Plenty of Parity to win NCAAB Title
Unlike the previous two years, when Gonzaga was alone as the favorite to win the NCAA men’s basketball title, they have some company this season.
With the NCAA basketball season having started on Monday, it’s time to take a look at who could win the title. This year there seems to be more parity, at least as far as the odds are concerned.
Gone are the days where the almighty Gonzaga Bulldogs were the lone team on top of the odds board to start the season. Now they share that spot with three other teams who are all tied at the top as favorites to win the 2023 NCAA Championship.
It is refreshing to see, at least in my opinion, because we finally get some parity. While Gonzaga didn’t win the championship the past few years when they were the heavy favorites coming into the season, they were all anyone talked about. The talent is balancing out a bit, and now we have several teams that all are even in the eyes of the bookmakers.
Gonzaga is still there, sitting at +900 with the North Carolina Tarheels at BetMGM. They may not have any incoming five-star freshmen this season, but they still have one of the most talented rosters in college basketball, and that includes long-time star, Drew Timme. He’s a consensus Top-3 player in the nation, and he has more experience than almost anyone else across the country.
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Tarheels Top Pick for Title
North Carolina at +900, is coming off of their loss in the Final Four to the Kansas Jayhawks last year. UNC arguably had the best offseason of any team, getting four of five starters back for another year. North Carolina’s starting five could be the best in NCAA Basketball and the bench also has talent.
At +1000 is the Kentucky Wildcats. Oscar Tshiebwe was one of the best impact transfers in recent memory, averaging 17.4 PPG and 15.2 RPG last season. It’s been over a decade since the reigning NCAA Basketball Player of the Year returned for another season, but here we are. The rebounding numbers led the nation and the big man had 10+ boards in all but two games. With his return, Kentucky is one of the best in the country.
Last but not least, we have the Houston Cougars at +1000 as well. The Cougars made it to the Elite 8 last season, despite losing two of the team’s best four players early on due to injury. This is a very deep team with a load of talent, and they play some of the best defense in the nation. They’ll need it against the better teams and their stars, and that may give them the advantage.
Baylor Good Value Play
The Baylor Bears are a team that has the potential to be No. 1 at some point this season, as they have been at some point or another over the last few years. Five-star freshman Keyonte George is one of the reasons to believe in this team in 2022. He looked very impressive in the offseason exhibition tour, and that was without his full lineup of talented teammates that he’ll have when the actual season begins. This should be one of the best backcourts in the country, and that starts with how well George plays.
Another key piece will be returning leading scorer Adam Flagler, who averaged 13.8 PPG. Also back is LJ Cryer, who was scoring nearly 20 points per game at the start of last season before he was injured. There’s plenty of offense and defense for this team to contend nationally, and there’s no reason in my opinion that this number should be as high as it is at +1600 at Caesars. The Bears have always been there contending near the end over the last few years, and I don’t think that changes in 2022.
This is probably the best number you’ll get on Baylor all year, so grab it now.
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Take a Flier on St. Louis
To me, the Saint Louis Billikens are the best non-Gonzaga mid-major team, and they’re very talented. Often times that gets overlooked because of the conference they play in, but don’t underestimate them. They have great odds at +10000 at Golden Nugget.
They have one of the best backcourts in the country with the return of Javonte Perkins. He missed all of last season with an injury but averaged 17.1 PPG in the year prior when healthy. Starting point guard Yuri Collins led the country in assists last season at 7.9 APG, including a career-high 19 against the Boston College Eagles and at least five assists in 29 of 34 games. Gibson Jimerson led Saint Louis with 16.3 PPG last season while shooting 42% from three-point range.
There’s plenty of backcourt depth beyond them as well. Javon Pickett has 84 career starts and was a double-digit scorer at the SEC level before transferring to Saint Louis from the Missouri Tigers. Returning starting center Francis Okoro is joined by Temple Owls transfer Jake Forrester to create a great duo underneath. While there may be a lack of size whenever Okoro is out, the offensive production of this team will make up for it.
At +10,000 odds, I think it’s worth some pizza or beer money.
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