NCAA Tournament Betting: How Many No. 1 Seeds Will Reach the Final Four?

Gabriel Santiago
Gabriel Santiago@gps_onthemic
NCAA Tournament Betting: How Many No. 1 Seeds Will Reach the Final Four?

With the Sweet 16 on the horizon, the 2024 NCAA men's basketball tournament has delivered in a major way.

If upsets were a theme in the opening round, the chalk did well to strike back in the Round of 32; favorites went 15-1 straight up (SU). With the dust settled until Thursday, we see that all four No. 1 seeds are still alive and thriving.

That presents an interesting scenario for this year's tourney. At this same point last season, two of the top seeds were already eliminated. By the time the 2023 Final Four rolled around, not a single 1 seed was present. Since 1980, that is something to occur only four times.

Back in the here and now, No. 1 seeds make up 25% of the remaining field: UConn, North Carolina, Houston and Purdue. Each of those top-seeded programs did well to win by at least two scores in the Round of 32, however, UH required overtime in their defeat of Texas A&M.

Of course, March is (very strongly) arguably the best sports betting month on the calendar. At FanDuel Sportsbook, there are plenty of NCAA Tournament Props to explore. For the sake of this article, let us dive into a special market: how many No. 1 seeds will qualify for the 2024 Final Four in Glendale, AZ?

All college basketball odds come from FanDuel Sportsbook, and lines may change after this article is published.

Number of #1 Seeds to Make the 2024 Final Four
FanDuel Sportsbook Odds

Number of #1 Seeds to Make the 2024 Final Four

Zero (+1000)

As alluded to, we saw zero top seeds make the Final Four as recently as last year. Still, it is quite a rare occurrence. Along with 2023, the only seasons in which this has happened are 2011, 2006 and 1980.

Zero is a long shot in this market (10-to-1 odds at FanDuel Sportsbook) but still shows a listing slightly shorter than all four No. 1 seeds qualifying. After seeing how each of the top teams performed over the weekend, that pricing makes perfect sense.

One (+200)

2022 was the last edition of March Madness wherein we saw only one No. 1 in the Final Four. In that year, top-seeded Kansas made the Final Four before going on to win the national championship.

When glancing over this year's one seeds, the Huskies, Boilermakers, Tar Heels and Cougars all show up within the top-10 rankings at numberFire. Additionally, the same sentiment is echoed by the experts at KenPom.

In the recent Round of 32, No. 1 teams won by 19.25 PPG on average. I feel extremely confident that at least one of those top-seeds will break through to the Final Four. Still, that leaves a strong likelihood that multiple 1s will qualify, which would obviously make "one" in this market a losing ticket.

Two (+145)

Have a strong inclination that one seeds will make up 50% of the Final Four in Glendale? Whether you like Heels and Huskies, Huskies and Cougs, Cougs and Boilermakers, Boilermakers and Heels, that specific order matters not. As long as two -- and only two -- No. 1s make it through to the Final Four, this selection will collect money at +145 odds on FanDuel Sportsbook.

To piggyback off "One," this absolutely feels like a season and tournament in which the top seeds can dominate. However, my only worry here is that we possibly see more than two No. 1s show up at State Farm Stadium.

As the market favorite, "two" has had success in recent years. Dating back to 2017, we have seen two top seeds make the Final Four in three different seasons. Since the 2020 rendition of March Madness was canceled, "two" has cashed at a 50% rate over the aforementioned span.

Three (+360)

"Three" No. 1 teams punching their ticket to the 2024 Final Four should be a popular play this time around. When surveying FanDuel Sportsbook national championship market, the top-three schools are all one seeds: Connecticut (+210), Houston (+600) and Purdue (+600). From there, those three programs also make up the top three sides at BartTorvik (among other respected lists).

When looking at FanDuel's Sweet Sixteen game lines, UNC (-3.5) is the only No. 1 seed to be favored by less than four points. If the Heels can get by Alabama, North Carolina will next deal with either Clemson or Arizona in the Elite Eight.

Seemingly, UNC has the toughest path to the Final Four of the remaining No. 1s. Also, the other three top seeds are viewed a bit more favorably across expert rankings. Still, that all goes out the door once the basketball tips off.

Four (+1200)

It could certainly happen again, but four No. 1s qualifying for the Final Four has only happened once since the field expanded to its current 64-team format.

Back in 2008, this was accomplished by basketball blue bloods Kansas, UCLA, North Carolina and Memphis. That is not so far off from our current field of one seeds, all of whom have been juggernauts for majority of the campaign.

A play here on "Four" is the market long shot (12-to-1) for a reason. Simply, this selection is banking on UConn, UNC, Purdue and UH to all win their next two games. Pertaining to the upcoming Sweet 16, here are FanDuel Sportsbook game lines.

On Thursday (Mar. 28), the Huskies will stay close to home (playing in Boston) and are currently favored by double digits against No. 5 San Diego State. In the evening window, UNC is laying 3.5 points versus the No. 4 Crimson Tide in Los Angeles.

For Friday's action (Mar. 29), Purdue is a 5.5-point favorite against No. 5 Gonzaga in Detroit. Later that night, Houston will be in Dallas, laying 4.5 points versus No. 4 Duke.

Looking for more NCAA basketball betting opportunities? Head over to FanDuel Sportsbook to check out all of the upcoming college basketball odds.

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The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author's advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.