College Basketball National Championship Odds: Top Teams Stumble, UCLA Surges Up The Board To +850

Updated: 10 Sport

Devin Anthony Ellington surveys the college basketball landscape with five days left before Selection Sunday.

College Basketball National Championship Odds: Top Teams Stumble, UCLA Surges Up The Board To +850
Devin Ellington Basketball Editor

Devin Anthony Ellington is OLBGs expert Basketball writer. He has previously contributed to numerous quality publications including ESPN.

  • Six out of the top ten teams took losses on Saturday.
  • Marquette (opened 160:1, now 15:1) went 2-0 and is a positioned to grab a top three seed.
  • Tennessee (+2500) suffered a crucial loss when their point guard Zakai Zeigler tore his ACL.

On a wickedly wild Saturday in college basketball, we saw two of the top three teams, 60% of the AP Top-10, and every ranked Big 12 team facing an unranked foe all suffer defeats. Houston (+650) remains the top team in the AP and Coaches polls as well as for the futures betting market but even the seemingly invincible Coogs were tested by Penny Hardaway and Memphis. It took a Jamal Shead buzzer beater for UH to snatch a win out of the jaws of defeat. Kansas (+850) and Alabama (+750) both tumbled on the road after clinching the Big XII and SEC regular season crowns, respectively. The UCLA Bruins cashed in on a golden opportunity by beating both Arizona State and USC, a loss to either of these teams would have hurt the Bruins case for a 1-Seed. As of now UCLA (+850) is a strong candidate to cut down the nets post March Madness.

College Basketball National Championship 2023 Betting

Team Moneyline Probability
Houston Cougars +650 13.33%
Alabama Crimson Tide +750 11.76%
Kansas Jayhawks +800 11.11%
UCLA Bruins
+850 10.53%
Purdue Boilermakers
+1200 7.69%
Arizona Wildcats
+1200 7.69%
Baylor Bears
+1500 6.25%
UConn Huskies +1500 6.25%
Gonzaga Bulldogs +2000 4.76%
Tennessee Volunteers +2500 3.85%
Texas Longhorns
+2500 3.85%
Indiana Hoosiers +3000 3.23%
TCU Horned Frogs +3000 3.23%
St. Mary's (CA) Gaels +3000 3.23%
Marquette Golden Eagles
+3000 3.23%
Virginia Cavaliers
+3500 2.78%
Creighton Bluejays +3500
2.78%
Kentucky Wildcats +4000 2.44%
Duke Blue Devils +4000 2.44%
Miami (FL) Hurricanes +4000 2.44%
Arkansas Razorbacks +5000
1.96%
Xavier Musketeers +5000 1.96%
Kansas State Wildcats +5000 1.96%
Texas A&M Aggies +6600
1.49%
Maryland Terrapins +7500 1.32%
Iowa State Cyclones +7500
1.32%
Michigan State Spartans +7500
1.32%
Illinois Fighting Illini
+8000 1.23%
Auburn Tigers +8000 1.23%
Iowa Hawkeyes +8000 1.23%
San Diego State Aztecs +10000 .99%
Providence Friars +10000 .99%
North Carolina Tar Heels +10000 .99%
Northwestern Wildcats +12000
.83%
West Virginia Mountaineers +12000 .83%
Memphis Tigers +15000
.66%
USC Trojans +15000 .66%
Missouri Tigers +15000
.66%
NC State Wolfpack +15000
.66%
Texas Tech Red Raiders +15000
.66%
Pittsburgh Panthers +17500 .57%
Florida Atlantic Owls +20000 .5%
Dayton Flyers +25000 .4%
Drake Bulldogs +30000 .33%
Oral Roberts +30000
.33%

When building a pre-NCAA Tournament futures portfolio it's ideal to have at least one team in the +5000 range. When selecting which +5000 long shot to take there are some key notes to consider with these teams. Duke (+5000) is getting healthier and the leadership of Jeremy Roach is something that most national championship teams have seemingly had in their DNA. The question for the Blue Devils is if their first year head coach, Jon Scheyer will be able to navigate his team through the treacherous seas of March Madness. A team that has stoic, veteran and exemplary coaching is Virginia (+5000). Tony Bennett has already won a national title in his coaching career–his glacial pace (360th of 363 teams) is perfect for bracket play. Kentucky and Miami (FL) are two other teams that fall into this group. Bracket placement and seeding will play a huge role in the value for betting on the teams discussed.

March has fully arrived, as multiple top seeds have already lost in their conference tournaments. Eastern Washington lost at the buzzer to Northern Arizona in the Big Sky quarterfinals on Sunday night.

Devin Anthony Ellington - College Basketball Expert - OLBG.com

With the Power-6 conferences starting conference tournaments this week, I have included two teams that are a 4-seed or lower in their conference tourney. These teams hold value to make a strong push in their postseason brackets as well as making it into the Big Dance. In the A-10, 7-Seed George Washington is a dangerous opponent because they hold the highest conference defensive rating for efficiency (111.5) and are the only team rated over 110 for adjusted offensive efficiency– the Colonials are 3rd for offensive efficiency. Then there's the 5-seed Washington State Cougars who have had the 20th-ranked toughest schedule. The Coogs have been tested time and time again in the Conference of Champions. WSU is offensively capable to hang with the upper-tier teams in their conference and hold a Top-64 ranking for Average Season Rank, and both offensive and defensive adjusted efficiency, per Bart Torvik. 

George Washington is a sleeper to keep an eye on in the A-10 tournament. James Bishop IV leads the A-10 in scoring with over 22 per game during conference play.

Devin Anthony Ellington - College Basketball Expert - OLBG.com

While some teams will have to sweat out Selection Sunday there are already a handful of teams who have punched tickets to the Big Dance. Fairleigh Dickinson by rule receives the auto-bid for the NEC; their championship game opponent, Merrimack, is under NCAA transition protocols. Southeast Missouri State ran the gamut as a lower seed and shocked the expected favorite, Morehead State during the semis. Pre-tournament favorites UNC-Asheville (Big South) and Drake (MVC) both won their tournaments. Lastly, Kennesaw State continues their magical season–the Owls won just four games two years ago. Kennesaw clinched the regular season and conference tourney titles, thus clinching their first-ever spot in March Madness.

When filling out brackets, it's as much about avoiding teams susceptible to early exits as is it nailing your champion. There are a few teams inside the top-10 for offensive efficiency who also fall outside of the Top-30 for defensive efficiency. Most notably, Xavier lost Zach Freemantle for the year as he elected to have season ending surgery, this significantly hurts Xaviers chances of a deep run. Gonzaga (+2000) owns the best offense in the nation but are 190th on defense. Baylor and Arizona are both close to Gonzaga in the rankings as well as on the futures board. Baylor has fought injuries all season, and Arizona has wilted down the stretch splitting their last six games. Xavier, Gonzaga, Baylor and Arizona could all be early exit candidates in a week and a half. 

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