An Early Look at NCAA Tournament Favorites

College basketball is less than a month away from being back into our lives. Now is the best time to take a look at future odds on teams to win the championship before there is too much public data on which teams are playing well to shift the odds.

Two mid-major schools have the shortest odds to win currently in Gonzaga and Houston, each at +850. Taking the top favorite to win it all before the season starts is often a bad strategy, considering the NCAA Tournament can be so random. Therefore, it is typically smarter to take a team with longer odds just to boost the potential payout. However, taking either Gonzaga or Houston would be far from a bad bet, especially with the vulkan vegas bonus. Gonzaga is bringing back arguably the best player in the country in Drew Timme and with their sustained success they are bound to come away with a national title one of these seasons. Meanwhile, Houston returns its trio of stud guards led by potential All-American Marcus Sasser. Both teams will be a force all season and are rightfully the top favorites heading into the year.

The best future championship bets to make are on the teams with longer odds, though. Creighton sitting at +2500 immediately sticks out as a great investment. The Blue Jays return four starters from a team that won an NCAA Tournament game and gave eventual champion Kansas all they could handle even while playing without their two best players. Creighton also added one of the top transfers in the nation in Baylor Scheierman which has led to them being Big East favorites.

Blue blood teams always seem to be in the mix when March rolls around, so getting Kentucky at +1200, Duke at +1400, UCLA at +1500 or Baylor at +1700 would be great odds before the season. All of those teams are perennially top seeds who are returning plenty of talent while also bringing in some of the top freshmen in the nation. Baylor especially looks like a good investment with the return of top guards LJ Cryer and Adam Flagler along with the additions of Keyonte George, Jalen Bridges and a healthy Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua.

There are some teams with good odds that don’t look like great investment bets. North Carolina sticks out as a risky bet at +1000 despite making the national championship game last season. The Tar Heels do return most of their production and add a solid transfer in Pete Nance, but this team was just an 8-seed heading into the tournament for a reason. Just because they caught fire at the right time last season does not necessarily mean they will repeat that success in 2023. Arkansas at +1700 is also one to stay away from. The Razorbacks have no shortage of pure talent, but they will be highly reliant on freshman production. Even the blue bloods like Duke and Kentucky can struggle to win in April with heavy freshman teams, so expecting Arkansas to win it all with such a young roster does not look like a good investment.