2023 Final Four Teams: Longshot College Basketball Bettor’s Dream

Written By Stephen Andress on March 29, 2023
final four odds

Most people love an upset in March Madness and a Cinderella run through the NCAA Tournament. Based on opening odds to win the national championship after last season’s Big Dance, we have four longshots that have made it to the Final Four.

TheLines.com asked BetMGM what odds you could have bet on each of these unlikely survivors to win it all at various points throughout the season. The numbers may astound you.

Defying Final Four Odds

With 4-seed UConn, two 5s (Miami and San Diego State), and a 9-seed in Florida Atlantic remaining, this is the second-highest total of seeds to reach the Final Four (23) behind only 2011, when an 8 and 11-seed joined a 3 and 4-seed. For bettors, that meant some crazy longshot futures were available at every sportsbook in the country.

This year marks the first time in March Madness history that not a single top-three seed has reached the national semifinals.


Nov. 1+8000
Nov. 26+3000
Nov. 28+1600
Dec. 10+1100
Jan. 17+1800
Feb. 5+3000
March 8+1600

UConn’s national championship odds may have began with longshot expectations, but it didn’t take long for bettors and sportsbooks to start taking notice in late November at the Phil Knight Invitational.

To the credit of TheLines.com lead college basketball writer Eli Hershkovich’s credit, he noticed the Huskies’ potential at this time, bet +5000 futures on the same day Connecticut beat this year’s No. 1 overall seed Alabama in the PK85 and shared it in our free sports betting Discord. Then he noted to potential value again when Huskies odds started to dip again in February.

Once the bracket came out, UConn was shorter than 20-1 and now is favored over the field of the remaining three teams, having won each tournament game by 15-plus points.

San Diego State

Jan. 17+8000
Feb. 5+10000
March 16+6600

The Mountain West Conference had a reputation for tourney turmoil coming into this year’s Big Dance, and SDSU itself blew a late-game lead in the first round last year to Creighton. Despite winning the MWC regular season and conference tournament title, its odds to win it all never budged from longshot status.

At BetMGM, the Aztecs even got as long as 100-1 in early February, despite being 18-5 overall and 9-2 in conference at that point.

Miami (FL)

The Hurricanes made an Elite 8 run last season with many of the same stars on this year’s team. Despite that, co-regular season champions of the ACC and trip to the ACC tournament final this season, Jim Larrañaga’s team didn’t get much respect at the window.

The ‘Canes only were as short as 40-1 before their final regular season game. However, they jumped back to +5000 at BetMGM despite winning their first round matchup over Drake. Yes, 50-1 was available prior to the second round.

Jan. 22+6600
Feb. 14+5000
Feb. 27+4000
March 18+5000
March 24+1000

Florida Atlantic

Jan. 27+25000
Feb. 27+15000
March 3+20000
March 18+3300

The longshot of all longshots in this year’s tournament, and perhaps a lesson in automatically dismissing a dominant, mid-major squad. FAU opened at 150-1 and could be had at 200-1 or 250-1 at various points this season. Following the mold of early Gonzaga years, it dominated its non-conference and Conference USA schedule with a 31-3 (18-2) record before winning its conference tournament.

Yes, the Owls caught a huge break getting to face a 16-seed in the second round, resulting in much shorter +3300 odds at that point. However, there’s no dismissing its wins over 4-seed Tennessee and 3-seed Kansas State.

Even before its first-round win over Memphis, FAU had some respect in the advanced metrics, including a top-30 rating in both adjusted offensive and defensive efficiency by KenPom.

With metrics like that, perhaps we should be so quick to dismiss a longshot’s Final Four odds in future seasons.

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2023 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament Bracket

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Stephen Andress

Stephen Andress joined Catena Media as Managing Editor of TheLines.com in March 2021. He began his career as a sports anchor and reporter in Eugene, OR before moving to Louisville, KY. There he covered the Kentucky Derby, Sugar Bowl and three consecutive Final Fours. Stephen later won an Emmy award while working for the Indianapolis Colts. More recently, he produced content for the PGA TOUR and multiple fantasy football and sports betting websites. Nothing has excited him more in his career than seeing legalized sports betting in the United States and the opportunity to share his knowledge and enthusiasm for it. His hobbies include kicking his high school friends' butts in fantasy football, Japanese whisky and Kentucky bourbon, golf outrights and supporting RIP Medical Debt, a charity which works to wipe out medical bills for those who have been unable to cover the cost of getting sick.

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