Kansas guard Ochai Agbaji (30) drives to the basket against USC during the first half of a men’s college basketball game in the second round of the NCAA tournament at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Monday, March 22, 2021. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
- The NCAA deadline for players to withdraw from the 2021 NBA Draft has now passed
- Kansas saw a big jump up the odds board with Ochai Agbaji coming back
- Hunter Dickinson’s return to Ann Arbor aided Michigan’s move up as well; see the fully updated odds below
Now that the July 7th 11:59 pm ET deadline for players wishing to retain their NCAA eligibility and withdraw from the draft has passed, the 2022 National Championship odds have been updated.
Perennial March Madness darling Gonzaga is still the favorite to cut down the nets in New Orleans April 4th at +700. But Kansas made a huge move, going from +1800 odds back on April 21st to +900 thanks to potential second-round pick Ochai Agbaji coming back to Lawrence for his senior season.
Big 10 Freshman of the Year Hunter Dickinson helped Michigan’s odds go from +1200 two-and-a-half months ago to only +800 with his announcement of a sophomore campaign in Ann Arbor.
The team that knocked the Wolverines out in the 2021 Elite Eight, UCLA (+1400), got huge news with Johnny Juzang and Cody Riley both committing to Mick Cronin in Westwood for another go-around. Plus, Isaiah Mobley is returning to Andy Enfield’s program at USC (+2500) for the 2021-22 season.
So, are the Jayhawks or Wolverines still worth investing in? Are the LA schools bargains? We analyze the far-too-early 2022 Big Dance field.
2022 NCAA Tournament Championship Odds
|Team||Odds at DraftKings|
Odds as of July 8, 2021
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Jayhawks head coach Bill Self appears primed for another deep tourney run this upcoming season with Agbaji’s return. Former Arizona State star Remy Martin, a two-time first-team All-Pac-12 performer, joins Agbaji, Jalen Wilson and an experienced 2021-22 roster.
Agbaji, a 6-foot-6 wing, was an All-Big 12 honorable mention player for a second straight season last year, in which he averaged 14.1 points, 3.6 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.1 steals in 34 minutes per game.
But the time to bet on Rock Chalk was in late April, when KU was going off at +1800. Agbaji should improve his draft stock, perhaps playing himself into the first round of the 2022 NBA Draft. But at +900 – with so many other programs boasting similar odds and others at bargains – it seems best to hold on Kansas for now.
Hunting for Four
Another big mover up the board was Juwan Howard’s Michigan program. The Maize and Blue went from +1200 on April 21st to their current number of +800. A big part of the move is the return of UM big man Hunter Dickinson.
One last ride… pic.twitter.com/obx1fqbxqE
— Hunter Dickinson (@H_Dickinson24) July 6, 2021
The 7-foot Dickinson was named to the All-Big Ten second team and was the conference’s freshman of the year, averaging 14.1 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 26 minutes per game, shooting 61% from the field.
Juwan Howard’s team won the Big Ten regular-season championship and was awarded a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament, where it lost to UCLA in the Elite Eight. Now, Dickinson is hoping to reach or exceed those achievements this upcoming season.
Michigan is in a similar position as Kansas from a betting perspective. The program loses potential lottery pick in Franz Wagner, but along with Dickinson, brings in the No. 1 recruiting class in the country, with three McDonald’s All-Americans in projected 2022 top-10 pick Caleb Houstan, as well as Moussa Diabate and Kobe Bufkin.
The Wolverines burst on to the scene last year and with added motivation to advance further – centered around their catalyst in Dickinson – they’re worth a wager.
The real values in this spot are two Pac-12 teams playing in LA. First, USC welcomes back Isaiah Mobley,
Ain’t this what you been waiting for …. You ready! 🏁 #Fighton ✌🏽 pic.twitter.com/CSuzARv7Ke
— Isaiah Mobley (@MobleyIsaiah) July 8, 2021
The rising junior impressed on the big stage after playing in the shadow of younger brother and likely top-3 pick in the 2021 Draft Evan last March. Isaiah averaged 16 points and 6.5 rebounds during the Trojans’ run to the Elite Eight before losing to the Zags. Enfield’s group also returns Drew Peterson and Isaiah White, and add a transfer point guard in Memphis’ Boogie Ellis. At odds of +2500, USC is a longshot worth considering.
But the team with arguably the biggest value on the board is the Bruins. Cody Riley returns for his redshirt senior season. But, more importantly, Juzang is joining him back in Westwood.
The breakout star of the 2021 NCAA Tournament averaged 22.8 points and shot 50.9% from the field in six tourney outings. His 137 points were the second-highest NCAA tournament total in UCLA history. And now, he’s back for a program on the rise under Cronin. Plus, at +1400 (actually, a slight move down from UCLA’s +1300 in late April), this is a team whose bandwagon bettors should jump on.
Blair Johnson is a veteran journalist and seasoned sports content creator. He has been writing and producing content as long as he can remember, with such familiar names as CNN, NFL Media and Yahoo. Blair currently lives and works in the greater Los Angeles area.