The second-ranked Duke Blue Devils (11-1) continue to be the most feared team in college basketball thanks to a roster loaded with NBA prospects, led by freshman phenom Zion Williamson.
On Thursday at Madison Square Garden, Duke extended its winning streak to six games with a 69-58 victory against the 12th-ranked Texas Tech Red Raiders (10-1), remaining a strong +180 favorite (bet $100 to win $180) on the 2019 NCAA tournament odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
The Red Raiders entered that matchup unbeaten, and they are +5500 to win the national championship as one of the Big 12's top contenders. But they simply could not stop Williamson, who scored 17 points and grabbed 13 rebounds before fouling out. Texas Tech fell just short of covering the spread as a 9.5-point underdog as well.
The top-ranked Kansas Jayhawks (10-0) are still the team to beat in the Big 12 though and sit atop the polls due to an unbeaten record. The Jayhawks are the +950 second choice to win it all too, something they have not done since 2008 under current head coach Bill Self. Kansas owns early wins over the 10th-ranked Michigan State Spartans (9-2) and third-ranked Tennessee Volunteers (9-1) to back up the team's No. 1 ranking.
Tennessee and Michigan State are further down the futures betting board at +1600 and +2900, respectively, with six other schools in the mix to win the national championship with odds below +3000. The eighth-ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs (9-2) are the lone team to defeat the Blue Devils this season, but they have lost two of their last three games to the Volunteers and ninth-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels (8-2).
Despite those losses to highly-ranked teams, the Bulldogs are the +1000 third choice to win the Big Dance.
The Tar Heels are +2100 at online betting sites with four more schools ahead of them in the fourth-ranked Michigan Wolverines (11-0), fifth-ranked Virginia Cavaliers (10-0), sixth-ranked Nevada Wolf Pack (11-0) and 19th-ranked Kentucky Wildcats (8-2). The Wolverines (+1000), Cavaliers (+1100) and Wolf Pack (+1600) are appropriately next in line on the betting board followed by the Wildcats at +2000.
Of that group, Nevada looks like the best bet based on wagering value and returning experience with most of the players back from last year's Sweet 16 squad, including twin brothers Caleb and Cody Martin.
Kentucky's two losses have come to Duke and the Seton Hall Pirates, who pulled off an 84-83 upset in overtime as seven-point underdogs two weeks ago. The Wildcats might also be worth a wager with head coach John Calipari always seeming to have his team peaking in March.