Odds Say Both Obama & Trump Will Pick Top Seeds to Win 2019 NCAA Tournament

Barack Obama filling out March Madness bracket
Former President Barack Obama made the Presidential March Madness bracket a tradition. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
  • Obama made presidential March Madness brackets a tradition during eight years in the White House
  • Former president accurately picked North Carolina to win the national championship in 2009, 2017
  • A harsh critic of Obama’s brackets, Trump has declined to publish brackets since 2016 election

Over the past decade, the lead up to the NCAA Tournament has not been complete without a March Madness bracket from Barack Obama.

The 44th president of the United States strengthened the presidential tradition of publishing a tournament bracket during his eight years in the White House, and has continued to make his picks public since his departure from office two years ago.

Top seeds have dominated Obama’s picks to win the national championship since he published his first bracket in 2009, and that trend is expected to continue this year, with the former junior senator from Illinois favored to pick a No. 1 seed to win it all, sporting short -200 odds on the March Madness props.

Odds Which Seed Barack Obama & President Trump Select to Win 2019 NCAA Tournament

Politician Odds to take a No. 1 Seed Odds to take a No. 2 Seed Odds to take any other Seed
Barack Obama -200 +200 +400
Donald Trump -200 +250 +300

*Odds taken March 20

If you haven’t filled out your bracket yet, see our Printable 2019 March Madness Bracket.

Obama Extended Election Honeymoon by Picking Winner in 2009

The political honeymoon that Obama enjoyed after romping to victory over John McCain in the 2008 US presidential election continued with his first-ever presidential bracket 10 years ago.

Just months after running rock with the North Carolina Tar Heels during a 2008 election campaign spot in Chapel Hill, Obama displayed a magic touch by correctly picking No. 1 UNC to march to the 2009 national championship.

Top Seeds Regularly Received Obama’s  Presidential Nod

Obama stuck with top seeds in each of the following four years, and in eight of the 10 brackets he has published since first ascending to the presidency.

Obama selected a top seed to win the NCAA Men’s Tournament in eight of 10 years

While Obama has successfully picked just one national champion since 2009, the Tar Heels in 2017, his strategy of going with top seeds has proven to be sound.

No. 1 seeds have marched to the national championship in six of the past nine editions of March Madness, and the odds of a top seed winning this year’s NCAA Tournament are pegged at a short -200 on the March Madness props.

Upsets Have Prevailed When Obama has Gone Off the Board

And when Obama has gone off the board by going with a pick other than a top seed, it has usually been followed by an NCAA Tournament where upsets prevail.

Obama seemed to sense the unexpected was in the air when he went for No. 4 Michigan State over No. 4 Louisville in the national championship game on his 2014 bracket.

Neither the Spartans nor Cardinals reached the Final Four, with MSU seeing their run end in the Elite Eight after knocking off top-seed Virginia, and Louisville advancing as far as the Sweet Sixteen.

Obama’s decision to look beyond the top seeds proved accurate that year, with a national championship decided in a clash between No. 7 Connecticut and No. 8 Kentucky.

However, the odds of Obama going with a pick outside the top two seeds at this year’s tournament lag at lengthy +400.

Trump has Declined to Publish Brackets Since 2016 Election

While Obama continues to enthusiastically make his picks public, Donald Trump has respectfully declined to maintain the presidential tradition since entering the White House two years ago.

A harsh critic of Obama’s annual televised March Madness bracket selections, Trump has stayed out of the NCAA Tournament conversation over the past two years.

However, that has not prevented some fans from making picks on his behalf.

And should he decide to make his picks public this year, the odds of Trump going with a top seed are also pegged at a short -200, while a presidential nod towards a No. 2 seed will pay off on +250 odds.

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