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Few sporting events are as difficult to predict as the NCAA Tournament. The results are so wild, and often so unexpected that they became a meme seemingly even before memes were a thing, a running joke about the person who won the office bracket by betting on their favorite colors or the cutest mascots.  

Now magnify that feeling for those who try to put a little something extra on predicting the results.  

The single-elimination nature of the NCAA Tournament adds an element of randomness to picking the champion. Since 2004-05, the team picked as the top overall seed heading in has won the national title thrice. And the No. 1 team at heading into the tournament has cut down the nets only three times in nearly 20 years since the site was created.   

Here's a look at the top contenders to win the NCAA Tournament broken down by tiers followed by the complete odds to win the NCAA Tournament provided by Caesars Sportsbook.   

Tier 1: The favorite  

Team: Gonzaga (6-1)  

Don't look now, but it's still Gonzaga. The Bulldogs spent most of the 2020-21 season as the prohibitive favorite and more than two months into 2021-22, the preseason No. 1 team still has the best odds at 6-1. Of course, Gonzaga just recently retook its spot atop The Associated Press Top 25 poll, thanks to a seven-game winning streak. Last year's team reached the national championship game before falling just short; does this year's 'Zags squad have what it takes to finish the job?  

Tier 2: Frontrunners  

Teams: Duke (9-1), Purdue (9-1), Baylor (11-1)  

Three other teams have better than 12-1 odds to hoist the trophy in April: defending national champion Baylor (11-1), Duke (9-1) and Purdue (9-1). Two of those bets are better than the other at this point: while Purdue has the nation's top-ranked offense in adjusted offensive efficiency according to KenPom, no national title winner since 2001-02 has won without a top 45 rank in adjusted defensive efficiency heading into the tournament. The Boilermakers currently sit at No. 64 there; the defense will need to come along for Purdue to survive the odd off night that every team faces in March and April.  

Baylor started the season 15-0 before dropping its next two games at home, though both losses came without excellent freshman Jeremy Sochan and the latter came without point guard James Akinjo down the stretch. Duke is seven points away from an undefeated record this year itself at 14-3, and the Blue Devils could start hitting their stride as their recent starting lineup, one with former five-star prospect AJ Griffin joining the fold, gets used to playing together.  

Tier 3: Contenders with value  

Teams: Kansas (12-1), Auburn (20-1), Illinois (25-1)  

The oddsmakers haven't quite caught up with Auburn just yet; CBS Sports' own Gary Parrish made the case for the Tigers atop his most recent Top 25 and 1, and Auburn has the ninth-best odds to win it all at 20-1. Kansas sits atop the Big 12 despite battling through most of league play without a healthy Remy Martin. With Martin expected back from a bone bruise in his knee, the Jayhawks have the profile of a potential favorite, but more reasonable 12-1 odds. And then there's Illinois. The Fighting Illini are tops in the Big Ten standings even after Monday's double-overtime loss to Purdue. And like Kansas, the Illini are getting a top player back, with Andre Curbelo playing his first contest since Nov. 23 and still dropping 20 points, six rebounds and three assists. As he gets up to speed, Illinois' 25-1 odds could seem way too low.  

Tier 4: Talented teams with solid value  

Teams: Arizona (15-1), Kentucky (18-1)  

Two of the nation's most talented teams, and teams with the most upside, have similar odds: Arizona (15-1) and Kentucky (18-1). The two Wildcat squads boast NBA talent, athleticism and length, and both can put away smaller teams by dominating on the offensive glass. One thing to watch with Arizona: how will Tommy Lloyd's team — the nation's fastest in average offensive possession length — fare in March when transition opportunities become fewer and the game slows down? Kentucky's win over Tennessee was as impressive an offensive effort as college hoops has seen this year. Kentucky's 'A' game might just be the nation's best team, but will Kentucky become that team night-in and night out? Bettors who wait to pick either Wildcat squad could find worse odds if they delay and watch Kentucky or Arizona take off.  

Tier 5: Favorite values  

 Teams: Villanova (20-1), Wisconsin (40-1), Florida State (80-1), Oregon (80-1)  

Parrish ranked Wisconsin third in his Top 25 and 1, and this Badger team has more dynamism than recent iterations, thanks to national player of the year candidate Johnny Davis. To be able to get a potential top five team at 40-1 odds? That's pretty strong.  

Villanova has better odds to win the title at 20-1, and the Wildcats have one of the nation's best backcourts with Collin Gillespie playing like the country's top point guard and Justin Moore averaging 18.5 points per game over his last four. Villanova is extremely battle-tested already and is only getting better, plus Jay Wright has two of the last five national titles.  

Florida State and Oregon are bigger long shots, but both have strong value for their rosters and for coaches who have found success at molding their teams into playing well in March. The Seminoles have reached at least the Sweet 16 in each of the last three NCAA Tournaments, and after a rough start, Florida State has won three games in a row. There's still work to be done, but Leonard Hamilton and a talented, deep roster seems like a solid choice at 80-1 odds.  

Dana Altman's team is ore proven at this point; after an 5-5 start, the Ducks have won six of their last seven, winning at UCLA and USC and playing Baylor tight before falling.  

Both teams were ranked in the preseason for a reason, and both are worth keeping an eye on now that their odds have fallen off and their basketball has picked up.  

Tier 6: Longshots to watch  

Teams: Seton Hall (60-1), UConn (60-1) Xavier (80-1), Iowa State (80-1)

While previously mentioned Florida State and Oregon certainly fall into this category — teams with odds of 60-1 or worse — so do three different Big East teams with solid resumes. Seton Hall and UConn have identical 60-1 odds while boasting both offenses and defenses ranked in KenPom's top 40. UConn accomplished that feat while playing four games and part of another without terrific big man Adama Sanogo. All he's done since return is average 22 points, 17 rebounds and 4.5 blocks per game. And Xavier is a top 20 team with KenPom's No. 22 offense and No. 30 defense; the Musketeers are a decent bargain at 80-1.  

While Iowa State lacks the offense of a national title contender, the Cyclones are 14-4 with wins over Texas Tech and Texas and close losses to Baylor and Kansas so far in Big 12 play—getting the Cyclones at 80-1 odds could be solid for a team that could make a run.  

2021 NCAA Tournament odds

    Odds to win the 2022 NCAA Tournament from Caesars Sportsbook  

Gonzaga Bulldogs6-1
Purdue Boilermakers9-1
Duke Blue Devils9-1
Baylor Bears11-1
Kansas Jayhawks12-1
Arizona Wildcats15-1
Kentucky Wildcats18-1
UCLA Bruins20-1
Auburn Tigers20-1
Villanova Wildcats20-1
Illinois Fighting Illini25-1
Texas Longhorns30-1
Wisconsin Badgers40-1
Houston Cougars40-1
Memphis Tigers40-1
Ohio State Buckeyes40-1
Michigan State Spartans40-1
Texas Tech Red Raiders40-1
Alabama Crimson Tide40-1
USC Trojans50-1
Tennessee Volunteers50-1
North Carolina Tar Heels50-1
LSU Tigers50-1
Seton Hall Pirates60-1
Connecticut Huskies60-1
West Virginia Mountaineers60-1
Michigan Wolverines60-1
Oregon Ducks80-1
Florida State Seminoles80-1
Florida Gators80-1
Xavier Musketeers80-1
Arkansas Razorbacks80-1
Oklahoma Sooners80-1
Iowa State Cyclones80-1
Louisville Cardinals80-1
Indiana Hoosiers80-1
St. Bonaventure Bonnies80-1
Creighton Bluejays100-1
Virginia Cavaliers100-1
Virginia Tech Hokies100-1
Syracuse Orange100-1
Iowa Hawkeyes100-1
Notre Dame Fighting Irish125-1
Providence Friars125-1
BYU Cougars125-1
San Diego State Aztecs125-1
Colorado Buffaloes150-1
Rutgers Scarlet Knights150-1
Wichita State Shockers150-1
Oregon State Beavers150-1
St. John's Red Storm150-1
Georgetown Hoyas150-1
North Carolina State Wolf Pack150-1
Colorado State Rams150-1
Marquette Golden Eagles150-1
Butler Bulldogs150-1
Stanford Cardinal150-1
Arizona State Sun Devils150-1
Loyola Ramblers150-1
Maryland Terrapins150-1
Missouri Tigers150-1
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets150-1
Clemson Tigers150-1
Mississippi State Bulldogs150-1
Belmont Bruins200-1
Cincinnati Bearcats200-1
VCU Rams200-1
SMU Mustangs200-1
St. Louis Billikens200-1
Minnesota Golden Gophers200-1
Ole Miss Rebels200-1
Miami FL Hurricanes200-1
Davidson Wildcats200-1
Utah Utes200-1
Richmond Spiders200-1
Penn State Nittany Lions200-1
Texas A&M Aggies200-1
St. Mary's Gaels250-1
Washington State Cougars300-1
Northwestern Wildcats300-1
Drake Bulldogs300-1
Dayton Flyers300-1
Pittsburgh Panthers300-1
UCF Knights300-1
Wake Forest Demon Deacons300-1
Nevada Wolf Pack300-1
Boise State Broncos300-1
Utah State Aggies300-1
San Francisco Dons300-1
Georgia Bulldogs300-1
George Mason Patriots500-1
Iona Gaels500-1
Kansas State Wildcats500-1
Liberty Flames500-1
South Carolina Gamecocks500-1
Louisiana Tech Bulldogs500-1
TCU Horned Frogs500-1
New Mexico Lobos500-1
Nebraska Cornhuskers500-1
UAB Blazers750-1
Vanderbilt Commodores750-1
North Texas Mean Green1000-1
Rhode Island Rams1000-1
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos1000-1
UNLV Rebels1000-1
Washington Huskies1000-1
UMass Minutemen1000-1
Furman Paladins1000-1
Marshall Thundering Herd1000-1
Buffalo Bulls1000-1
DePaul Blue Demons1000-1
Boston College Eagles1000-1
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers1000-1
Northern Iowa Panthers1000-1
Oral Roberts Golden Eagles1000-1
Old Dominion Monarchs1500-1
South Florida Bulls1500-1
Abilene Christian Wildcats1500-1
Colgate Raiders1500-1
Texas State Bobcats1500-1
Loyola Marymount Lions1500-1
Stephen F Austin Lumberjacks1500-1
South Dakota State Jackrabbits1500-1
Ohio Bobcats1500-1
Kent State Golden Flashes1500-1
Vermont Catamounts1500-1
Yale Bulldogs1500-1
California Golden Bears1500-1
Tulsa Golden Hurricanes1500-1
Duquesne Dukes1500-1
Wright State Raiders1500-1
Bradley Braves2000-1
UNC Greensboro Spartans2000-1
Drexel Dragons2000-1
Georgia State Panthers2000-1
Akron Zips2000-1
Temple Owls2000-1
St. Joseph's Hawks2000-1
Fresno State Bulldogs2000-1
Missouri State Bears2000-1
Little Rock Trojans2000-1
Winthrop Eagles2000-1
Hofstra Pride2000-1
Pacific Tigers2000-1
James Madison Dukes2000-1
Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns2000-1
Coastal Carolina Chanticleers2000-1
Morehead State Eagles2000-1
Eastern Kentucky Colonels2000-1
Monmouth Hawks2000-1
Wyoming Cowboys2000-1
Wofford Terriers2000-1
Cleveland State Vikings2000-1
Tulane Green Wave2000-1
Indiana State Sycamores2000-1
Toledo Rockets2000-1
Appalachian State Mountaineers2000-1
Cal Irvine Anteaters2000-1
New Mexico State Aggies2000-1
Southern Utah Thunderbirds2000-1
Bowling Green Falcons2000-1
Grand Canyon Antelopes2000-1
Charleston Cougars2000-1
East Tennessee State Buccaneers2000-1
Siena Saints2000-1