College basketball is finally here, which means that hundreds of teams have the same goal, to reach March Madness and make a run when they get there. While the list of teams with a realistic chance to make the national championship game is a short one, there is still the potential to find value in the college basketball futures markets this season.
NCAA Tournament Championship Futures Odds
College Basketball National Championship Handicapping
The Favorites To Win the Championship
Across most sportsbooks, there is a pretty clearly defined list of favorites to win the national championship this year. Gonzaga, Houston, North Carolina, and Kentucky are the teams that have the best odds among the pack to win the national championship. Trailing them closely are teams like Arkansas, UCLA, and Baylor, who are also expected to be among the last teams standing this college basketball season.
Among those teams, Houston is very interesting, as they are not typically considered a team with national championship quality. But after making the Final Four two seasons ago, and playing well in spite of injuries last year, they are looking like a team that could certainly contend for the title when all is said and done.
The question for teams like Gonzaga and North Carolina this season comes down to making up for the talent they lost after last season. With players like Chet Holmgren leaving Gonzaga for the NBA, how these elite teams make up for the loss of some great talent will have a lot to do with how the national championship picture plays out throughout this year.
Best of the Rest
Beyond the title favorites, there are several teams with a chance to win the national title that rank right behind the teams mentioned above. Squads like Kansas, Tennessee, and Duke are all in the 15/1 to 20/1 range to cut down the nets following the Final Four. These teams have some roster concerns that the top favorites do not have to worry about, but they also have the potential to make it past those problems to win it all.
Of course, this is the first season for Duke without Mike Krzyzewski at the helm, and that will be an interesting dynamic to monitor this season. Also interesting will be seeing how Tennessee performs after another underwhelming tournament performance under Rick Barnes. Meanwhile, the defending national champion Kansas Jayhawks will feel like they should be the favorite to repeat.
For those looking for a longshot bet to win the national title, a team like Syracuse could be worth a pull at close to 100/1 odds. They are not the most talented team in the country, but their zone defense clearly works for them at tournament time. If they get into the dance, they are always a threat to make a deep run, which could enable hedging situations down the stretch.
This season could be very unpredictable in college basketball, thanks to the slew of coaching changes and player movement that has emerged over the last couple of seasons. Bettors looking for teams at long odds to back during the tournament will want to keep their eyes open throughout the season for teams with potential to be among the elites late in the season.