NCAA tournament odds: Kentucky is the clear-cut favorite
As the undefeated Kentucky Wildcats continue to surge forward as the unanimous No. 1 college basketball team in the country, there are a few key questions bettors need to consider regarding them with about a month left until March Madness tips off.
First of all, will the Wildcats make it through the rest of the regular season unbeaten? And then can they roll through the SEC tournament without a loss?
Kentucky is an overwhelming 11/10 favorite on the odds to win the 2015 NCAA tournament and would likely only see better odds with a loss somewhere between now and Selection Sunday.
The time to wager on the Wildcats was right after they lost to the Connecticut Huskies 60-54 in the 2014 NCAA tournament championship game and oddsmakers released their opening numbers for this year. When twin brothers Aaron and Andrew Harrison announced they would return to the team’s backcourt for another season last April, the odds plummeted and instantly made Kentucky the team to beat.
Even a season-ending knee injury suffered by forward Alex Poythress back in December did not hurt the Wildcats’ chances to win it all this April from a betting perspective. That is because they have seven players averaging at least 7.5 points per game and seven playing an average of more than 20 minutes.
Kentucky’s quality of depth is its main strength, and the only thing other than a loss that might cause the school’s odds to drop may be another serious injury to a top player among that group.
Two ACC teams figure to challenge head coach John Calipari’s Wildcats come tourney time, although they may not meet until the Final Four. The Duke Blue Devils and Virginia Cavaliers are both 8/1 to win the NCAA tournament at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com, but each earning a No. 1 seed could be difficult considering they play in the same conference.
Virginia lost top shooter Justin Anderson for at least a month following finger surgery, which makes his return for the ACC tournament questionable. Duke might have the best shot of upsetting Kentucky with arguably the country’s best player in Jahlil Okafor and coach in Mike Krzyzewski.