We Placed (Fake) Bets On Every March Madness Underdog In 2024. Here Are The Results

They call it March Madness for a reason.

Each year, the NCAA Tournament features a number of upsets.

What makes March even more exciting is when you’re able to cash in a wager on one of those overlooked programs.

And that’s what we set out to do this NCAA Tournament. I set out to discover just how much you can win of you wager strictly on underdogs. When North Carolina online sports betting launched right before the tournament, I figured now was as good a time as any to try it on FanDuel.

So, I placed a hypothetical bet on every betting underdog this year and kept a running tally for how much money I made or lost.

Spoiler: I made money. Not much, but we ended the tournament in the green. Technically.

Purdue could have given us one last underdog win but fell short, which meant that after the NCAA title game, I officially ended the tournament with a (hypothetical) profit of $20.20.

Betting underdogs finished with a record of 21-42 in this year’s March Madness. 14 of those wins came in the Round of 64, and we cashed in on teams like Grand Canyon, James Madison, N.C. State, Duquesne and Oakland.

The Round of 32 was nearly a complete failure, as just one underdog won (thank you, Clemson).

We enjoyed a nice Sweet 16, which helped us get to where we finished. Here’s a closer look at the results from betting on underdogs in this year’s tournament.

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A few rules for betting on March Madness underdogs

It’s important to note that I’m not looking at seeding to determine what constitutes an underdog. Since we’re looking at FanDuel North Carolina, we are hypothetically placing bets on the betting underdogs.

Those hypothetical wagers will consist of $10 bets. When writing this, we used the most updated odds for these wagers. Betting odds may move closer to tip-off.

Additionally, we didn’t bet on the First Four games. Yes, they’re part of the NCAA Tournament. But we are tracking bets from the Round of 64 and on.

Our friends over at PlayMichigan did this last year, and it ended up being a profitable experience. They did the same thing we’re attempting to do with $10 bets and ended up ahead by $129.52. Underdogs boasted a 23-40 record last year, but thanks to wins by the aforementioned Fairleigh Dickinson, Princeton and Florida Atlantic, they paid off.

Results from betting on NCAA Tournament Championship underdog

Well, we ended this whole experiment with a dud.

UConn, the betting favorite, took down Purdue 75-60 in the National Championship. The Huskies dominated, shutting down every Boilermaker not named Zach Edey. It’s been an incredible last two season for Dan Hurley’s UConn program, but unfortunately the win silenced any hopes and adding to our profit.

Here’s a look at the result from betting on Purdue in the NCAA title game:

  • Purdue +230 vs. UConn — Lost $10

Technically, we can call this experiment a success. I made $20.20 in hypothetical money from betting on underdogs in the NCAA Tournament. That’s good for a dinner at a restaurant, I guess.

Results from betting on NCAA Tournament Final Four underdogs

The Final Four didn’t go as we hoped when it came to betting on the underdogs. Unfortunately, N.C. State’s storybook run ended at the hands of juggernaut Purdue. And while Alabama was able to hang around through most of its game, UConn was just too strong.

Here’s a look at the results (and odds) for the Final Four games:

  • N.C. State +330 vs. Purdue – Lost $10
  • Alabama +490 vs. UConn – Lost $10

In total, we lost $20 on Sunday. Now, our running total is a profit of $30.20.

Results from betting on NCAA Tournament Elite Eight underdogs

Well, the Elite Eight didn’t have quite the outcome we hoped for, as just one underdog won outright. Here’s a look at how we did this round:

  • Illinois +340 vs. UConn – Lost $10
  • Clemson +134 vs. Alabama – Lost $10
  • Tennessee +130 vs. Purdue – Lost $10
  • N.C. State +215 vs. Duke – Won $21.50

Even though N.C. State won us $21.50, we still lost $30 thanks to Illinois, Clemson and Tennessee falling short. We ended up losing $8.50 in the Elite Eight when betting on the underdogs.

Heading into the Final Four, we are up $50.20 for the tournament so far. Not terrible. But we’ve got three games left to make some money.

    Results from betting on NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 underdogs

    This was the bounce-back round we needed.

    After starting the Sweet 16 down 70 cents, five of the eight underdogs prevailed. Clemson and N.C. State were my big winners. Here’s a look at how we did for that round:

    • Clemson +245 vs. Arizona – Won $24.50
    • San Diego State +400 vs. UConn – Lost $10
    • Alabama +146 vs. North Carolina – Won $14.60
    • Illinois +106 vs. Iowa State – Won $10.60
    • N.C. State +245 vs. Marquette – Won $24.50
    • Gonzaga +160 vs. Purdue – Lost $10
    • Duke +152 vs. Houston – Won $15.20
    • Creighton +115 vs. Tennessee – Lost $10

    In the Sweet 16, we won a total of $89.40 and got back $50 in initial wagers. We lost $30 on the three losses combined. For the Sweet 16, we ended with a profit of $59.40. Which means that so far, when it comes to betting $10 on every underdog in the NCAA Tournament, we have made a $58.70 profit, when you subtract 70 cents from that total.

    Results from betting on the NCAA Tournament Round of 32 underdogs

    After underdogs went 14-18 in the first round, the second round was a complete dud outside of Clemson’s win over Baylor. That was the one game out of 16 in which an underdog prevailed. Definitely a tough stretch after a great first round.

    Each of the bets below was placed on Saturday, March 23, at FanDuel North Carolina at the odds listed.

    • Dayton +340 vs. Arizona – Lost $10
    • Kansas +150 vs. Gonzaga – Lost $10
    • Michigan State +140 vs. North Carolina – Lost $10
    • Washington State +220 vs. Iowa State – Lost $10
    • Oakland +220 vs. N.C. State – Lost $10
    • Texas +220 vs. Tennessee – Lost $10
    • Duquesne +390 vs. Illinois – Lost $10
    • Oregon +172 vs. Creighton – Lost $10
    • Grand Canyon +210 vs. Alabama – Lost $10
    • Colorado +136 vs. Marquette – Lost $10
    • Utah State +480 vs. Purdue – Lost $10
    • James Madison +215 vs. Duke – Lost $10
    • Clemson +158 vs. Baylor – Won $15.80
    • Northwestern +860 vs. UConn – Lost $10
    • Texas A&M +360 vs. Houston – Lost $10
    • Yale +198 vs. San Diego State – Lost $10

    In the Round of 32, we wagered a total of $160 dollars across the 16 games. All games outside of Clemson vs. Baylor resulted in a loss. After we recouped our initial $10 stake on that game and the $15.80 in winnings, that left me with a day in the red. I was down -$134.20 for my bets in the Round of 32.

    Definitely not what we wanted after the first round where we made $133.50.

    So, through the first two rounds, we have lost a total of 70 cents by betting on the underdogs.

    Results from betting on the NCAA Tournament first-round underdogs

    Each of these bets was placed on Wednesday, March 20, at FanDuel North Carolina at the odds listed. These are the results:

    • Mississippi State -106 vs. Michigan State – Lost $10
    • Duquesne +365 vs. BYU – Won $36.50
    • Akron +680 vs. Creighton – Lost $10
    • Long Beach State +1400 vs. Arizona – Lost $10
    • Wagner +3000 vs. North Carolina – Lost $10
    • Morehead State +570 vs. Illinois – Lost $10
    • Oregon +100 vs. South Carolina – Won $10
    • Dayton +100 vs. Nevada – Won $10
    • Colorado State +120 vs. Texas – Lost $10
    • Oakland +720 vs. Kentucky – Won $72
    • McNeese State +210 vs. Gonzaga – Lost $10
    • South Dakota State +1000 vs. Iowa State – Lost $10
    • St. Peters +2000 vs. Tennessee – Lost $10
    • NC State +162 vs. Texas Tech –Won $16.20
    • Samford +230 vs. Kansas – Lost $10
    • Washington State -102 vs. Drake – Won $9.80
    • Northwestern +122 vs. Florida Atlantic – Won $12.20
    • Colgate +810 vs. Baylor – Lost $10
    • UAB +240 vs. San Diego State – Lost $10
    • Western Kentucky +760 vs. Marquette – Lost $10
    • Stetson +3500 vs. UConn – Lost $10
    • Clemson +112 vs. New Mexico – Won $11.20
    • Yale +640 vs. Auburn – Won $64
    • Texas A&M -102 vs. Nebraska – Won $9.80
    • Vermont +580 vs. Duke – Lost $10
    • Charleston +375 vs. Alabama – Lost $10
    • Longwood +2500 vs. Houston – Lost $10
    • James Madison +176 vs. Wisconsin – Won $17.60
    • Utah State +146 vs. TCU — Won $14.60
    • Grand Canyon +198 vs. St. Mary’s – Won $19.80
    • Colorado -102 vs. Florida — Won $9.80
    • Grambling State +3500 vs. Purdue —Lost $10

    Not a bad two-day stretch for the betting underdogs, who won outright in 14 of the 32 games. Thank you to Oakland, Yale and Duquesne as the big winners on March 21 and 22.

    When it was all said and done, our total payout from this two-day stretch was $453.50. We wagered $320 on these games, so we concluded with a profit of $133.50 after round one.

    Not a bad way to start the tournament.

    Updated upset picks for Final Four coming soon

    Once the Elite Eight concludes, we’ll circle back to update the total from those games. I’ll also place bets and list the odds for the games in the Final Four.

    This will be a living and breathing article that will be updated after each round. Hopefully, when the NCAA crowns its champion, I will have positive news to report on my end.

    About the Author

    Adam Hensley

    Adam Hensley's byline has appeared in the Associated Press, Sports Illustrated and sites within the USA Today Network. Hensley graduated from the University of Iowa in 2019 and spent his college career working as an editor and reporter for the Daily Iowan’s sports department.