March Madness always offers some surprises, but the biggest shock would come if Kentucky doesn’t win the 2015 national title. The best team in college basketball is expected to win it all on , and they are nearly an odds-on favorite to claim their second title in four years.
Kentucky’s 2015 championship betting odds have been set at 11/10. The Wildcats are the only undefeated team remaining in Division I men’s basketball, winning their first 23 games of the season. Sitting atop the SEC with 10 wins to start conference play, the Wildcats have been largely dominant, winning their last eight games by an average of nearly 18 points per game.
John Calipari’s team had a few close calls in the middle of January, needing overtime to win two consecutive games. Still, Kentucky has the sport’s most talented roster, with three potential lottery picks in the 2015 NBA Draft, and a few other players that could be in the pros next year. Before their last victory, Kentucky’s odds to go undefeated were +370.
Duke and Virginia are tied for the second-best odds to win the title. The Blue Devils have the projected top pick in June’s draft in Jahlil Okafor, who’s averaging 18.0 points and 9.1 rebounds per game. Mike Krzyzewski's squad had back-to-back double-digit losses to North Carolina State and Miami in January, but the Blue Devils maybe hitting their stride with four consecutive victories and against strong competition. Virginia has just one loss on their schedule, compared to Duke’s three defeats. The Cavaliers’ one loss, though, came when they hosted Duke on Jan. 31.
Gonzaga, Wisconsin and Arizona are the remaining teams that have better than 20/1 odds. The Bulldogs are almost undefeated, with their only loss coming in overtime to Arizona. Arizona is 20-3, with their three defeats coming by a total of nine points. The Badgers are 21-2, losing to Duke and Rutgers.
Kansas, a perennial power, might be an underdog team this season. The Jayhawks are currently 22/1 favorites, though Bill Self's squad is ranked No. 8 in the nation. Of Kansas's four losses, all have come away from Allen Fieldhouse, and two were to ranked opponents. Perry Ellis and Frank Mason III have enjoyed strong seasons.
Last year’s National Championship didn’t feature teams that were among the favorites, heading into the NCAA Tournament, as No.7 seeded Connecticut beat No.8 Kentucky. Ohio State and Oklahoma State might have the best chance of being the 2015 version of Connecticut and Kentucky. They are ranked No.23 and No.22 in the top 25 poll, respectively, but only 12 teams have better championship odds.
Below are the college basketball championship odds for the nation’s top teams, courtesy of Bovada.lv.
Notre Dame 20/1
North Carolina 33/1
Ohio State 40/1
Iowa State 66/1
Michigan State 66/1
Wichita State 66/1
Northern Iowa 75/1
Oklahoma State 75/1
San Diego State 100/1
West Virginia 100/1