Showdown Saturday Shakes Up the National Championship Odds
By: Brent Booher
We enjoyed a long duration of peace and quiet at the top of the AP/Coaches polls, but all of that was promptly thrown out the window on Saturday with three of the top four teams in the country suffering losses.
The lone exception to the rule was No. 3 Kansas, but that’s primarily because they were the ones dishing out the L to No. 1 Baylor.
However, with “Showdown Saturday” now in the rear-view, we’ve finally had some new movement in the National Championship futures market.
With all of that said, let’s jump right on in and peel back the layers of what should be a very robust NCAA Tournament futures market as Selection Sunday draws closer.
Best SportsBooks 2020
Third-Best NCAAB National Championship Odds: Baylor Bears (+850); Last Week: (+1100)
After a few weeks of being tied with Duke for the third spot, Baylor now finds themselves all by themselves with the third-best NCAAB National Championship odds at +850.
Despite their loss on Saturday to Kansas, there is a lot to love about this Baylor team. They did win 23-straight after all, and probably should have entered Saturday’s contest as an undefeated team if it weren’t for an epic meltdown in the second game of their season against Washington.
And it’s not like losing to Kansas right now is necessarily a bad thing, the Jayhawks are the hottest team in the sport. But don’t let that loss sour you on the Baylor Bears, as they remain the best defensive team in basketball and are capable of beating any team in any venue at any time.
In all likelihood, we will see Baylor and Kansas for a third time in the Big 12 Conference Tournament Final, and possibly a 4th time if the two teams meet up in Atlanta.
Second-Best NCAAB National Championship Odds: Gonzaga Bulldogs (+700); Last Week: (+800)
After over a month in the top perch, Gonzaga finally dropped to second on the National Championship odds board, however their odds to win the championship actually improved slightly.
Gonzaga suffered their first loss since Black Friday when they traveled to Provo to face a hot BYU team looking to earn a bid in the NCAA Tournament.
However, just like Baylor, now is not the time to panic if you’re already holding a Gonzaga futures ticket. This is still a team that is extremely likely to get a No. 1 seed in the tournament, and this is still a team that is capable of attacking inside and out while lighting up the scoreboard in the process.
Gonzaga may get a rubber match in the West Coast Tournament with BYU, and we would expect Part III to go a little bit differently as BYU is not the same team outside of the Marriott Center as they are inside of it.
Odds-On Favorite to Win the 2020 NCAA Tournament: Kansas Jayhawks (+600); Last Week (+900)
To no one’s surprise, the Kansas Jayhawks are now your odds-on favorite to win the National Championship following their road-win over then No. 1 Baylor.
Bill Self’s squad have completely turned around their season following a rare home loss to Baylor in their first matchup, and a nasty brawl against in-state rival Kansas State, and now enjoy a 13-game winning streak.
By beating Baylor on Saturday, the Jayhawks also have the inside track at the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament, something that could prove to be quite beneficial to the Jayhawks chances at winning their first National Championship since 2008.
Other Sleepers to win the NCAA Tournament
Dayton Flyers (+1500 to win)
While Dayton may not necessarily be a “sleeper” any longer, given their No. 4 ranking in the country, we still haven’t mentioned them in terms of their chances to win the NCAA Tournament.
Well, now we’re mentioning them.
Obi Toppin is absolutely fantastic, and any fans who have not watched Dayton play this season are in for a treat when the NCAA Tournament begins.
But he’s not their only weapon, in fact the Flyers as a whole are a very deep team and are currently on pace to have one of the best statistical seasons in the history of college basketball when it comes to their 2-point field-goal percentage.
At +1500 NCAAB National Championship Odds you still get excellent value, especially on a team that may boast the 2020 Wooden Award winner.
Florida State (+2000 to win)
Don’t look now, but thanks to the Noles’ win over Louisville on Monday paired with Duke’s shocking loss to lowly Wake Forest on Tuesday, and your Florida State Seminoles are now in first-place in the ACC.
Leonard Hamilton has turned Florida State into a basketball program in recent years, and this season does not appear to be a whole lot different. Once again, the Seminoles boast one of the deepest and most athletic rosters in basketball, and considering their recent success in March, maybe this is the season Hamilton gets FSU to the Final Four.
20/1 odds on the team that swept another National Title contender in Louisville? Sounds pretty good to us.
Kentucky (+2000 to win)
Kentucky ran their winning streak up to 7-games with their win over Texas A&M on Tuesday and now have a date with Auburn on Saturday in which they can enact revenge for an earlier loss at the hands of the Tigers and clinch at least a share of the SEC regular season championship.
John Calipari always seems to prep his team to play their best basketball in the month of March, and that’s exactly what his unheralded Kentucky team seems to be doing this season.
While we’re not crazy about how poorly Kentucky shoots the ball from three-point range, their defense and outstanding free-throw shooting (basically unheard of for a John Calipari team) are enough to give them a lot of value at 20/1 to bring the title back to Big Blue Nation in early April.
Michigan (+4000 to win)
We mentioned Michigan a week ago, and all they did was win two road games in the two toughest venues to play in this season for Big Ten competition.
Since getting Isaiah Livers back from injury, the Wolverines are a much better team than their 40/1 odds would lead you to believe.
Michigan enters the week at 9-7 in Big Ten conference play, and sit only a game out of a logjam for third-place. This is a very key thing to pay attention to, as a Top 4 finish in the conference assures you of the much-coveted double-bye in the Big Ten conference tournament.
Given the depth of this conference this year, getting the double-bye in the tournament is rather large if you hope to win your conference tournament.
And while Michigan is absolutely going dancing this March, a strong showing in the Big Ten tournament will only help their seeding that much more.
We think that Michigan is the best value play on the board this week, and highly recommend you pounce on the Wolverines at +4000 while it lasts.