The new college basketball season is just around the corner, and it seems impossible that it could get much better than last year.
In the first season with full crowds since the pandemic, the 2021-22 college basketball campaign delivered from start to finish. It all culminated with the Kansas Jayhawks overcoming a double-digit deficit to knock off the North Carolina Tar Heels in the national championship game.
WynnBET is turning the page to the 2022-23 campaign by releasing its national championship odds for the upcoming season. The opening numbers help give us an idea of initial expectations, at least before the madness begins.
2023 National Championship Odds
Odds as of Thursday, July 21
North Carolina +1000
Teams listed at +3000: Michigan, Tennessee, Texas, Texas Tech
Teams listed at +4000: Alabama, Illinois, Indiana
Teams listed at +5000: Auburn, Oregon, Villanova
Teams listed at +6000: Purdue, TCU, Virginia
Teams listed at +7500: Connecticut, Dayton, Florida, Florida State, Michigan State, Ohio State, San Diego State, Xavier
Teams listed at +10000: Iowa, Louisville, Marquette, Memphis, Miami FL, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Providence, Saint Louis, Texas A&M, USC, Virginia Tech, Wisconsin
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Meet The Favorites
It has practically become an annual tradition to see Gonzaga atop the betting board in the preseason futures market. Last year’s squad claimed the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament before losing to Arkansas in the Sweet 16, finishing the season with a 28-4 record.
Don’t fall victim to silly narratives about how Gonzaga can’t win in March. This team should be a contender once again, with Drew Timme coming back after averaging 18.4 points and 6.8 rebounds per game. He leads a talented squad that features Malachi Smith (Chattanooga transfer), Rasir Bolton and Julian Strawther.
The always entertaining @ZagMBB Drew Timme on what aspect of his game he will improve this summer, the potential of the Zags and his facial hair. More from @drewtimme2 during our Thursday posting this week on the @NCAA Social Series on why he returned to school. pic.twitter.com/9N2TTVUm87— Andy Katz (@TheAndyKatz) July 19, 2022
Another dominant regular season is on deck for the Bulldogs, who are ranked No. 1 in Bart Torvik’s preseason projections. A No. 1 seed is almost a certainty, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the year that Gonzaga finally cuts down the nets.
There is a lot to like about Kelvin Sampson’s squad, especially after the year the Cougars just had. Houston overcame some key injuries and went 32-6 en route to an Elite Eight appearance as a No. 5 seed. The Cougars ultimately lost to Villanova, but finished as the No. 2 team in the nation via Kenpom's final ratings.
Guards Marcus Sasser (17.7 points per game) and Jamal Shead (10 points per game) are both back for the Cougars. Houston also brought in five-star forward Jarace Walker, who is 6-foot-8 and projected to be a first-round pick in the 2023 NBA Draft.
There is plenty of talent on this roster for Houston to be in the mix come March.
The Tar Heels are bringing nearly everyone back from a team that made it all the way to the national championship game as a No. 8 seed. North Carolina will likely be the top-ranked team in preseason polls, but this squad comes in at No. 4 via Torvik’s projections.
UNC hit its stride toward the end of the season under Hubert Davis. The Tar Heels won 11 of their final 13 games, squandering a 15-point lead at halftime of the title game. Armando Bacot, Caleb Love and RJ Davis all returned for another shot at a national championship. We will have to wait and see if the Tar Heels get their storybook ending.
"IT'S LIVE ACTION." 🗣— NCAA March Madness (@MarchMadnessMBB) April 5, 2022
Hubert Davis is LOCKED IN for this #NationalChampionship game 😂 pic.twitter.com/gH9gXRF2Ya
Numbers That Stood Out
It will be several months until we crown a champion, but these opening numbers give us a better idea of where these teams stand at this point in the offseason. That said, there are a few prices that jumped out to me:
Creighton (+2000) — The Bluejays have become everyone’s offseason darling, but the hype might be out of control at this point. Creighton finished 50th in Kenpom’s final standings, so bettors are expecting a big leap from Greg McDermott’s group. Jim Root of Three Man Weave wrote this great piece about how improbable this level of leap would be for Creighton.
Texas (+3000) — There are legitimate concerns about how this roster fits on the offensive end, but Chris Beard’s squad could be dominant defensively. Texas had plenty of buzz last year, so buying in on this team a year later could prove to be a savvy move.
Illinois (+4000) — Illinois reloaded with some notable additions through the transfer portal. Terrence Shannon Jr. (Texas Tech) and Matthew Mayer (Baylor) offer enough upside to find this number intriguing in a wide-open Big Ten.
Futures Bets I Have Made
After cashing a ticket on Kansas to win the national championship a few months ago, I was eager to spend some of my winnings on the 2023 national championship market. I recently tweeted about my futures, but allow me to explain some of my logic behind both picks.
Baylor (23/1) — Had Baylor been healthy in the tourney, we might not have seen North Carolina make it past the first weekend. The Bears, who won a national championship in 2021, responded by claiming a share of a Big 12 title last year and eventually locking up a No. 1 seed. They finished as the No. 4 team in Kenpom’s final ratings, despite losing to UNC in the Round of 32.
The Bears enter the year as Torvik’s No. 2 overall squad, thanks to a talented backcourt. LJ Cryer and Adam Flagler are slated to return. Scott Drew also brought in freshman Keyonte George, who looked the part of a projected lottery pick during his debut in the GLOBL Jam. Baylor is going to be in the conversation for a Big 12 title and No. 1 seed once again.
Keyonte George scored 22.8 PPG in 5 GLOBL JAM games for Baylor. Few rough shooting games but positives outweigh the negatives. High level shot-making off pull-ups, finishes downhill once confidence starts pumping. pic.twitter.com/xe0MqkHYLf— Jonathan Wasserman (@NBADraftWass) July 11, 2022
San Diego State (100/1) — This ticket obviously has very little chance of winning, but was worth a sprinkle because the price was juicy enough.
San Diego State is currently the No. 11 overall team in Torvik’s preseason projections, which is the highest mark for a non-Power Five squad. For context, the beloved Creighton squad, which defeated San Diego State in the opening round of last year’s tourney, is 25th in those same preseason projections.
The Aztecs have their identity, too, as they will have no problem locking teams up. San Diego State finished as the second-best team in adjusted defensive efficiency last year and project to be just as lethal on that end this year. Matt Bradley will lead the way after averaging 16.9 points per game last year.
This is a team that should expect to be playing past the first weekend.
Looking ahead to college hoops, San Diego State could be a Top 15 team in the country. @Aztec_MBB returns 4 of its top 5 leading scorers from last season. Matt Bradley is a star. Defense? #2 nationally per KenPom last year. A deep March run is possible for Brian Dutcher’s team.— John Fanta (@John_Fanta) July 20, 2022