March Madness Upsets

10 Biggest March Madness Betting Upsets Ever: Fairleigh Dickinson Makes History

March Madness is officially underway. College basketball's three-week extravaganza is full of upsets, as the single-elimination format puts pressure on even the most talented squads to perform. Few college hoops fans remember all the champions of yesteryear, but everybody can reminisce about their favorite March Madness upset.

Fairleigh Dickinson miraculously pulled off the largest against the spread upset in March Madness history with their 63-58 victory as 23.5-point dogs. The Knights were as high as +2000 on the moneyline, and came away with the second ever upset of a No. 1 seed by a No.16 seed in the the tournament's opening round.

If you’re looking for predict the next big March Madness upset, let our college basketball computer picks aid in your betting research. From there you'll need to capitalize on a big underdog, so check out March Madness betting sites to find the best sportsbook for you.

Few will ever forget Steve Nash's Santa Clara defeating No. 2 Arizona back in 1993, or VCU cruising past top-ranked Kansas in 2011. Nothing is more exciting than betting on the underdog.

Top 10 Biggest March Madness Upsets

Biggest March Madness Spread Upsets
DateUnderdogFavoriteClosing SpreadFinal Score
March 17, 2023No. 16 Fairleigh DickinsonNo. 1 Purdue-/+23.563-58 Fairleigh Dickinson
March 16, 2012No. 15 Norfolk StNo. 2 Mizzou-/+ 21.086-84 Norfolk St
March 16, 2018No. 16 UMBCNo. 1 Virginia-/+ 20.574-54 UMBC
March 14, 1997No. 15 Coppin StNo. 2 South Carolina-/+ 19.078-65 Coppin St
March 17, 2022No. 15 Saint Peter’sNo. 2 Kentucky-/+ 18.585-79 Saint Peter’s
March 15, 2001No. 15 HamptonNo. 2 Iowa State-/+ 17.558-57 Hampton
March 18, 2016No. 15 Middle TennesseeNo. 2 Michigan St-/+ 16.590-81 Middle Tennessee
March 19, 2021No. 15 Oral RobertsNo. 2 Ohio State-/+ 1575-72 Oral Roberts
March 11, 1999No. 14 Weber StNo. 3 UNC-/+ 1576-74 Weber St
March 16, 2023No. 15 PrincetonNo. 2 Arizona-/+ 1559-55 Princeton

The teams above are some of the most profitable March Madness bracket busters in the history of the tournament. If you’re unfamiliar with what the odds mean, check out our How to Bet on March Madness guide.

What Was The Biggest Upset In March Madness History?

The largest upset in March Madness history came of out nowhere. Fairleigh Dickinson had gone just 21-16 in the regular season with few signature wins to write home about.

Meanwhile the Purdue Boilermakers were led by a proven head coach, and college basketball National Player of the Year Zach Edey. The 7'4 behemoth had been unstoppable all season, and the Knights lacked both the size and ability to slow down the Boilermakers. 

Yet, the Knights forced 16 turnovers and knocked down seven three-points to come away with an unbelievable victory. With the win Fairleigh Dickinson became just the second No.16 seed to defeat a No.1 seed in the first round of the NCAAB Tournament.

Recent March Madness Upsets

The most recent upset to make the list occurred just last season, with Princeton memorably knocking off Arizona before Fairleigh Dickinson felled the giants of Purdue.

We've now gone three straight years with upsets that rank among the greatest in March Madness history.

There are sure to be a multitude of upsets in store for the 2024 March Madness Tournament. So head on over to our college basketball betting sites page and get in on the action.

How To Bet On An Upset In March Madness

Here at Odds Shark, we have many betting resources to help your handicapping process and hopefully find an upset to cash in on. To start, our college basketball scores page has consensus picks, the spread for the game and links to line history and matchup information. 

If you're looking for more information, below is a list of the betting history of the March Madness opening round since 1996.

March Madness Seed Betting History


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