- Villanova (+700) and Iowa (+750) have the best odds to win the 2021 college basketball national title
- Kentucky (+1000) has two of the nation’s top freshmen in B.J. Boston and Terrence Clark
- Big-name programs like Duke (+1600), Kansas (+1800), and Michigan State (+1800) are expected to struggle this year
After canceling the 2020 March Madness tournament in the early days of COVID-19, the NCAA was also forced to push back the start of the 2020-21 men’s basketball season as the pandemic rages on.
With the season’s Nov. 25th start-date quickly approaching, let’s look at the latest Bovada odds to win the 2021 NCAA Championship and breakdown all the favorites.
ODDS TO WIN 2021 NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP
VILLANOVA THE EARLY FAVORITE
After winning two of the last four NCAA championships (2016 and ‘18), the Wildcats (+700) are once again the favorite. Jay Wright’s club returns mostly intact from last year and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl and Collin Gillespie are both getting early buzz as potential Big East players of the year.
Unlike Villanova, it’s odd to see Iowa (+750) mentioned among the contenders. The Hawkeyes haven’t advanced past the second round of the NCAA tournament since 1999, but this year they have star senior Luka Garza, the favorite to win player of the year, leading a fun offense that has scorers at every position.
Jeremiah Robinson-Earl returning to Villanova is no small thing | Mike Jensen https://t.co/mD8xK26YVm via @phillyinquirer
— Mike Jensen (@jensenoffcampus) April 14, 2020
Gonzaga (+1000) is bringing in Jalen Suggs, a top-10 prospect in the Class of 2020 and the highest-rated recruit in the school’s history, to join a strong nucleus of senior forward Corey Kispert, junior guard Joel Ayayi and power forward Drew Timmie. Illinois (+1000) is also loaded after the return of wing Ayo Dosunmu and center Kofi Cockburn, who could form one of the best 1-2 tandems in college basketball.
WHAT ABOUT THE BLUE BLOODS?
Kentucky (+1000) is the only blue-blood program listed among the top five after John Calipari once again recruited his butt off, bringing in 6-foot-6 shooting guard B.J. Boston and 6-foot-7 forward Terrence Clark. Reportedly flourishing in Wildcats practice, both freshmen will be complemented by a boatload of skilled transfers, including Olivier Sarr, Jacob Toppin, and Davion Mintz.
Duke (+1600), Kansas (+1800), and North Carolina (+2200) aren’t getting a lot of respect from oddsmakers. The Blue Devils don’t have their usual top-end star power and last year’s top team in college hoops, the Jayhawks, lost Devon Dotson and Udoka Azubuike from their starting five. After a miserable 2019-20 season, the Tarheels look to rebound with a loaded frontcourt and freshman Caleb Love running the point.
While both John Calipari and Mike Krzyzewski recruit from the same pool of prospects, there are big differences in the way each runs their program.@JonathanTjarks: https://t.co/BwdM47Crar
— The Ringer (@ringer) November 6, 2020
Still technically the defending champs, Virginia (+1600) should remain in the mix with junior guard Kihei Clark and senior sharpshooter Sam Hauser. Meanwhile, Michigan State (+1800) looks overvalued with Cassius Winston’s college career now over and Xavier Tillman deciding to stay in the NBA Draft.
If you’re looking for value, Wisconsin (+2000), a co-winner of the Big Ten regular season in 2020, has a deep, balanced team that could make a run to the Final Four if everything breaks their way.