The Zion Effect: Duke Heaviest NCAA Favorite Since 2014-15 Kentucky

Written By Chops on March 18, 2019 - Last Updated on October 17, 2019
March Madness favorite

Unless you went to Duke, you likely hate Duke.

But even if you hate Duke, which you likely do, you like betting Duke. Especially this year.

Duke heaviest bet this season

According to David Purdum at ESPN, more money was bet on Duke at US sportsbooks to win the NCAA national title than any other team this year. As the clear front-runner (+220 odds at FanDuel Sportsbook NJ), Duke is the heaviest NCAA March Madness favorite since the 2014-15 Kentucky Wildcats team (near even money). That team, which featured future #1 draft pick Karl-Anthony Towns, lost in the semifinals to Frank Kaminsky’s Wisconsin team. Wisconsin lost to Duke in the finals.

This year’s Duke team is led by mortal lock #1 NBA draft pick Zion Williamson. Combine Duke’s national brand with their ACC tournament win and public interest in legit superstar Williamson, it’d actually be a shock if the Blue Devils were not the most heavily bet team in this year’s field.

More March Madness data from FanDuel Sportsbook

So far, the most popular futures wagers at the FanDuel Sportsbook in New Jersey are (by bet):

  • Duke (23% of the futures wagers)
  • Virginia (17% of future wagers)
  • Gonzaga (13% of futures wagers)

Given Virginia’s epic meltdown as a #1 seed last year to #16 UMBC (and what it cost and/or won bettors), seeing them receiving the second most in wagers is a surprise.

If you’re looking for some intel in filling out your brackets, consider the following from FanDuel:

  • 59% of customers have Duke winning it all in their free bracket contest
  • North Carolina is second at 14% of entries
  • 22% of entries have all the #1 seeds in the Final Four

2019 March Madness title odds

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ALSO READ: NCAA Tournament Odds: Round Of 64 Spreads, Totals And Moneylines For Every Game

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Steve “Chops” Preiss has 15 years of experience in the gaming industry. Chops began writing and producing content for digital media sites during the early poker-boom years. He has twice been voted by his peers as one of the 20 Most Influential People in Poker. Chops has also written and produced segments for a primetime gaming TV show on Versus (now NBC Sports Network) and distributed a poker program to over 160M global households.

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