2022 March Madness Cinderella Bets


The most exciting part of the NCAA Tournament might be watching Cinderella teams emerge during March Madness. Identifying the right 2022 March Madness long shot bets can be incredibly profitable, particularly when it comes to Final Four odds.

The first weekend of the Big Dance features exciting upsets, but there aren’t always true March Madness Cinderella teams that make it all the way to the Final Four. The cream usually rises to the top in the regional finals. Six out of every 10 Final Four teams have been a No. 1 or a No. 2 seed. Close to 83% of teams that win their region have been seeded No. 4 or better.


What makes a true Cinderella team? Having worse than +2500 odds to make the Final Four should qualify. Forty 2022 NCAA Tournament teams fall into that category at BetMGM.

Here’s a look at the best March Madness Cinderella bets in each region and their 2022 Final Four odds.

West Region: No. 10 Davidson, +6600

A trip to the Final Four would make Davidson one of the best March Madness Cinderella bets in recent memory. The Wildcats have to get by Michigan State and probably Duke just to reach the Sweet 16. No. 1 overall seed Gonzaga would likely await Davidson in the Elite Eight. 

Davidson ranks 12th in points per 100 possessions, bolstered by the nation’s eighth-best three-point percentage. If the Wildcats get hot from behind the arc, it can make up for any talent gap between Davidson and a top seed. Leading scorer Foster Loyer has recorded at least 20 points in six of the last nine games.

Davidson’s top four scorers all average at least 11.9 points on better than 37.8% three-point shooting. Not reliant on one or two scorers, the Wildcats are unlikely to go completely cold from the floor. 

Only 10 teams average more turnovers than Davidson. Bob McKillop has been Davidson’s head coach since 1989 and is making his 10th NCAA Tournament appearance. The Wildcats won’t beat themselves in the tournament, giving them a puncher’s chance in the West.


East Region: No. 7 Murray State, +3300

Murray State has never reached the Sweet 16, let alone the Final Four. Odds at BetMGM give the Racers the same chance to win the East as teams seeded No. 9-12 in the region. Underestimating the Ohio Valley Conference Champion could be a mistake. 

The Racers have the best winning percentage in the 2022 NCAA Tournament with a 30-2 record. Murray State’s only loss in its last 28 games came against No. 2 seed Auburn, which spent several weeks atop the AP Top 25 Poll. Murray State has faced an easy schedule, but they’ve routinely dominated teams. The Racers have a 17-point average margin of victory, good for second in the nation.

Averaging 18.2 points and 8.6 rebounds in just 28.6 minutes per game, forward KJ Williams can cause problems for March Madness opponents. Tevin Brown scores 16.9 points per game and makes 38.9% of the 8.0 threes he attempts per contest. Murray State ranks 13th in defensive efficiency. 

Injuries make No. 1 Baylor the weakest top seed in the bracket. No. 3 Purdue is vulnerable because of its poor defense. If Murray State can manage to survive the first weekend, they’ll have a real chance to reach the Final Four.

South Region: No. 10 Loyola Chicago, +3300

Loyola Chicago is not your typical sleeper pick from a mid-major conference. The Ramblers are only four years removed from making a Final Four run and turning Sister Jean into a household name. As a No. 10 seed, Loyola Chicago is still considered a long shot to make it out of the South.

A good defensive team that is led by seniors who have NCAA Tournament experience, Loyola has the makings of a smart Cinderella bet. Four of the Ramblers’ top five scorers were part of last year’s Sweet Sixteen run. That includes leading scorer Lucas Williamson, who averages 14.0 points per game. Loyola is the nation’s 10th-best three-point shooting team.

Williamson is the back-to-back Missouri Valley Conference Defensive Player of the Year. No. 5 Houston is the only team in the South that gives up fewer points than Loyola. In early-season matchups with Michigan State and Auburn, the Ramblers didn’t surrender more than 63 points. 

In the first round, Loyola faces a slumping Ohio State team that has lost four of its last five games. The Ramblers’ perimeter defense could give them a chance to upset No. 2 Villanova in the second round. Loyola has shown that anything can happen if they reach the second weekend.


Midwest Region: No. 11 Iowa State, +6600

At the start of the 2021-2022 season, the idea that Iowa State could make a Final Four run seemed laughable. Coming off a 2-22 campaign, the Cyclones were picked to finish dead last in the Big 12. A new head coach and one of the best transfers in college basketball have given Iowa State hope of making noise in March Madness.

Coach T. J. Otzelberger led the Cyclones to a 20-12 record. Iowa State has gone from one of the nation’s worst defensive teams to ranking 18th in defensive efficiency. The Cyclones limit their opponents to 29.6% shooting from three-point range.

Senior transfer Izaiah Brockington leads the team with 17.2 points and 7.1 rebounds per game. Brockington can take over games, scoring more than 25 points five times, including a 35-point performance Feb. 23. Freshman guard Tyrese Hunter is averaging 11.6 points and 6.1 assists over the last nine games. 

Iowa State has struggled after a hot start with an 8-12 record since New Year’s Day. The Cyclones have six wins against teams seeded No. 9 or better in the NCAA Tournament, including a 20-point victory over No. 2 Iowa. Iowa State has a low floor, but they’ve also got a high ceiling that makes them dangerous in the tournament.

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