2023 March Madness Odds, Contenders, and Predictions

Early March Madness, Final Four, Basketball, NCAA, 2023, College

We’re mere months away from March Madness, and bracketology experts are already making predictions. The offseason is also over, and we’ve had a glimpse of the best Division I teams in college basketball.

The defending champion Kansas Jayhawks will try to become the first repeat winner since Florida in 2006-07. It won’t be easy because several notable schools – North Carolina, Houston, Kentucky – will be hard to beat. The competitive variety is certainly palpable in 2022-23.

In my way-too-early preview, I talk about the contenders you should consider when making your March Madness predictions. I want to help you determine which teams can capture a championship and what March Madness odds are worth your attention.

March Madness 2023 Winner Betting Odds

  • Gonzaga; +900
  • Houston; +900
  • North Carolina; +900
  • Kentucky; +900
  • Kansas; +1200
  • Baylor; +1200
  • Arkansas; +1500
  • Duke; +1600
  • UCLA; +1600
  • Texas; +2200
  • Tennessee; +2500
  • Arizona; +2500
  • Creighton; +2500
  • Michigan; +3500
  • Indiana; +3500

The early 2023 March Madness odds have Gonzaga, Kentucky, Houston, and North Carolina as the betting favorites. Kansas, the defending national champions, has a little catching up to do. The Jayhawks defeated the Tarheels last season to capture a fourth NCAA title.

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After making a successful run to the Final Four, Duke is also receiving favorable odds. One school, however, that’s noticeably absent from this list is Villanova. In 2021-22, the Wildcats went 30-8 and lost to Kansas in the Final Four of the NCAA tournament.

They are usually among the strongest teams, but this year might be among the exceptions. Let’s explore the biggest March Maness favorites for 2023.

Houston Cougars

  • Conference: AAC
  • Head Coach: Kelvin Sampson
  • 2021-22 Record: 32-6

After winning 32 games last season, a lot of people are high on the Cougars. They made an appearance in the Elite Eight, so it’s possible that Houston could build on their success. The team suffered from injuries last season but still performed well.

A few star players also decided to return and play for Houston again in 2022-23. One of the most notable names on that list is Marcus Sasser, who only appeared in 12 games last season but should be fully healthy. He’s joined by five-star recruit freshman Jarace Walker, who should have an immediate impact.


Houston will be one of the toughest teams to play against this season. They’re big, physical, and exceptionally good at the point of attack. The roster has everything you want when it comes to winning championships.

Backing Houston with your NCAA Basketball Tournament winner prediction is a reasonable choice. The team has the experience and youth and is fully healthy entering the season. Furthermore, by bringing back their best players (Sasser, Mark, and Shead), the Cougars could be the best Division I team.

Gonzaga Bulldogs

  • Conference: WCC
  • Head Coach: Mark Few
  • 2021-22 Record: 28-4

It seems Gonzaga has the toughest schedule every year, yet they’re able to breeze through it. The Bulldogs have also dominated the West Coast Conference, which usually guarantees them a high seed in NCAA Tournament every year.

The roster’s talent level is as good as it gets for the Bulldogs. They’ve got plenty of solid pieces to work with, including Julian Strawther, a star in the making. Transfer Malachi Smith should also give the team a huge boost.

This could be Gonzaga’s year after a few disappointments in the last stages. With runner-up performances in 2017 and 2021, it seems inevitable that the Bulldogs will capture a championship. Gonzaga is certainly a worthy 2023 March Madness betting pick, in my view.

Kentucky Wildcats

  • Conference: SEC
  • Head Coach: John Calipari
  • 2021-22 Record: 26-8

Kentucky fans are certainly getting antsy – the Wildcats haven’t won an NCAA Championship since 2012. However, John Calipari, who’s an excellent head coach, was given a gift when Oscar Tshiebwe decided to return. The forward should be an NPOY candidate this season.


An underappreciated player on this team is CJ Fredrick, who provides plenty of offensive relief for Kentucky. His three-point shooting skills should give the Wildcats a huge edge over every opponent. Add in Daimion Collins’ athleticism, and this team could be dominant in 2022-23.

Kentucky’s roster also includes two future NBA first-round picks in Cason Wallace and Chris Livingston. The Wildcats look pretty stellar overall, with enough pieces in place to be competitive with any Division I team.

North Carolina Tarheels

  • Conference: ACC
  • Head Coach: Hubert Davis
  • 2021-22 Record: 29-10

Many people are looking at North Carolina for their early 2023 March Madness winner predictions. The Tarheels were on the cusp of winning an NCAA championship last season. The team found a rhythm in the latter half of 2021-22 that propelled them to success.

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North Carolina also enters the season with the top ranking in the nation. The team is returning four starters from last season, which doesn’t happen too often. As a result, the roster features talent, depth, and plenty of experience.

This team should be should very good from the outset of the season. Hubert Davis had to endure some turmoil at the beginning of 2021-22, but his current squad is ready to win games. Capturing an NCAA Championship should be possible as long as North Carolina is healthy.

Baylor Bears

  • Conference: Big 12
  • Head Coach: Scott Drew
  • 2021-22 Record: 27-7

The Baylor Bears are another team with championship aspirations. They will be playing with a chip on their shoulders after exiting the 2022 NCAA Tournament in the second round. The team’s ceiling is very high, mostly thanks to the best backcourt in the nation.

Let’s not forget that Baylor dealt with injuries last season and still won 27 games. It was good enough to earn them a No. 1 seed entering the 2022 NCAA Tournament. With several veterans and an elite freshman player (Keyonte George) on the roster, Baylor should be a contender.

March Madness 2023 Sleepers

A few sleeper teams are also viable options to consider when betting on the 2023 March Madness tournament. It’s always possible that an underdog could put it together and make a run at winning this year’s NCAA Championship.

  • Creighton Bluejays (+2500). Not enough people are talking about this team. Creighton returned five of its top seven scorers from last season when the Bluejays won a respectable 23 games.
  • San Diego State Aztecs (+6000). This team had one of the most dominant defenses in the nation last season, which allowed the second-fewest points in 2021-22. If their offense can improve, San Diego is a contender.
  • Dayton Flyers (+8000). Dayton is also a really good team with plenty of experience. Similar to San Diego State, the Flyers were a defensive juggernaut in 2021-22. The team won 24 games and nearly captured a regular-season conference title.

I based my selection of sleeper picks on every team’s viability to win an NCAA championship. These squads enter the 2022-23 season with plenty of momentum and motivation to succeed, even if the odds of the bookies are high.

March Madness 2023 Prediction and Betting Pick

It’s way too early for large bets on the March Madness 2023 winner, but a small wager can’t hurt. I really like the odds for the Gonzaga Bulldogs, and I expect them to drop in the next few months.

They have all the tools required for a strong regular season and a deep run in the NCAA Division I tournament, so +900 is good enough for me.

More March Madness Betting

We’ll provide more content on the upcoming Men’s NCAA Tournament for 2022-23. Make sure you’re checking in with us frequently on the latest updates in college basketball.

We also have a guide to March Madness betting that includes interesting tips, the best online betting sites for the tournament, and more.

Jim Beviglia
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About Jim Beviglia
Jim Beviglia has been a gambling writer at LegitGamblingSites.com since 2018. During that time, he’s written just about every type of article related to gambling, including reviews of betting sites, guides to popular casino games, betting tips on both casino and sports betting, sports and casino blog posts, and game picks. In addition to online gambling, one of Jim’s other major interests is music. He has been doing freelance work for various music sites and magazines for two decades. Among his outlets past and present are American Songwriter, VinylMePlease, Treble, and The Bluegrass Situation. Jim has also written five books on music that were published by Rowman & Littlefield.