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College Basketball Betting: Early Look at the Top National Title Contenders

It seems like only a week or two have passed since the Kansas Jayhawks topped the North Carolina Tar Heels to win the 2022 national title. Even though many of the top teams lost players to the NBA, there are plenty of the usual suspects sitting near the top of the college basketball odds when looking at the top championship contenders.

Here’s a look at how things currently stand according to the college basketball predictions.

Basketball betting: Taking an early look at the top national title contenders
Jamie Squire/Getty Images/AFP

Return of Big Men on Campus

The best news for fans of Gonzaga and North Carolina is that star forwards has opted to have another season to chase that national championship and partake in March Madness.

Drew Timme withdrew his name from consideration for the 2022 NBA Draft and the National Player of the YYar candidate is set to return for a fourth season at Gonzaga.

Even with Chet Holmgren off to the NBA, Gonzaga is tied at +850 for the best odds to win the 2023 national title. The addition of center Efton Reid from LSU and Malachi Smith from Chattanooga certainly doesn’t hurt.

While Gonzaga fans had to wait for a while to learn of Timme’s intentions, the North Carolina faithful found out not long after the season ended that double-double machine Armando Bacot is planning to return. Other key members of the UNC team that fell one game short of a championship are also back, including Caleb Lowe so that is why the Tar Heels are right with Gonzaga with +850 odds to win the title.

High hopes for Houston

Considering all the injuries that Houston dealt with a season ago, it was quite an accomplishment for the Cougars to win the American Athletic Conference regular season title and follow that up with the conference tournament championship.

After upsetting top-seeded Arizona, Houston’s dreams of another Final Four appearance ended with a loss to Villanova in the South Region final.

With Marcus Strasser leading the list of returning players after being limited to 12 games a season ago, the Cougars aren’t far behind Gonzaga and North Carolina at +1000 in the national championship odds.

Don’t Count Out the Defending Champions

Things will look a little different with Ochai Agbaji among the departing players, defending champion Kansas is still coming in at +1200 in the odds to repeat as national champions. Christian Braun is also off to the NBA.

With some key returnees as well as six incoming freshmen, keep an eye on the Jayhawks. Kevin McCullar comes in from Texas Tech and he could have a huge season for the Jayhawks.

Life after Coach K

The farewell tour for Mike Krzyzewski is over and the top five scorers from a season ago are embarking on pro careers, including No. 1 overall pick Paolo Banchero.

New head coach Jon Scheyer has his work cut out. Duke did bring in a top-notch recruiting class and the tradition will keep the Blue Devils in the discussion of top title contenders. Dariq Whitehead could become the latest top-10 NBA draft pick to play at Duke.

Duke is currently at +1400 in the national championship odds.

Arkansas and UCLA also come in at +1400.

The recruiting class for Arkansas is rated second nationally only behind Duke with Nick Smith leading the list of incoming freshmen. Smith and fellow incoming freshman Anthony Black are showing up as potential top five selections in 2023 NBA mock drafts. Five transfers also join the Razorbacks. This is a team that might be a little underrated heading into the season as Arkansas could be a popular choice among those currently making college basketball picks,

UCLA will need to replace Johnny Juzang and that won’t be easy but adding a top-10 recruiting class to a team returning Tyger Campbell and Jaime Jaquez makes UCLA a legitimate contender.

Best of the Rest

Baylor comes in at +1600 and the Bears are bringing back an experienced nucleus. Creighton (+2000) adds one of the top transfers in the country with the addition of Baylor Scheierman while Arizona (+2200) should be battling it out with UCLA for Pac-12 supremacy once again.

Following the retirement of the two-time national championship-winning coach Jay Wright, perennial contender Villanova is at +4000 despite the arrival of highly touted freshman Cam Whitmore while Big Ten rivals Illinois and Michigan join Texas Tech at +3300. Transfer Tyrese Hunter is now at Texas and the Longhorns are at +4000 in the national championship odds.

With so much uncertainty thanks to the impact of transfers, these odds figure to jump around quite a bit before the 2022-23 season gets underway. There is going to be plenty for those who bet online to ponder in the coming months.

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