College basketball season is in full swing. Here are some trends from the past weekend and how they’re affecting the odds of winning the national championships.
NCAA tournament odds
About a month into the season there have been some changes to who’s favored to win the national championship in the spring. On the men’s side, Houston is holding strong as a +600 favorite, a change from Nov. 10 when it was +800. North Carolina was +900 to start the season and Gonzaga was +1000, but the Tar Heels have suffered four losses and the Zags three and both have seen their futures stock plummet. North Carolina’s odds are now +1800 with Gonzaga at +2000. After Houston, Arizona and Kentucky are listed next at +1200, with Texas at +1500.
On the women’s side, South Carolina remains an overwhelming favorite at +125, followed by Stanford (+400) and Connecticut (+700). Tennessee and Iowa were both +1200 in the preseason but have dropped significantly since. Iowa is down to +3500, and Tennessee has cratered to +5000 after a 4-5 start. Among the teams rising is LSU, which has the fifth-best odds at +2500.
Injuries could affect normally high-scoring UConn women
After four overs in four victories to start the season, the Huskies failed to reach the over/under in their first loss of the season, 74-60 to Notre Dame on Sunday.
UConn’s sophomore sharpshooter, Azzie Fudd, averages about 20 points per game and collided with a teammate during the first quarter. Even though she played for a few minutes in the second quarter, she did not return to the floor after that. In her absence, UConn’s offense lacked flow, and they had to figure out how to score without the shooting phenom. UConn is already playing without two main scorers and not having a third may impact point spreads and totals.
Pay attention to the injury report in the following days, because if Fudd is not practicing, those lines could look different than expected.
Northwestern men upset Michigan State
It’s no surprise that Northwestern’s second straight upset of Michigan State 70-63 on Sunday also was just the Spartans’ second under in their past nine home games. The Wildcats and coach Chris Collins slowed the game down and sprung the surprise in East Lansing. Northwestern’s success comes in waves, but last weekend was the first time they won back-to-back games against Michigan State, and they won it with their physical defense. Northwestern’s adjusted tempo is No. 300 in the nation, according to KenPom.com, so keep that in mind when betting totals in Wildcats games.
Oregon men continue to cover vs. UCLA
On Sunday night, Oregon lost 65-56 to UCLA but managed to cover the 10-point spread, meaning the Ducks have covered five of the past six times against the Bruins. UCLA is the Pac-12’s legacy program, but the Bruins have struggled with the Ducks, who jumped out to an early lead in this one. Similar to Northwestern’s win over Michigan State, do not underestimate a physically defensive team like Oregon — especially against large spreads — because they will give other Pac-12 teams trouble.