An Early Look at March

College basketball season is right around the corner with the Champions Classic kicking things off on November 9th. This will be the first truly full season since 2018-19, as 2020 was cut short and 2021 was an abbreviated regular season. Read more and be ready for the year by looking at some of the future odds for teams to win the championship in 2022.

The team with the best odds to win it all this season by far is the Gonzaga Bulldogs at +650. Gonzaga have proven they can win in March with two championship game appearances within the last five years. However, with no other team having odds better than +1200, there are far better bets than Gonzaga. Yes, the Zags will be the number one team when the season starts and likely for much of the year. But taking one of the teams with a better payout feels like the best investment.

The teams in the +1200 to +1600 range that look like the best bets are Villanova, Kansas and Kentucky. Experienced backcourts are arguably the best asset a team can have in college hoops and perhaps no team can rival Villanova’s experience with Collin Gillespie and Justin Moore in the backcourt. Preseason Big East Player of the Year Gillespie had his senior season cut short by injury and should be especially motivated as he elected to return for his extra year of eligibility. Kansas should also sport a very experienced lineup headlined by Arizona State transfer Remy Martin. The Jayhawks also return Ochai Agbaji, David McCormack and Jalen Wilson while adding upperclassmen like Martin, Jalen Coleman-Lands and Joseph Yesufu via transfer. Bill Self always gets the most out of his teams and this is one of the deepest and most experienced teams he has had. Finally, out of the blue bloods that struggled last season, Kentucky feels like the best bet to bounce back with a full offseason under their belts. The Wildcats added stud transfers in Oscar Tshiebwe, Kellan Grady and CJ Fredrick while bringing in a top recruiting class per usual. Kentucky is just +1600 to win it all, which feels like a bargain for an elite program that suffered just one bad season.

The two bets that look like poor investments are Purdue at +1300 and UCLA at +1500. Purdue should have a great season as they return pretty much their entire roster from a team that earned a 4-seed last year. However, Matt Painter has never made a Final Four and this team likely isn’t as good as the teams he had with Carsen Edwards or Robbie Hummel. Expecting them to win the whole thing at the same odds as Kansas feels like a stretch. UCLA were the darlings of last March and return Johnny Juzang, Tyger Campbell and more while adding a 5-star freshman. But don’t forget this same UCLA team barely even made the NCAA Tournament as an 11-seed in the First Four. The Bruins needed overtime just to get out of the First Four and also got to face Abilene Christian in the Second Round before needing nail-biting wins to beat Alabama and Michigan. It was an amazing run by UCLA for sure, but expecting them to repeat that success seems unlikely.

Lastly, a few dart throws that could pay off are Houston (+2500), Florida State (+3000), Oregon (+3000) and Auburn (+5000).