With 16 teams left in the March Madness NCAA Tournament field, the odds to win each region have come into focus. All four regions have consensus favorites – Purdue (East), Gonzaga (West), Arizona (South), and Kansas (Midwest) – but that doesn’t mean those teams will end up being the Final 4 in New Orleans.
As a bettor, it’s fair to want to back a favorite or two with short odds to reach the Final 4 as we head into the Sweet 16. With only two wins needed to win this futures bet, it also makes it more important than ever to try to make a sensible play. That’s even truer if you’ve seen one or more of your NCAA Tournament region winners go down in your March Madness bracket.
Knowing we likely won’t get all four winners, and with hopes to provide the most value in the process, here are updated odds and my picks to win each region and qualify for the Final Four.
Odds To Win East Region
Purdue Boilermakers -120
UCLA Bruins +220
North Carolina Tar Heels +380
Saint Peter’s Peacocks +3000
East Region Winner Pick: Purdue Boilermakers
For a team that’s a clear favorite, this isn’t a ton of juice to lay. Purdue has by far the most winnable Sweet 16 game, as it’s facing the tournament Cinderella in Saint Peter’s. The Peacocks boast a top-30 defense, but Kentucky had no problems scoring against them and Purdue probably won’t either.
In the regional final, the Boilermakers should be able to handle injured Jaime Jaquez, if they face UCLA, and have more than enough size to bang with Brady Manek and Armando Bacot if it’s North Carolina. Purdue’s combination of Jalen Ivey, Zach Edey and Trevion Williams hasn’t let it down yet, and I don’t think that changes here.
East Regional: Purdue, -120 (available at Caesars Sportsbook)
Odds To Win West Region
Gonzaga Bulldogs -175
Texas Tech Red Raiders +430
Duke Blue Devils +500
Arkansas Razorbacks +1000
West Region Winner Pick: Texas Tech Red Raiders
Gonzaga offers no value at -175, but Texas Tech offers plenty of value as the second favorite in the region. The Red Raiders’ experience and commitment to defense offers the perfect combination to take down Duke in the Sweet 16 and send Mike Krzyzewski into retirement. Texas Tech is actually favored against Duke, and these will be the best odds you can get on them to win the West.
In the regional final, Gonzaga is a monster, but Mark Adams already schemed past Mark Few in the 2019 West Regional and is more than capable of doing it again. If the Red Raiders play Arkansas, I can’t see the Razorbacks speeding them up and dictating tempo. Arkansas had to play slowdown with New Mexico State, which makes it highly unlikely that the Red Raiders will get rattled anyway.
This won’t be easy, potentially having to take down the overall No. 1 seed, but the value here is excellent.
West Regional: Texas Tech, +430 (available at Caesars Sportsbook)
Odds To Win South Region
Arizona Wildcats +140
Villanova Wildcats +240
Houston Cougars +240
Michigan Wolverines +1000
South Region Winner Pick: Villanova Wildcats
It’s an even year, which means March is Jay Wright’s time to shine. The tournament was canceled in 2020, which means the Wildcats haven’t lost an NCAA tournament game in an even year since 2014 — and that run might continue here. Villanova’s shooting should be enough in the Sweet 16, where the Wildcats are 5-point favorites against Michigan and Hunter Dickinson.
If they get Arizona in the Elite 8, I’d really like Villanova’s chances. Collin Gillespie and company don’t miss enough shots to give Arizona a chance to exert its huge rebounding edge. Houston would provide a stiffer test with its commitment to defense, but I still think Villanova pulls it out based on superior free throw shooting. The Wildcats lead the nation in free throw percentage, and that should make a difference here.
South Regional: Villanova, +240 (available at Caesars Sportsbook)
Odds To Win Midwest Region
Kansas Jayhawks -190
Miami (FL) Hurricanes +500
Iowa State Cyclones +600
Providence Friars +650
Midwest Region Winner Pick: Miami Hurricanes
And here’s your curveball. Could Miami really make it to New Orleans as a No. 10 seed? Yes, it absolutely can.
The Hurricanes get a dream Sweet 16 matchup against Iowa State, a team that can defend but can’t score. Miami’s defense looked great against USC and Auburn, and if you can stop Auburn, you can absolutely shut down the Cyclones.
But what about top-seeded Kansas? The Jayhawks do have a glaring weakness: they do not take care of the ball against swarming defenses. In the regular season against Iowa State, Kansas averaged 19 turnovers per game. Miami averages nine steals per game, an even better number than the Cyclones.
As long as the Hurricanes beat Iowa State in the Round of 16, this play offers an abundance of value.
Midwest Regional: Miami, +500 (available at Caesars Sportsbook)