March Madness: Most popular bet for NCAA tournament winner? Of course it’s UConn

The beauty of the NCAA tournament is that it’s wide open and unpredictable. It’s rare for any team, even a great one, to run through the field and win a title. Ask 2015 Kentucky, which started 38-0 but was knocked off by Wisconsin in the Final Four.

And yet, UConn is an overwhelming pick to win this year’s national title.

At Yahoo Sports’ Bracket Madness, more than one-third of the brackets have UConn as the champion. As of Tuesday morning, 34.57% of all players in Bracket Madness have picked Connecticut to win it all. That’s a stunning number, even if the Huskies were clearly the best team this season.

Unsurprisingly, most bettors at BetMGM are also taking UConn to win it all.

Will the top seed UConn win it all?

UConn is the most popular bet in the NCAA tournament future market, though not quite as overwhelming as the Bracket Madness consensus.

At BetMGM, 10.8% of all bets on the NCAA tournament champion and 18.3% of all money bet on the champ is on UConn. North Carolina is second to UConn, with the Tar Heels taking 10.1% of the bets and 11.2% of the money.

Cam Spencer (12), Stephon Castle (5), Alex Karaban (11) and the rest of the Connecticut Huskies are a popular pick to win the NCAA tournament. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

While it’s the safe pick to take UConn, which cruised through the regular season and Big East tournament, history isn’t kind to No. 1 overall seeds.

Since the selection committee started announcing the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament in 2004, the top team has won just three times. The last time was Louisville in 2013. Florida in 2007 and Kentucky in 2012 round out the group.

UConn seems like the team that will win the national championship. But the NCAA tournament rarely goes as expected.

Kentucky still biggest liability

UConn has had fairly short odds most of the season. They were the champions last year and have been among the best teams in the sport all season.

That’s why, even though most bets and money are on UConn, BetMGM has another team that they’re rooting against even harder than the Huskies. Kentucky is still BetMGM’s biggest liability in the NCAA champion market.

Kentucky, a No. 3 seed, is 25-to-1 to win it all. Compare that to UConn, the favorite at +400. The Wildcats have a lot of talent and can score quickly, but are also a poor defensive team. The second-biggest liability for BetMGM isn’t UConn, but North Carolina. UConn is third on the list.

There are a few teams sportsbooks will be rooting against this March. Kentucky tops the list. But while many bracket pickers and bettors will be cheering for UConn, oddsmakers will be hoping for a quick Huskies exit.



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