Marcus Sasser, Houston Cougars
#0 Marcus Sasser of the Houston Cougars. Joseph Duarte/Twitter


  • Houston, Alabama and Kansas make-up the top three favorites for oddsmakers
  • UCLA, Purdue and Arizona have the next best odds
  • Baylor and Gonzaga have plus-1600 odds to win it all this year

The 2023 edition of the NCAA men's tournament is set to begin with Selection Sunday on March 12 at 6:00 PM ET with the First Four play-in round on March 14 and 15.

Meanwhile, the tournament proper will start on March 16 and 17 with the first round.

With March Madness on the horizon, oddsmaker Betway released the odds for the top-eight favorites as seen below in descending order.

  • Houston Cougars (plus-600)
  • Alabama Crimson Tide (plus-800)
  • Kansas Jayhawks (plus-800)
  • UCLA Bruins (plus-900)
  • Purdue Boilermakers (plus-1200)
  • Arizona Wildcats (plus-1400)
  • Gonzaga Bulldogs (plus-1600)
  • Baylor Bears (plus-1600)

The Houston Cougars finding themselves as the most favored team in the NCAA is no surprise after ranking fourth in offensive efficiency and sixth in defensive efficiency on KenPom's database–the only team in the nation to do so.

With a record of 17 wins and one loss in the American Athletic Conference (AAC) plus an 11-game win streak under their belts entering the AAC tournament as the top seed, it would be extremely hard to bet against them in the big showdown.

Senior guard Marcus Sasser leads the team in scoring with 17.1 points, but this is a team that relies heavily on team play with freshman forward Jarace Walker pitching in with 11.1 points and 6.7 boards junior forward J'Wan Roberts adding 10.5 points and 7.2 rebounds of his own.

The Alabama Crimson Tide come in second on Betway's books and their case for being seen in that light is best exemplified by their big 71-65 win over Houston on December 10 where freshman forward Noah Clowney put up a double-double of 16 points and 11 boards.

The top-seeded Southeastern Conference (SEC) team logged a record of 16-2 against teams within the conference and a 26-5 record overall with All-American candidate freshman big Brandon Miller leading the team.

Junior point guard Mark Sears will once again be leading the team, but with a young starting lineup filling in the gaps, that may be the one thing that holds them back from success.

For a team led by junior forward Jalen Wilson, star freshman guard Gradey Dick plus a starting five rounded out by Kevin McCullar, KJ Adams and Dajuan Harris, the Kansas Jayhawks have a group that can simply go out there and win.

In that same vein though, their lack of depth will certainly be tested.

Arguably one of the biggest fan-favorites this year after a Final Four run as the No. 11 seed last year, the UCLA Bruins is ready to run it back with Jaime Jaquez and Tyger Campbell being the big names to watch while Jaylen Clark and David Singleton playing a bigger role this time around.

Jaime Jaquez Jr., UCLA
#24 of the UCLA Bruins forward/guard Jaime Jaquez Jr. UCLA Men's Basketball/Twitter

The Bruins might have a diverse arsenal of offensive strengths, but their No. 2-ranked adjusted defensive efficiency on KenPom just might push them over the hump this time around.

Big Ten No. 1 seed Purdue has gone 2-4 in their last six games, which raises some red flags regarding their performance in the big tourney, but it should be noted those four losses come in Quad 1.

Junior center Zach Edey has been one of NCAA's brightest prospects with an average of 22.3 points, 12.9 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks in 31.6 minutes, though the question on every college basketball fan's mind is whether he will have support to win it all.

The Pac-12 top-ranked Arizona Wildcats will have the benefit of twin towers Azuolas Tubelis and Oumar Ballo leading the charge on the inside and the duo is expected to once again dominate the glass for their side after helping Arizona to become one of the best rebounding squads in the country.

But with three Quad 2 losses on their record (twice to Stanford and once against Arizona State), the No. 2 seed Wildcats will need to look for help elsewhere while looking to shore up their biggest deficiencies in the hopes of a deep run.

Rounding out the top eight are the Gonzaga Bulldogs and Baylor Bears who both come in at plus-1600.

Potential All-American Gonzaga senior forward Drew Timme has put up some impressive numbers along the way with averages of 20.9 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 3.2 assists alongside 0.9 blocks.

Despite the Bulldogs improving on clamping their opponents from scoring (66.2 points per game to 73.9 this season), big losses to Purdue and the Texas Longhorns to start their season is enough to raise questions about how they will perform on the big stage.

As for the Bears, five-star recruit shooting guard Keyonte George has shown flashes of brilliance throughout his freshman year, but an ankle sprain against Texas in late February will have Baylor hoping he can produce something close to his 16 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 1.1 steals when they need him most.

One thing going for them though is that Baylor is not completely helpless without George since they were able to pull off seven wins when he logs less than 10 points.

Keyonte George, Baylor
#1 Baylor Bears shooting guard Keyonte George. Arya Chawla/Twitter