Luka Garza and the Iowa Hawkeyes come in at #5 in the NCAAB AP Preseason Top 25 Poll. Photo by @ILoveIowaBball (Twitter)
- #1 Gonzaga tops the preseason AP top 25, and they share the best national title odds with #2 Villanova at +950
- #2 Baylor, #4 Virginia, and #5 Iowa round out a top five that is missing several of the sport’s usual powerhouses
- Read below for a look at the best values in the top 25 national championship odds.
The preseason AP Top 25 poll dropped Monday, and there are plenty of takeaways to draw as we inch closer to the start of college basketball later this month. Gonzaga holds the top spot, and they share the best National Championship odds with Villanova at +950.
However, there’s no sport more unpredictable than college basketball. With reloaded powerhouses like Kentucky and North Carolina, along with new, recently emerging challengers like Auburn and Tennessee all vying for a title, this could be the most interesting college basketball season in a long time.
National Championship Odds
|#1 Gonzaga Bulldogs||+950|
|#2 Baylor Bears||+1100|
|#3 Villanova Wildcats||+950|
|#4 Virginia Cavaliers||+1100|
|#5 Iowa Hawkeyes||+1000|
|#6 Kansas Jayhawks||+1800|
|#7 Wisconsin Badgers||+1800|
|#8 Illinois Fighting Illini||+1500|
|#9 Duke Blue Devils||+1600|
|#10 Kentucky Wildcats||+1300|
|#11 Creighton Blue Jays||+2300|
|#12 Tennessee Volunteers||+2800|
|#13 Michigan State Spartans||+1800|
|#14 Texas Tech Red Raiders||+2800|
|#15 West Virginia Mountaineers||+2300|
|#16 North Carolina Tar Heels||+2800|
|#17 Houston Cougars||+2500|
|#18 Arizona State Sun Devils||+2300|
|#19 Texas Longhorns||+2800|
|#20 Oregon Ducks||+2800|
|#21 Florida State Seminoles||+2500|
|#22 UCLA Bruins||+3300|
|#23 Ohio State Buckeyes||+2800|
|#24 Rutgers Scarlet Knights||N/A|
|#25 Michigan Wolverines||+2800|
Odds taken Nov. 9 at FanDuel
Where are the Big Boys?
The top five of Gonzaga, Baylor, Villanova, Virginia, and Iowa are a talented group of teams but, there’s a distinct feeling that something is missing. The biggest brands in the sport that usually populate this part of the poll are nowhere to be found.
That is because a team like North Carolina find themselves all the way back at 16th after a 14-19 record a year ago. Michigan State hasn’t fallen on times as hard as the Tar Heels, but they’re ranked 13th. The departure of Cassius Winston, a stabilizing force for four years in East Lansing, has a lot to do with that.
Kansas (6th), Duke (9th), and Kentucky (10) all find themselves in the top ten. Only a few early-season results will get them into the top five but, it’s notable that the expectations around these teams are seemingly lower than in a typical year.
Of those teams, it’s impossible to see a better value than Duke at +1600. Coach K has reloaded again, this time with a 2020 recruiting class that includes the nation’s third-ranked small forward, the nation’s sixth-ranked center, and the nation’s sixth and eighth-ranked power forwards.
The talent infusion is an encouraging sign, but there’s also the principle here of a low-ranked Duke. Coach K’s track record is far too strong to not see value here.
March Madness Final Four Odds Tracker
Tar Heels Contending Again
The aforementioned 2019 season in Chapel Hill was one that many Tar Heel faithful want to forget. A quick rebound in 2020 could help them do exactly that. Cole Anthony may be headed for the NBA, but this still has a chance to be a special season for North Carolina.
Caleb Love, a freshman point guard from Saint Louis, will fill the Anthony role. He was the second-ranked point guard and seventh-overall prospect in the 2020 class, and he leads an impressive incoming class of players for Roy Williams. The nation’s fifth and sixth-ranked centers, Day’ron Sharpe and Walker Kessler will be added to a roster that already includes Armando Bacot, who last week was named to the 2021 Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award watchlist.
Last week, forward Garrison Brooks was named to the Malone Forward of the Year Award watchlist. He’s the team’s returning leader in points (16.8) and rebounds (8.5)
All of this talent will be surrounded by a roster of veterans like Leaky Black, Brandon Robinson, and Christian Keeling. Those guys held primary roles in 2019, and the sheer amount of talent that now exists on this roster will push them to more secondary roles. That’s an exciting sight, especially with the +2800 value.
Best Player on One of the Best Teams
Iowa is ranked fifth, but they have the third-best odds for a specific reason; they have the best player. Luka Garza was the National and Big Ten Player of the year in 2019, and he also took home the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award. Not to mention, Garza was named to the first-team All-American and All-Big Ten teams.
Garza averaged 23.9 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks per game, but his production has outshined a team of great players. Joe Wieskamp and CJ Fredrick both averaged over ten points per game and at least 1.5 assists per game. Connor McCaffrey led the team with four assists per game and he also added four rebounds, and a steal per game.
Iowa, along with having the top guy, may be the Big Ten’s most experienced team. The roster is littered with veterans. As recent history has shown during the tournament, talent can make runs, but experience often wins out.
With four years as radio host with The Ticket Sports Network and various written contributions to publications such as Fansided, Southbound and Down, and Last Word on Sports, Jake Mitchell comes to SBD with NFL, NBA, NCAAM, NCAAF and MMA know-how you can count on.