- BetOnline has Michigan State (+800) as the “team to beat” in college basketball
- Louisville (+1200) is viewed as a top-five national championship favorite after a hot start from Jordan Nwora
- Memphis (+2000) is no longer seen as a contender after losing freshman star James Wiseman to a recruiting scandal
John Calipari is a born hustler. The same week that his Wildcats lost to Evansville in one of the biggest upsets in NCAA basketball history, he recruited his fourth five-star prospect for the 2020-21 season, continuing Kentucky’s rich tradition of one-and-done college hoops.
While the loss will surely cost Coach Cal’s boys to fall from their No. 1 ranking in the AP poll, oddsmakers barely batted an eye, dropping Kentucky from +800 before the start of the season to +1000.
Other blue-blood schools such as Duke (+1000), Kansas (+1200) and North Carolina (+1600) all remain near the top of the board, while Tom Izzo’s Michigan State Spartans are still the favorite (+800). However, some teams’ national championship odds have seen big swings at BetOnline. Let’s review.
ODDS TO WIN 2020 NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP
|Team||Current Odds||Trending||July 24/2019|
After capturing the ACC’s Most Improved Player of the Year award last season with per-game averages of 17.6 points and 7.7 rebounds, Jordan Nwora has started the year hot for Louisville, scoring 20 points in each of his first three games. Looking like a candidate to be an all-American, the 6-foot-7 Nigerian has raised the Cardinals (+1200) to top-five contenders in oddsmakers’ eyes.
Averaging a 35.5-point margin of victory through four games against iffy competition, Gonzaga has moved from +2000 to +1600. Ohio State ascended from +3300 to +2500 after destroying No. 10 Villanova 76-51 last Wednesday, and Bruce Pearl’s Auburn team is up to +2800 after opening the season with four straight wins.
Throw it down then, @JordanNwora.
Watch out for @LouisvilleMBB in transition. pic.twitter.com/gJR01xG1uH
— FOX Sports South (@FOXSportsSouth) November 10, 2019
That said, the biggest riser is out West. Oregon earned an impressive eight-point win over No. 13 Memphis on Tuesday and now sits at 4-0. With seniors Payton Pritchard and Shakur Juiston (a UNLV transfer) both coming out of the gate strong, the reigning Pac-12 champions have moved from +2800 to +1600 to win the national title.
Kansas dropped to +1200 after committing 28 turnovers in a sloppy season-opening defeat to Duke, and Florida fell to +2000 after 6-foot-10 grad transfer Kerry Blackshear Jr. missed all five of his field-goal attempts in an upset-loss to the Seminoles. The Gators subsequently scraped by Towson (66-60) and lost at UConn (62-59) as four-point favorites.
Villanova also saw its odds descend to +2500 after its aforementioned defeat to the Buckeyes.
The story of the young college basketball season, however, has been the drama in Memphis, where freshman star James Wiseman has been ruled ineligible after it was revealed that Wiseman’s mother accepted $11,500 for moving expenses from Tigers coach Penny Hardaway in the summer of 2017.
COLUMN: Memphis is ready to end its fight against the NCAA, but Penny Hardaway is not.https://t.co/pfT6dwYXQ6
— Mark Giannotto (@mgiannotto) November 16, 2019
Now missing the 7-foot-1 center who many expect to be the No. 1-overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, Memphis’ odds have cratered to +2000 from +1000 before the year.
The defending champs from Virginia have also seen their odds lengthen from +1100 in the summer to +2000 today despite holding their opponents to an average of 37 points in three wins to begin the season. While returning players such as Kihei Clark and Mamadi Diakite have enjoyed strong starts for the Cavaliers, Tony Bennett is missing his three-leading scorers from last year’s title team and are averaging just 57.7 PPG themselves.