Powered by the No. 1 recruiting class in the country and a Hall of Fame coach in Mike Krzyzewski, Duke to win the 2019 NCAA Championship when odds were introduced in early April.
And not much has changed for the Blue Devils since.
Duke, which is ranked No. 3 in the , enters the 2018 season as a bonafide top-3 team. Led by super-dunker Zion Williamson and his left-handed running mate, R.J. Barrett, it has realistic title aspirations behind one of the most talented recruiting classes in program history.
Duke’s odds have been unchanged in the summer months, as it still boasts the same 5-1 odds it opened with, but another blueblood — Kentucky — now shares the same odds and can claim the co-favorite label as the season fast approaches. John Calipari and the Wildcats moved up the ranks from 8-1 to 5-1 odds this summer thanks in large part due to the offseason acquisition of graduate transfer Reid Travis and the retainment of P.J. Washington. And they aren’t alone in their rise.
Nevada and Indiana are also big summer odd-risers, as they saw their odds rise respectively to 12-1 and 40-1, up quite a ways from the 60-1 and 200-1 odds the programs opened at immediately following the NCAA Tournament final.
So as we recast expectations for the upcoming season and update the latest NCAA Tournament title odds with the insight of SportsLine expert Josh Nagel, let’s take a look at some notable risers — and fallers — in the college basketball landscape based off updated odds from the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook.
Which teams should you back to make the Final Four and win it all, and which will fall well short of their projected win totals? Join SportsLine today? and get projected scores and stats from 10,000 simulations, plus get Vegas insider picks, fantasy advice and much more! Use promo code KICKOFF? to get your first month for only $1!
SportsLine’s take: This move is basically a byproduct of Villanova’s massive roster turnover following its run to the national title. There’s little doubt the performance by Donte DiVincenzo in the title game improved his draft stock and influenced his decision to turn pro. Point guard Jalen Brunson called it a college career after winning a second national title, and forward Omari Spellman followed suit. Along with lottery pick Mikal Bridges, the Wildcats lost four starters to the NBA draft (only Eric Paschall returns). This lowers the expectation bar and impacts the futures market, even though they have a well-regarded recruiting class. — Josh Nagel
- Rank in : 1
- Odds: Opened 8-1, currently 5-1
- Gone from 2017-18 team: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Hamidou Diallo, Wenyen Gabriel, Kevin Knox, Sacha Killeya-Jones, Jarred Vanderbilt, Tai Wynyard
- Notable additions: Reid Travis, EJ Montgomery, Ashton Hagans, Keldon Johnson, Immanuel Quickley, Tyler Herro
SportsLine’s take: The Wildcats always receive their share of early attention in the college basketball futures market, in large part because of the annual swell of incoming blue-chip talent that fills their rosters. Although coach John Calipari again has three five-star recruits in the mix, this time the attention for the Wildcats has to do with veteran talent. Forward P.J. Washington bypassed the NBA to return for another season. But a groundswell of support hit Kentucky upon the news it had landed graduate transfer Reid Travis from Stanford. The all-conference selection averaged 19.5 points and 8.7 rebounds for the Cardinal last season. — Nagel
SportsLine’s take: The Tar Heels have a solid veteran presence in seniors Kenny Williams and Luke Maye, both of whom are holdovers from the 2017 national championship team. They also have what is widely regarded as one of their best recruiting classes in recent memory, led by five-star shooting guard Coby White. This price will likely go down as the season progresses, but North Carolina offers some early value in large part because of the high volume of action that ACC rival and national-title favorite Duke (5-1) is receiving in the futures market. — Nagel
SportsLine’s take: The Spartans have long been the off-season darlings in the college basketball futures market, but appears their supporters are starting to lose faith. Michigan State was the early favorite to win it all last year but, with another second-round exit, now hasn’t made it past the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament for three straight seasons. It appears coach Tom Izzo is starting to lose a little bit of shine from his reputation as a March magician. Losing Jaren Jackson and Miles Bridges to the draft lottery doesn’t help, and what is generally viewed as a solid but unspectacular recruiting class won’t inspire handicappers to back the Spartans. — Nagel
SportsLine’s take: Following their dramatic run to the Sweet 16, coach Eric Musselman’s Wolf Pack have seen by far the most support and odds movement in the college basketball futures market. Stars Caleb and Cody Martin tested the NBA waters before eventually returning to Nevada, as did rugged forward Jordan Caroline. With one of the most experienced rosters in the country already set, Nevada got an extra boost when McDonald’s All-American Jordan Brown signed with the Wolf Pack. Early prospectors who grabbed 40-1 or better are holding a ticket with great potential equity, but all the value has been drained at the current price. — Nagel
- Rank in : 25
- Odds: Opened 200-1, currently 40-1
- Gone from 2017-18 team:
- Notable additions: Five-star freshman Romeo Langford, top-150 recruits Jerome Hunter, Damezi Anderson, Robert Phinisee, Jake Forrester
SportsLine’s take: The support for the Hoosiers is the direct result of them landing one of the top recruiting classes in the country. The topper was the signing of five-star shooting guard Romeo Langford, who will become the program’s first Indiana Mr. Basketball since Cody Zeller. Langford joins what was already considered a standout class that includes in-state talents in small forward Damezi Anderson and point guard Robert Phinisee. Moreover, forward Juwan Morgan bypassed the NBA to return for his senior season. Morgan averaged 16.5 points and 7.4 rebounds last year. — Nagel
Odds to win 2019 NCAA Tournament
via Westgate Las Vegas Superbook