We have our fourth team in four weeks earning the top spot in the men's college basketball polls. However, oddsmakers are not in agreement on the top team.
Despite handing Villanova arguably the worst defeat in Jay Wright's tenure, the defending national champions and No. 1 Baylor Bears are only the fifth betting choice at odds of +1500 at SI Sportsbook. Mark Few's Gonzaga squad, despite losses to Duke and Alabama, remains a sizable favorite (+450) in the futures market. Duke (+800) and Purdue (+800) are the only other teams to find single-digit betting odds.
Let's dive and take a look at the top contenders and their current odds in the NCAA championship futures market!
1. Baylor (9-0 Straight-Up, 6-2-1 Against The Spread)
Opening Odds: +1600 / Current Odds: +1500
Baylor has emphatically proven that losing four of the top five scorers from its championship squad will not hinder the Bears from their quest for a repeat.
The Bears have won nine consecutive games, highlighted by a dominant 57-36 win over No. 9 Villanova last Sunday. Arizona transfer James Akinjo leads the club in assists (6.0 apg), resulting in a balanced scoring attack featuring four Bears averaging double-digit points. Backcourt teammate LJ Cryer has stepped up in his sophomore campaign, leading the team in scoring (14.6 ppg). Forward Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua has been a force down low, anchoring Baylor on the boards with a team-high 8.3 rebounds per game.
2. Duke (7-1 SU, 3-3-2 ATS)
Opening Odds: +1600 / Current Odds: +800
After earning the coveted No. 1 ranking, the Blue Devils suffered their first loss of the season Nov. 30, losing 71-66 to No. 15 Ohio State as 3-point road underdogs. Duke has already beaten No. 5 Gonzaga and No. 21 Kentucky, forcing oddsmakers to slash their preseason odds of +1600 in half to +800. Beating two top-25 clubs has aligned Duke’s power ranking in the polls with those held by oddsmakers at SI Sportsbook, as Duke is only behind Gonzaga as the second overall betting choice.
3. Purdue (9-1 SU, 6-4 ATS)
Opening Odds: +2000 / Current Odds: +800
After looking tremendous in wins over North Carolina and No. 9 Villanova, Purdue suffered a disappointing 70-68 loss at Rutgers as 13.5-point road favorites. Trevion Williams (14.2 ppg, 9.3 rpg) and Zach Edey (14.6 ppg, 7.0 rpg) are a dominant frontline duo, but there is no denying that Purdue’s offense runs through star point guard Jaden Ivey (16.4 ppg, 3.4 apg). Purdue continues to receive the respect of oddsmakers, with their opening odds of +2000 cut to +800 following the strong start.
4. UCLA Bruins (9-1 SU, 5-4 ATS)
Opening Odds: +1600 / Current Odds: +1800
Since suffering an 83-63 loss to No. 5 Gonzaga on Nov. 23, the Bruins have ripped off four consecutive wins. Star guard Johnny Juzang (16.6 ppg) is once again leading the way, but UCLA’s success is in large part due to the solid production from the backcourt trio of Jaime Jaquez Jr. (14.8 ppg), Jules Bernard (13.0 ppg) and Tyger Campbell (12.6 ppg). The Bruins still clearly need forward Cody Riley (knee) to get healthy if they have any hopes of making a deep run. Despite the recent winning streak, bettors can find the Bruins at more attractive odds as UCLA rises from +1200 to +1800 at SI Sportsbook.
5. Gonzaga Bulldogs (8-2 SU, 4-6 ATS)
Opening Odds: +500 / Current Odds: +450
Oddsmakers held strong convictions entering the season regarding Gonzaga’s ability to win its first national Championship. While Gonzaga owns wins over No. 4 UCLA and No. 17 Texas, the Bulldogs have suffered defeats to No. 2 Duke and No. 6 Alabama.
Gonzaga’s fall to No. 5 in the polls does not align with the SI Sportsbook oddsmakers' rankings, who continue to list the Bulldogs as the overall betting favorites at odds of +450. The Bulldogs continue to rely on Drew Timme (18.4 ppg, 6.2 rpg) and Chet Holmgren (13.5 ppg, 8.2 rpg), but Gonzaga needs more production from senior guard Andrew Nembhard, who is shooting a career-low from beyond the arc (26.5%).
6. Alabama (8-2 SU, 6-4 ATS)
Opening Odds: +2500 / Current Odds: +2000
Alabama's move up the rankings is a result of beating No. 5 Gonzaga, 91-82, as a 10-point underdog. However, the Crimson Tide likely take a tumble out of the top 10 after being upset, 92-78, at Memphis on Tuesday night. Junior guard Jaden Shackleford (19.1 ppg, 6.9 rbg) leads the way and is part of one of the SEC's best backcourts alongside Jahvon Quinerly (15.1 ppg, 4.3 apg). The Tide's recent play has forced the oddsmakers to trim Alabama’s odds to +2000. Conference games against No. 13 Auburn, No. 18 Tennessee, No. 19 LSU, No. 21 Kentucky and No. 24 Arkansas over the next month will reveal the staying power of this Crimson Tide team.
7. Kansas Jayhawks (8-1 SU, 5-3-1 ATS)
Opening Odds: +2500 / Current Odds: +1200
The Jayhawks continue to receive outstanding production from senior guard Ochai Ogbaji (22.4 ppg), who is shooting an eye-popping 49.1 % from deep. Christian Braun (16.3 ppg) leads the club in rebounding (6.8 rbg), but that is a concerning issue. Kansas needs more consistent frontline production from senior David McCormack if Bill Self’s squad has any hopes of attaining the program’s sixth national title.
8. Arizona (9-0 SU, 8-1 ATS)
Opening Odds: +4000 / Current Odds: +2000
Projected NBA lottery selection Bennedict Mathurin (18.4 ppg, 6.7 rbg) has been outstanding in leading Arizona to an undefeated start (8-1 ATS). Mathurin tallied 30 points in Arizona’s 83-79 win at Illinois as 2.5-point road favorites. The Wildcats, riding their highest ranking since 2018, have several tough tests over the next few weeks with games against No. 4 UCLA, No. 10 USC and No. 18 Tennessee.
9. Villanova Wildcats (7-3 SU, 5-5 ATS)
Opening Odds: +2500 / Current Odds: +2000
The effects of Wright scheduling arguably the hardest non-conference schedule of any team have left the Wildcats with three early-season losses. Villanova’s quest for a third championship in six years will require Wright’s best coaching of his illustrious career. Senior point guard Collin Gilespie (16.2 ppg) continues to shine, but the preseason Cousy award contender has not received consistent support from his teammates. The Wildcats' lack of bench depth was exposed immensely in the club’s loss to Baylor. Just how bad was that loss? The 36 total points scored by the 'Cats tied the fewest by a AP top-10 team in the modern-day shot clock era, and set all-time lows in points and shooting percentage (22%) during Wright's tenure. Villanova’s odds raised from +1400 to +2000 following that setback.
10. USC (10-0 SU, 6-4 ATS)
Opening Odds: +10000 / Current Odds: +5000
The Trojans are undefeated, but bettors need to pump the brakes on just how good this team really is. USC has not played any ranked opponents, but that will all change Jan. 2 when it faces No. 8 Arizona. Junior forward Isaiah Mobley leads the club in scoring (14.7 ppg) and rebounds (9.8 rbg), and forms a formidable frontcourt with Chevez Goodwin (12.2 ppg, 7.1 rbg). USC’s strong start has not gone unnoticed by the oddsmakers at SI Sportsbook, as the Trojan’s massive +10000 odds have been slashed in half to +5000 as they climb into the top 10 for the first time this season.
Frankie Taddeo is a successful high-stakes fantasy football player who created the first-ever DFS program ever offered in a Las Vegas sportsbook. Frankie is SI Betting's Senior Analyst and provides his significant experience and resources in the sports betting scene. You can follow Frankie on Twitter @Frankie_Fantasy for his latest betting and fantasy insights from Las Vegas.
More Betting, Fantasy & College Basketball: