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The 10 most popular 2019 NCAA tournament futures bets

It’s mostly high profile programs, but a couple under-the-radar options.

March Madness Viewing Party At The Westgate Las Vegas Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The NCAA tournament gets going this week, and, within a month, people will be cashing in their national title futures bets. The American public bets over $8 billion on the NCAA tournament each year, according to the American Gaming Association, and a sizable chunk of that comes in the form of futures bets on the national title.

Odds for the 2019 national title opened on April 3, 2018, the morning after Villanova beat Michigan in the 2018 national title game. Sportsbook operator William Hill opened Duke as the favorite at 9-2, followed by Villanova at 17-2, and Kentucky and Kansas at 10-1. Duke has remained the favorite for much of the year. Even when Zion Williams injured his knee in February, Duke slipped from 2-1 to 5-2 but was still well ahead in the odds.

It is no surprise then that William Hill’s biggest liability on title futures is Duke. Following the Selection Show on Sunday, they released an update on total dollars wagered and total tickets booked. Duke had 19 percent of money bet on futures, well ahead of Virginia at 12 percent. Duke was tied with Gonzaga in total tickets booked.

Total dollars wagered

Duke: 19 percent
Virginia: 12 percent
Gonzaga: 11 percent
North Carolina: 7 percent
Kentucky: 7 percent
Nevada: 5 percent
Tennessee: 4 percent
Kansas: 4 percent
Michigan: 4 percent
Michigan State: 4 percent

Total tickets bet

Gonzaga: 9 percent
Duke: 9 percent
Virginia: 7 percent
Nevada: 7%
Kentucky: 6 percent
North Carolina: 6 percent
Tennessee: 5 percent
Michigan: 5 percent
Kansas: 4 percent
Michigan State: 4 percent

My favorite info is on the bigger futures bets. William Hill released notable futures bets based on who would win the most. Someone dropped $2,000 on Cincinnati at 200-1 odds, which means they would win $400,000 if the seventh seeded Bearcats take home the title. It seems unlikely, but one could argue they don’t have the worst path to the Final Four in Virginia’s region.

Interestingly enough, the second largest potential payout is a bet on Purdue. If Purdue gets to the Sweet 16, they could face Cincinnati.

Here are 10 of the most notable futures bets heading into the NCAA tournament.

$2,000 on Cincinnati at 200-1 on Dec 21, 2018 (to win $400,000)
$2,000 on Purdue at 150-1 on Dec 21, 2018 (to win $300,000)
$1,000 on Louisville at 250-1 on Jan 20, 2019 (to win $250,000)
$1,000 on Minnesota at 200-1 on Jan 8, 2019 (to win $200,000)
$100 on Temple at 2,000-1 on Mar 11, 2019 (to win $200,000)
$200 on Buffalo at 1,000-1 on Aug 29, 2018 (to win $200,000)
$2,000 on Florida State at 75-1 on Feb 22, 2019 (to win $150,000)
$1,000 on Ohio State at 150-1 on Dec 29, 2018 (to win $150,000)
$300 on Central Florida at 500-1 on Aug 28, 2018 (to win $150,000)
$50 on San Diego State at 3,000-1 on Mar 16, 2019 (to win $150,000)