for a roster that has this many question marks in a program that has been clearly in a decline the last few seasons.including Bradshaw and
Michigan State Spartans
- Current odds: 12-1
I followover the summer religiously as a way to keep up-to-date with both macro and micro developments within the sport that help shape what the top teams might look like. So when , I take that as the gospel truth. That makes me think 12-1 -- second-best odds for any team -- is a smidge too much value.
Tom Izzo's a Hall of Famer who famously shines bright in March and this team returns almost every major piece save for Joey Hauser, but there's probably a bit too much optimism and blind faith being put in the impact of star freshmen Xavier Booker and Jeremy Fears. I'll be glad to raise my hand on this one if proven wrong, but it feels like MSU should be seen as the second or third best team in its own conference, not in all of college hoops.
- Current odds: 40-1
This is the point in the odds profiles where everything begins to get a little stinky. I wouldn't waste my money on Villanova, UNC or St. John's here at 40-1, but the team I'd most highly recommend fading of this 40-1 bunch is St. John's. Rick Pitino's arrival is a fun story and this program should be improved dramatically (admittedly: low bar!), but I can't imagine wasting money here on a team that probably won't even be good enough to make the NCAA Tournament.
Long shots to consider
Note: I defined "long shot" here as a team whose odds to win the natty was 60-1 or longer. That cut off the likes of Marquette (40-1) and USC (50-1), both of which I like at cost, but also kept me from grabbing low-hanging fruit (because it feels like both of those teams fall closer to the contender category than the long-shot category). Thus, the three teams that popped here were as follows:
- Current odds: 60-1
Sean Miller is inarguably a top-15 coach in college basketball after taking over the Musketeers program after a hiatus from coaching and taking them to a 27-win season in his first season. Zach Freemantle's injury adds some uncertainty to this team's future projections, but even without stars Souley Boum and Colby Jones, Miller has a guard-friendly system that is destined to be one of the most potent offensive attacks in the sport once again.
- Current odds: 60-1
The betting market may be overreacting to the loss of one-and-done star Brandon Miller here, giving Alabama 60-1 odds despite returning a breakout star in Mark Sears and enrolling one of the most coveted transfers on the market this offseason in Grant Nelson. Alabama under coach Nate Oats leans heavily into relying on analytics for its success and should once again be a 3-point-heavy team that contends near the top of the SEC.
- Current odds: 80-1
Tad Boyle is no Deion Sanders, but Coach Prime's recruiting prowess may already be rubbing off on the long-time Buffs basketball coach. Boyle is bringing in the program's highest-rated signee in school history, five-star forward Cody Williams, along with star transfer Eddie Lampkin from TCU to reload from last season. Next to double-digit returning scorers Tristan Da Silva and KJ Simpson, Colorado's basketball team — much like its football team — could turn some heads and be one of the bigger surprise successes this season.
Odds to win 2024 NCAA Tournament
|Michigan State Spartans||+1200|
|Duke Blue Devils||+1500|
|Marquette Golden Eagles||+4000|
|North Carolina Tar Heels||+4000|
|St. John's Red Storm||+4000|
|Florida Atlantic Owls||+5000|
|Alabama Crimson Tide||+6000|
|Texas A&M Aggies||+6000|
|Illinois Fighting Illini||+8000|
|West Virginia Mountaineers||+8000|
|Kansas State Wildcats||+10000|
|Ohio State Buckeyes||+10000|
|Saint Mary's Gaels||+10000|
|TCU Horned Frogs||+10000|
|Iowa State Cyclones, Michigan Wolverines, Mississippi State Bulldogs, San Diego State Aztecs, Wisconsin Badgers||+12500|
|Arizona State Sun Devils, Syracuse Orange, Texas Tech Red Raiders||+15000|
|Florida State Seminoles, Northwestern Wildcats, Ole Miss Rebels, Pittsburgh Panthers||+20000|
|New Mexico Lobos, Penn State Nittany Lions, Seton Hall Pirates||+25000|
|BYU Cougars, Clemson Tigers, Dayton Flyers, Missouri Tigers, NC State Wolfpack, Providence Friars, Rutgers Scarlet Knights, Saint Louis Billikens, Santa Clara Broncos, Tulane Green Wave, UAB Blazers, UCF Knights, Utah State Aggies, Vanderbilt Commodores, Virginia Tech Hokies, Washington Huskies, Washington State Cougars, Wichita State Shockers||+30000|
|Butler Bulldogs, California Golden Bears, Cincinnati Bearcats, Colorado State Rams, Davidson Wildcats, DePaul Blue Demons, Drake Bulldogs, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Iowa Hawkeyes, Nebraska Cornhuskers, Oklahoma State Cowboys, Richmond Spiders, San Francisco Dons, South Florida Bulls, Stanford Cardinal, UC Santa Barbara Gauchos, UNLV Rebels, Utah Utes, VCU Rams, Wake Forest Demon Deacons||+50000|
|Boise State Broncos, Boston College Eagles, George Mason Patriots, Georgetown Hoyas, Louisville Cardinals, LSU Tigers, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Oklahoma Sooners||+75000|
|Air Force Falcons, Akron Zips, Appalachian State Mountaineers, Belmont Bruins, Bowling Green Falcons, Bradley Braves, Buffalo Bulls, Charleston Cougars, Charlotte 49ers, Chattanooga Mocs, Cleveland State Vikings, Colgate Raiders, Cornell Big Red, Detroit Mercy Titans, Drexel Dragons, Duquesne Dukes, East Carolina Pirates, Eastern Kentucky Colonels, Fairleigh Dickinson Knights, Fordham Rams, Fresno State Bulldogs, Furman Paladins, George Washington Revolutionaries, Georgia Bulldogs, Harvard Crimson, Hawaii Rainbow Warriors, Hofstra Pride, Illinois State Redbirds, Indiana State Sycamores, Iona Gaels, Kennesaw State Owls, Kent State Golden Flashes, Liberty Flames, Long Beach State 49ers, Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns, Loyola Ramblers, Massachusetts Minutemen, Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders, Milwaukee Panthers, Minnesota Golden Gophers, Missouri State Bears, Murray State Racers, New Mexico State Aggies, North Texas Mean Green, Northern Illinois Huskies, Northern Iowa Panthers, Northern Kentucky Norse, Ohio Bobcats, Old Dominion Monarchs, Oral Roberts Golden Eagles, Pennsylvania Quakers, Portland Pilots, Princeton Tigers, Rhode Island Rams, Rice Owls, Rider Broncs, Saint Joseph's Hawks, San Diego Toreros, San Jose State Spartans, Siena Saints, SMU Mustangs, South Carolina Gamecocks, St. Bonaventure Bonnies, Temple Owls, Toledo Rockets, Towson Tigers, Tulsa Golden Hurricane, UC Irvine Anteaters, UC Riverside Highlanders, UNC Asheville Bulldogs, UT Arlington Mavericks, UTEP Miners, Vermont Catamounts, Weber State Wildcats, Western Kentucky Hilltoppers, Wofford Terriers, Wright State Raiders, Wyoming Cowboys, Yale Bulldogs, Youngstown State Penguins||+100000|
|Bucknell Bison, Cal State Fullerton Titans, Coastal Carolina Chanticleers, James Madison Dukes, La Salle Explorers, Loyola Marymount Lions, McNeese State Cowboys, Miami (OH) RedHawks, Nevada Wolf Pack, Norfolk State Spartans, North Dakota State Bison, North Florida Ospreys, Northeastern Huskies, Northwestern State Demons, Oakland Golden Grizzlies, Robert Morris Colonials, Southern Miss Golden Eagles, Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks, UC Davis Aggies, UNC Greensboro Spartans, UNC Wilmington Seahawks, Valparaiso Beacons, Western Carolina Catamounts, Winthrop Eagles||+150000|
|Albany Great Danes, Alcorn State Braves, Arkansas State Red Wolves, Army Black Knights, Austin Peay Governors, Ball State Cardinals, Binghamton Bearcats, Brown Bears, Bryant Bulldogs, Cal Poly Mustangs, Cal State Bakersfield Roadrunners, California Baptist Lancers, Campbell Fighting Camels, Central Michigan Chippewas, Columbia Lions, Dartmouth Big Green, Delaware Fightin' Blue Hens, East Tennessee State Buccaneers, Eastern Michigan Eagles, Eastern Washington Eagles, Elon Phoenix, Fairfield Stags, FGCU Eagles, FIU Panthers, Gardner Webb Runnin' Bulldogs, Georgia Southern Eagles, Georgia State Panthers, Grand Canyon Antelopes, High Point Panthers, Holy Cross Crusaders, Howard Bison, Longwood Lancers, Louisiana Tech Bulldogs, Marist Red Foxes, Marshall Thundering Herd, Merrimack Warriors, Morehead State Eagles, Mount Saint Mary's Mountaineers, Navy Midshipmen, New Orleans Privateers, Niagara Purple Eagles, Nicholls Colonels, NJIT Highlanders, North Alabama Lions, North Carolina A&T Aggies, North Dakota Fighting Hawks, Northern Arizona Lumberjacks, Omaha Mavericks, Oregon State Beavers, Pacific Tigers, Pepperdine Waves, Purdue Fort Wayne Mastodons, Quinnipiac Bobcats, Sacramento State Hornets, Sam Houston State Bearkats, Samford Bulldogs, Seattle Redhawks, SIU Edwardsville Cougars, South Alabama Jaguars, South Dakota Coyotes, South Dakota State Jackrabbits, Southeast Missouri State Redhawks, Southern Illinois Salukis, Southern Utah Thunderbirds, Tennessee State Tigers, Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles, Texas A&M Corpus Islanders, Texas State Bobcats, Troy Trojans, UIC Flames, UMass Lowell River Hawks, UT Martin Skyhawks, Utah Valley Wolverines, Western Illinois Leathernecks||+200000|
|Alabama A&M Bulldogs, American Eagles, Canisius Golden Griffins, Central Arkansas Bears, Central Connecticut State Blue Devils, Charleston Southern Buccaneers, Citadel Bulldogs, Evansville Purple Aces, Florida A&M Rattlers, Green Bay Phoenix, Hampton Pirates, Houston Christian Huskies, Idaho State Bengals, Idaho Vandals, Incarnate Word Cardinals, Kansas City Roos, Lehigh Mountain Hawks, Lipscomb Bisons, Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks, Mercer Bears, Monmouth Hawks, Montana Grizzlies, Montana State Bobcats, New Hampshire Wildcats, Northern Colorado Bears, Portland State Vikings, Radford Highlanders, Sacred Heart Pioneers, Saint Francis Red Flash, Southeastern Louisiana Lions, St. Peter's Peacocks, Stetson Hatters, Stony Brook Seawolves, Texas Southern Tigers, UMBC Retrievers, USC Upstate Spartans, UT Rio Grande Valley Vaqueros, UTSA Roadrunners, Western Michigan Broncos, William & Mary Tribe||+250000|
|Denver Pioneers, Jacksonville State Gamecocks, Lafayette Leopards, Lamar Cardinals, Little Rock Trojans, Maine Black Bears, Manhattan Jaspers, Prairie View A&M Panthers, Southern Jaguars, UMES Hawks, VMI Keydets, Wagner Seahawks||+300000|
|Abilene Christian Wildcats, Alabama State Hornets, Bethune-Cookman Wildcats, Boston University Terriers, Cal State Northridge Matadors, Chicago State Cougars, Coppin State Eagles, Delaware State Hornets, Eastern Illinois Panthers, Grambling State Tigers, IUPUI Jaguars, Jackson State Tigers, Jacksonville Dolphins, LIU Sharks, Loyola Greyhounds, Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils, Morgan State Bears, North Carolina Central Eagles, Presbyterian Blue Hose, South Carolina State Bulldogs, UAPB Golden Lions||+500000|
- Odds via SportsLine consensus