2022-23 men’s college basketball odds preview: Kentucky, North Carolina, Gonzaga, Houston favored

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Indiana Hoosiers guard Anthony Leal (3) reacts with teammates on the bench during the first half of a First Four game in the NCAA men's college basketball tournament against Indiana, Tuesday, March 15, 2022, in Dayton, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jeff Dean)

The 2022-23 men’s college basketball season tips off Monday night around the country, and while the road is long to the Final Four in Houston, it’s not too early to start looking at the most likely candidates to lift the trophy.

Last year ended with Kansas winning the national championship at the Caesars Superdome in New Orleans, beating North Carolina, which in turn had ended the legendary career of Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski in the national semifinals. That’s a lot to live up to, but this season will give it a shot.

A lot of familiar names are atop the list of the national championship market at Caesars Sportsbook. Start with North Carolina and Kentucky, who are co-favorites nationally at +900.

The Tar Heels return four starters from the national runners-up: Caleb Love, Armando Bacot, RJ Davis and Leaky Black are all back, though it’s worth noting UNC only earned a regional No. 8 seed before catching fire on their run to the title game.

Kentucky’s 2021-22 season was the inverse: A great regular season produced a No. 2 seed, but the Wildcats bowed out to St. Peter’s in a first-round shocker. From that team, the Wildcats return player of the year Oscar Tshiebwe, point guard Sahvir Wheeler and sixth man Jacob Toppin, and they add five-star freshmen Cason Wallace and Chris Livingston.

After those two blue bloods come two non-Power Five schools, though both have plenty of recent success: Gonzaga and Houston are both listed at +1000 odds.

The Bulldogs have reached seven consecutive Sweet 16s but haven’t broken through for an elusive national title. They must replace No. 3 NBA draft pick Chet Holmgren but senior center Drew Timme is back to anchor a veteran lineup. As for the Cougars, they hope to reach the Final Four in their hometown behind key returners Jamal Shead and Marcus Sasser.

Timme also is the +650 favorite to win the John Wooden Award as the nation’s best player, followed by teammates Bacot (+800) and Love (+1000). Last year’s winner, Tshiebwe, is at +1200 along with Sasser and Jaime Jaquez of UCLA.

Speaking of the Bruins, they’re one of three other teams with better than 20-to-1 national title odds: UCLA is +1200, followed by Arkansas (+1500) 2020-21 champion Baylor (+1600) and Duke (+1800).

The Razorbacks lost most of their production from last year but are expected to push Kentucky in the Southeastern Conference because of a recruiting class that’s ranked second in the country to Duke according to 247Sports composite rankings. The centerpiece is guard Nick Smith, who is the highest-listed freshman for the Wooden Award at +1500.

Baylor is in a similar boat, with plenty of production lost, except the Bears reloaded through the transfer portal with forwards Jalen Bridges from West Virginia and Jared Lohner from BYU.

Duke also loses Paolo Banchero and most of its production from last year, but new Blue Devils coach Jon Scheyer has the nation’s No. 1 recruiting class. Four of those freshmen could join Jeremy Roach in the starting five.

As for defending champion Kansas, Caesars lists +2500 odds that the Jayhawks will repeat. KU brings back starters Jalen Wilson and DaJuan Harris and adds Texas Tech transfer David McCullar, but it loses the star duo of Ochai Agbaji and David McCormack.

The season’s first week doesn’t have a lot of blockbuster games — the best two are probably Memphis-Vanderbilt on Monday and Michigan State-Gonzaga on Friday — so there are plenty of chances to size these teams up before they start running into one another later in November.

In the meantime, here’s the complete list of national championship odds, plus markets for some conference titles and the John Wooden Award winner at Caesars Sportsbook:

National championship odds (250 to 1 and below)

North Carolina +900

Kentucky +900

Gonzaga +1000

Houston +1000

UCLA +1200

Arkansas +1200

Baylor +1600

Duke +1800

Arizona +2200

Tennessee +2200

Creighton +2500

Kansas +2500

Texas +3000

Indiana +3000

Michigan +3500

Texas Tech +4000

Illinois +5000

TCU +5000

Alabama +5000

Auburn +6000

Connecticut +6000

Villanova +6000

Oregon +6000

Virginia +6000

San Diego State +6000

Michigan State +8000

Florida +8000

Dayton +9000

Purdue +10000

Florida State +10000

Seton Hall +10000

Xavier +10000

Texas A&M +10000

Memphis +10000

Miami (Fla.) +12500

St. John’s +12500

Oklahoma +12500

Louisville +12500

Ohio State +12500

USC +12500

Syracuse +15000

Virginia Tech +15000

Wisconsin +20000

St. Mary’s +20000

Iowa +20000

Utah +20000

Arizona State +20000

Clemson +20000

Providence +20000

Wake Forest +20000

Saint Louis +20000

Marquette +20000

Butler +25000

Ole Miss +25000

Missouri +25000

LSU +25000

Loyola (Ill.) +25000

Colorado +25000

Minnesota +25000

Vanderbilt +25000

Rutgers +25000

Notre Dame +25000

John Wooden Award odds

Drew Timme, Gonzaga +650

Armando Bacot, North Carolina +800

Caleb Love, North Carolina +1000

Oscar Tshiebwe, Kentucky +1200

Jaime Jaquez, UCLA +1200

Marcus Sasser, Houston +1200

Jalen Wilson, Kansas +1500

Nick Smith, Arkansas +1500

Julian Strawther, Gonzaga +1500

Tyger Campbell, UCLA +2000

Trayce Jackson-Davis, Indiana +2000

Hunter Dickinson, Michigan +2000

Terrance Shannon, Illinois +2500

Emoni Bates, Eastern Michigan +2800

Kevin McCullar, Kansas +3000

Zach Edey, Purdue +4000

Kendric Davis, Memphis +4000

Baylor Scheierman, Creighton +4000

Mike Miles, TCU +4000

Matt Bradley, San Diego State +5000

Posh Alexander, St. John’s +5000

Isaiah Wong, Miami +5000

Tyrese Hunter, Texas +5000

Antoine Davis, Detroit-Mercy +5000

Colin Castleton, Florida +6000

Max Abmas, Oral Roberts +6000

Kris Murray, Iowa +6000

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