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INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - MARCH 11: Kofi Cockburn #21 of the Illinois Fighting Illini takes a shot over Trayce Jackson-Davis #23 of the Indiana Hoosiers during the first half during the Big Ten Championship at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on March 11, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Justin Casterline/Getty Images/AFP (Photo by Justin Casterline / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

The NCAA Tournament bracket has been revealed, which means bettors have more clarity on a team's potential path to the Final Four and beyond when considering futures wagers. Read on for our best longshot picks for March Madness 2022

While there is no unanimously accepted definition of a "longshot," we eliminated the teams with the 10-best odds from consideration. Thus, our potential list of surprise national championship contenders started with odds of +2000 or worse and with no team higher than a No. 3 seed.

SEE ALSO: 2022 March Madness Field Set

Our list of five teams with great value to win the national championship involve three of the nine Big Ten teams in the field. We also included two veteran teams from the Big 12 and Big East, who finished third in their respective league in the regular season and who advanced to the semifinal round or later of their conference tournaments.

Here are my top longshot picks to win March Madness (odds via DraftKings Sportsbook; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale).

March Madness Odds

SEE ALSO: March Madness Odds and Picks


March Madness Longshot Picks

  • Texas Tech (+2200) ??? 
  • Iowa (+2200) ??? 
  • Illinois (+5000) ?? 
  • UConn (+8000) ? 
  • Wisconsin (+10000) ?

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NCAA Tournament Sleepers

Texas Tech (+2200)

Many thought Texas Tech head coach Mark Adams was deserving of the Big 12 Coach of the Year after the job he did in his first year. The Red Raiders dealt with injuries all season, as their second-leading scorer, guard Terrence Shannon Jr. (10.4 points per game), missed 11 games. Guard Kevin McCullar (9.7 PPG) missed eight. Still, Texas Tech finished third in the league behind two teams that are No. 1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament (Baylor and Kansas). The Red Raiders went 3-2 against those teams. 

Texas Tech leads all Division I teams in KenPom's adjusted defensive efficiency metric. In addition, the Red Raiders are a deep team that gets 38.2% of their minutes (39th-highest) from the bench. It is tough to focus on just one of their players defensively, as they have six players averaging better than eight points per game.

Texas Tech must first navigate a West region featuring top overall seed, Gonzaga. Still, the Raiders won't be intimidated by the Bulldogs in a possible Elite Eight matchup after playing them on Dec. 18.

The Red Raiders made the national championship game as a No. 3 seed under head coach Chris Beard three years ago, and they have the talent to make another run.

Iowa (+2200)

Arguably no team was more impressive in their conference tournament run than the Iowa Hawkeyes. Offensively, Iowa clicked on all cylinders in its four wins in Indianapolis and averaged 87.8 points per contest.

The Hawkeyes are led by the country's fourth-leading scorer, forward Keegan Murray and his 23.6 PPG. He became the first player in Big Ten Tournament history to score 25-plus points in three consecutive games. 

Iowa improved as the season went on, finishing 12-2 over the final 14 games after a 14-7 start. If the Hawkeyes continue to shoot as they did throughout the conference tournament, they will be a tough team to beat over the next three weeks.

Illinois (+5000)

While Iowa won the Big Ten Tournament, Illinois won a share of the regular-season title and entered the tournament as the league's No. 1 seed. The Fighting Illini are led by unstoppable center Kofi Cockburn, the only player in Division I to average 20 points and 10 rebounds this season.

Illinois won 20 or more regular-season games each of the past three seasons and was a No. 1 seed in last year's NCAA Tournament. Its guard play has been much more erratic this season than last, but if players like Andre Curbelo take better care of the basketball (at least three turnovers in five of the last eight games), the Fighting Illini are a dangerous team.

Illinois has to get by a dangerous Chattanooga team in its first game but could face an Arizona team that it nearly upset at home this season in the Sweet 16. Thus, winning the region and advancing beyond that is not out of the question for the Illini.

UConn (+8000)

On paper, UConn is as talented as any team in the country. It has arguably the Big East's best big man in Adama Sanogo and surrounds an elite shot creator in R.J. Cole with four players that shoot better than 33% from 3-point range.

UConn has proven it can beat the country's best teams with wins over Auburn and Villanova. If the Huskies could get by No. 1 seed Gonzaga in a potential Sweet 16 matchup, there are arguably no more talented teams in the bottom half of the West region than the Huskies.

Wisconsin (+10000)

Wisconsin crushed its preseason expectations after it was picked to finish 10th in the Big Ten. It eventually earned a share of the regular-season title. If you believe guard play wins in March, there are not many better backcourt duos than the Badgers' Johnny Davis and Brad Davison. While Wisconsin earned a No. 3 seed, it was given a gift by the NCAA Tournament committee by being placed in Milwaukee for the first two rounds.

Greg Gard's team is always disciplined and rarely do the Badgers beat themselves. Their path to the Final Four is tough with potential matchups against Auburn and Kansas in the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight, respectively, if seeding holds, but +10000 odds are a tremendous value for a team that competed well on a nightly basis in one of the country's deepest conferences.

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