College Basketball Championship Odds
Last year made us realize how badly this country needs the March Madness tournament. After a year off from the Covid-19 pandemic, college basketball came roaring back and provided a classic event. This tournament had everything. From shocking upsets to enticing beatdowns to one of the best buzzer-beaters in recent memory by Gonzaga guard Jalen Suggs. The Pac-12 was the surprising conference to show up as many thought that we could have a potential all Big-10 Final Four. In classic March Madness fashion, this didn’t happen as many of the powerhouse Big-10 got bounced early in the tournament. This shattered the brackets of many as they thought the big bad Big-10 would stomp on the opposition. Instead, this tournament does what it always does and provided an upset lurking around every corner.
With the new law stating college athletes can make money off of their image and likeness and the big move that Oklahoma and Texas are departing the Big 12 to move to the SEC, college sports is in a state of frenzy. The odds for this year’s NCCA basketball championship are out and with all of the transferring and players getting drafted into the NBA, the lines for the national championship are set for now. Here is what we found for this year’s season.
College Basketball Championship Odds 2021-22
Favorites from Power 5 Conferences
ACC: Florida State ()
Some talented players and quality leaders are not going to be on the Seminoles this year, but that won’t stop them from winning another ACC championship.
M.J. Walker, Raiquan Gray, and Scottie Barnes are leaving and those three players were the major source of offense and the prominent voices in the locker room.
Filling in for them are familiar faces in Anthony Polite, Malike Osborne, and RayQuan Gray as well as talented and young recruits like Matt Cleveland, John Butler, and Jalen Warley. The three new guys are all rated within the top 60 of ESPN’s top 300 recruits and the returning veteran players are tough and competitive.
Florida State is the new team to beat in the ACC and they should remain as the best team this upcoming season.
SEC: Kentucky ()
The Wildcats got another top 10 recruiting class to try and bounce back from a very disappointing season. John Calipari got never seem to get his team to play cohesive basketball and everything was falling apart before the season even began.
But this season could be different and Kentucky could rise from the ashes of last season to the top of the SEC. Leaving are solid all-around players like Brandon Boston Jr., Olivier Sarr, Isaiah Jackson, and Devin Askew who provided a bulk of the scoring and playing time on last year’s Kentucky team.
Taking their place are returning players like Davion Mintz, Keion Brooks Jr., Dontaie Allen, Jacob Toppin, and Lance Ware and all of these players never seemed to find their stride under the Calipari system.
This rejuvenated team also gets top-level recruits with three new guys being ranked in the top 35 of ESPN Top 300 in TyTy Washington, Daimion Collins, and Bryce Hopkins.
With a full offseason to get the guys into shape, Kentucky should be able to poise a challenge and return to their rightful place as the best team in the SEC.
Big 12: Baylor ()
The National Champion Baylor Bears are ready for a title defense in 2022. The big story with the Bears for their 2022 season is losing all of their talented seniors. Guys like Jared Butler, Davion Mitchell, MaCio Teague, Mark Vital, and Tristan Clark were the heart and soul of this team and they are all also gone.
Good players like Adam Flagler, Matthew Mayer, Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua, L.J. Cryer, and Flo Thamba are back and should ease the transition for the new players they brought in.
Baylor was a sexy team to join and recruit and transfer players like Kendall Brown, Langston Love, Jeremy Sochan, Dale Bonner, and James Akinjo were more than happy to join Scott Drew in Waco. This team isn’t as cohesive or experienced as last year’s team, but they still have the same level of shooting and defense.
This will make them a tough out for any team they come across in the tournament.
Big 10: Michigan ()
Juwan Howard was close to building a super team in his first full season as the Michigan basketball coach. It was a shame that Isiah Livers broke his foot before the tournament because Michigan was talked about as a serious national championship-winning team.
This year they are losing key players like Isaiah Livers, Franz Wagner, Mike Smith, Chaundee Brown, and Austin Davis.
But Michigan fans should not worry as they are returning one of their star players in center Hunter Dickinson and other solid role players in Eli Brooks, Brandon Johns Jr., Terrance Williams II, Jace Howard, and Zeb Jackson. To add to this already loaded team is the fact that Michigan is getting top-level recruits and transfers like Caleb Houstan, Moussa Diabate, Frankie Collins, Kobe Bufkin, Will Tschetter, Isaiah Barnes, and DeVante’ Jones.
It’s hard to find a weakness in this Michigan squad because top to bottom they have talent at every position. Expect a serious run from the Wolverines this year.
Pac 12: UCLA ()
Mick Cronin was everything and more for the Bruins in his first season coaching the team. He somehow led UCLA to their first Final Four in ages and he did so without a whole lot of talent. And UCLA is fully loaded for this upcoming season as they get a majority of their tough and scrappy players back.
Among those returning is the star of March Madness, Johnny Juzang, as well as Jaime Jaquez Jr., Jules Bernard, Tyger Campbell, Cody Riley, David Singleton, Jake Kyman, Mac Etienne, Jaylen Clark, and Kenneth Nwuba. All of these guys play with a gritty attitude and they banded together to win many tough games.
The only players UCLA lost are Chris Smith and Jalen Hill and while these guys will be missed, new guys like Peyton Watson, Will McClendon, and Myles Johnson should be more than enough to make up for lost production.
UCLA is returning a ton of their players and they will be one of the top teams heading into this season.
Values From Power 5 Conferences
ACC: Duke ()
Duke could win the national championship as the final present for the Coach K farewell tour. Mike Krzyzewski is stepping down as the head coach of the Blue Devils after 41 years with the team and he has a talented team for his last season.
It’s a shame players like Matthew Hurt, DJ Steward, Jalen Johnson, and Jordan Goldwire couldn’t be a part of Coach K’s last dance because they were valuable to the team.
Other players like Wendell Moore Jr., Jeremy Roach, Mark Williams, and Joey Baker are returning and should show new talented guys like Paolo Banchero, Trevor Keels, A.J. Griffin, Jaylen Blakes, Theo John, and Bates Jones “The Duke Way”.
This darkhorse pick is based solely on emotions and sentiment and if these guys can’t get Coach K another ring as he is exiting his illustrious career, that would be a major stain on all of their resumes.
SEC: Tennessee ()
The Volunteers struggled to score points last year, but that shouldn’t be the same case this year. Tennessee was a gritty and defensive-minded team that focused more on shutting the opponent down rather than keeping up with the high-powered offenses of the SEC.
Tennesse might have also been the biggest winners of the SEC basketball offseason as they have a ton of returning players and talented recruits joining their team. Amazing returning players like John Fulkerson, Santiago Vescovi, Victor Bailey Jr., Josiah-Jordan James, Olivier Nkamhoua, and Uros Plavsic are back after a disappointing out from the NCAA tournament. They will use this pain to fuel them and teach talented recruits like Kennedy Chandler, Brandon Huntley-Hatfield, Jonas Aidoo, and Jahmai Mashack how to play for Rick Barnes in Knoxville.
Tennessee was a top team in the SEC last year with some major scoring flaws. This year could be very different as Tennessee should be a more talented and complete team.
Big 12: Oklahoma ()
Oklahoma might have taken a year off from being one of the best teams in the Big 12 last year, but they should be back in full force in 2022.
Now, the quest back to the top will be tough as they did lose crucial players this offseason. Austin Reaves, De’Vion Harmon, and Brady Manek were major sources of offense for the Sooners and will be missed because they also provided leadership and experience.
They return guys like Umoja Gibson, Elijah Harkless, and Jalen Hill to ease the transition from last year to this year and they need it because Oklahoma is getting a ton of new and talented guys for this year. Oklahoma is getting talented recruits, like C.J. Noland, Bijan Cortes, and Alston Mason, and guys who showed out for other teams like Tanner Groves, Marvin Johnson, Jacob Groves, Ethan Chargois, and Jordan Goldwire.
This Oklahoma team is the Frankenstein’s monster of college basketball and they should have enough talent to compete in the tournament.
Big 10: Indiana ()
Indiana has been a headscratcher in the Big 10 for the past several years, but this year could be different. Indiana has been underperforming for their standards and this is the year that new head coach, Mike Woodson, could bring the team back to relevancy.
Gone are the players from the Archie Miller era like Armaan Franklin, Al Durham, Joey Brunk, and Jerome Hunter and bring in the players for the new regime.
Key returning players like Trayce Jackson-Davis, Race Thompson, and Rob Phinisee are back for another season to show that their talent was being wasted under Miller. Some new guys to keep an eye on are Tamar Bates, Logan Duncomb, Xavier Johnson, Miller Kopp, Parker Stewart, and Michael Durr.
All of these guys are either top-level recruits or talented scorers from other college programs and it should be interesting to see who gets major minutes under the new coach.
Pac 12: Oregon ()
Oregon was a team that was derailed from Covid issues last year. This team could have competed for a national title as they had all of the size and shooting of a championship team. They also played at a frantic pace where their lackluster defense didn’t matter much.
Now they did lose a ton of key players as Eugene Omoruyi, Chris Duarte, and LJ Figueroa are not returning to the team this season.
On a brighter note, players like Will Richardson, Eric Williams Jr., and N’Faly Dante are returning and they are getting the chance to play along with some great recruits and transfers like Nate Bittle, Jacob Young, Quincy Guerrier, De’Vion Harmon, and Isaac Johnson.
Oregon has been one of the most consistently good teams for the past few years and with this year’s talent, they could make a deep tournament run.
Other Value Teams
This section is dedicated to the teams who are good enough to win the national championship but don’t play in any of the Power 5 conferences. Below are some obvious picks, like Gonzaga and Villanova, and some reach picks, like Drake and UConn.
The Zags have the best odds to win the championship this year and this usually doesn’t happen to a non-Power 5 team. But Gonzaga isn’t any ordinary non-Power 5 team. Mark Few has built a powerhouse out in Spokane and they have great returning players and new talented recruits to try and finish the job.
Yes, it will be hard to replace guys like Corey Kispert, Jalen Suggs, and Joel Ayayi since these guys were impact players to their tournament run.
But Mark Few has done an excellent job recruiting and has gotten players like Drew Timme, Andrew Nembhard, and Anton Watson to return to the program to play alongside recruits like Chet Holmgren, Hunter Sallis, Nolan Hickman, and Kaden Perry.
Gonzaga is the favorite to win it all this year and with all of the upgrades they made to their team, it would be wise to put my money on them.
The Wildcats were snake-bitten by injury to key players near the end of last year, but this year, we should expect to see a major roar from Villanova.
Jay Wright should get a full team back as important players to the program like Collin Gillespie, Justin Moore, Jermaine Samuels, Caleb Daniels, Brandon Slater, Eric Dixon, Bryan Antoine, and Chris Arcidiacono are back for another year with the team.
Losing guys like Jeremiah Robinson-Earl and Cole Swider will be difficult to overcome, but recruits like Jordan Longino, Nnanna Njoku, and Angelo Brizzi should provide a spark to the team.
Villanova has great odds to win the championship in 2022 and it should be exciting to see a good Nova team in the tournament.
There is something about the UConn legacy that always makes them a good bet once March rolls around. Danny Hurley is now the man in charge and has gotten the team back to a place where they can make some noise in the tournament.
It’s not all roses for UConn as they are losing one of their best players in James Bouknight as well as guys like Brendam Adams and Josh Carlton.
Some returning players to note are R.J. Cole, Tyrese Martin, Tyler Polley, Isaiah Whaley, and Adama Sanogo who should all be better after developing their game more this offseason. The real key for UConn’s success is their recruits as Samson Johnson, Rahsool Diggins, and Jordan Hawkins could put this team over the top and in serious contention for the national championship.
Penny Hardaway has brought the Memphis Tigers back to the spotlight and made them a spicy pick for this year’s season. Memphis is a yin and yang team as they lost many good players but also got some really good players to replace them.
Some of the key guys they lost are Boogie Ellis, D.J. Jeffries, and Moussa Cisse.
However, guys like Landers Nolley II, DeAndre Williams, and Lester Quinones are back for another season with the team and they are now joined by talented recruits and scorers from across the country like Johnathan Lawson, Josh Minott, Sam Onu, John Camden, Earl Timberlake, Tyler Harris, and Chandler Lawson.
Hopefully, these players can gel together and make it into the tournament in 2022.
Honestly, I didn’t know that much about Drake before last year’s March Madness. I knew they were pretty good, but I didn’t know how good. But after watching them play and seeing who is returning for them, Drake is one team that you don’t want to sleep on.
The only player not returning to the team is Joseph Yesufu. Now, Yesufu did score 12.8 PPG, so this is a big loss.
But the amount of talent that this team is returning is why people are so high on this team. Between ShanQuan Hemphill, Roman Penn, Tremell Murphy, D.J. Wilkins, Garrett Sturtz, Darnell Brodie, Jonah Jackson, Nate Ferguson, Issa Samake, and Okay Djamgouz this team is returning many familiar people.
This team is cohesive, tough, and plays the right way, and will be a difficult team to face in this year’s tournament.