Cover Photo: Chris Covatta/Getty Images


The NCAA Tournament is nicknamed March Madness for a reason. Much of the appeal of the single-elimination tournament is that ​Cinderellas emerge and ​lower-seeded teams manage to make improbable deep runs. Teams like UMBC, which was the first No. 16 seed to beat a No. 1 seed last year, and the No. 11-seeded Loyola-Chicago Ramblers, who became just the fourth such seed to earn a Final Four berth in NCAA tournament history, won our hearts during the 2018 version of this tournament.


However, when it comes to who actually wins the tournament, there isn't really that much madness as the top seeds are dominant historically. 

No. 1 seeds have won 21 times since 1985, so it's no wonder the odds for the No. 1 seed to win are -190, according to ​FanDuel Sportsbook. The next closest are No. 2 seeds, in both capacities, having won five during that time span and having +400 odds to take home this year's title. Beyond that, No. 3 seeds have won four championships since 1985, and you can bet on those four teams at +1100 odds. 


A No. 4 seed has cut down the nets just once, the 1996-97 Arizona Wildcats who beat three No. 1 seeds on their way to accomplishing the feat. Surprisingly, no No. 5 seed has won March Madness, so that could be why their odds are at +2000, slightly better than the No. 6 seeds at +1800.


And then we have the option of "Any Other Seed" with +2200 odds to win the National Championship. The two that accomplished that were the 1985 Villanova Wildcats, who were a No. 8 seed, and Kemba Walker and the 2014 UConn Huskies, who were a No. 7 seed. 

So while low seeds often make Final Four appearances, they have almost never been able to finish off the job.


Now, you're wondering how to win your ​bracket. Well, according to the numbers, picking the right No. 1 seed will historically get you a winner more than 60 percent of the time. It's just pinpointing the correct top seed in order to take homer a championship of your own.


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Ian McCafferty is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Ian McCafferty also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username itmccaff. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.