The college basketball season is in full swing as we enter the fifth week of the year. Now that we have first-hand evidence of which teams look like contenders and pretenders, it is time to revisit the championship odds and which teams programs are worthy of your wager. Let’s take a look at the National Championship Odds for your new favorite, my favorite, and a dark horse candidate to win.
Favorite: Houston Cougars
Preseason Odds: +2000 Updated Odds: +850
Not surprisingly, the current top-ranked team in the nation is the favorite to win the title. Houston has everything you want when looking for a future champion. Kelvin Sampson is one of the best coaches in the entire country and has his team playing the best defense in the country.
The Cougars are currently ranked inside the top five in almost every single defensive metric. Houston is second in adjusted defensive efficiency, first in effective field goal percentage defense, second in three-point percentage defense, second in block percentage, and first in the nation in points allowed at 48 points per game.
Often these dominant defensive clubs lack in other aspects of the game but not this club. The Cougars boast All-American guard/wing Marcus Sasser as their leader, and he has lived up to the hype. After missing most of last season due to injury, Sasser is back to full strength and averaging 17 points, three rebounds, and three assists per game, along with nearly two steals.
If you were smart enough to place a bet on a Cougars future during the preseason, it may be worth your while to see what that ticket is worth to a Houston fan right about now.
Smart Pick: Virginia Cavaliers
Preseason Odds: +10000 Updated Odds: +4000
This pick is not to say that Houston is not a smart pick, but it is difficult not to take notice of what the Cavaliers are doing right now. Tony Bennett’s team could easily be the top-ranked team in the nation right now after starting the season 7-0. Unlike a lot of schools, Virginia is not playing a cupcake schedule. The Wahoos have already defeated Baylor Bears, Illinois, and Michigan, with none of those victories coming within the friendly confines of John Paul Jones Arena.
The entire college basketball world will be tuned in on December 6th when the Cavaliers host the top-ranked Houston Cougars. If you are a Virginia believer, the smart thing might be to purchase your future ticket prior to the game. The Cavaliers are 54-12 straight up at home over the last four-plus seasons, which is good for third-best in the ACC. If Coach Bennett is able to pull off the upset, it is likely these odds will plummet. Get in on this big number while it’s still available.
The Dark Horse: Purdue Boilermakers
Preseason Odds:+3300 Updated Odds: +10000
That is not a typo. Purdue is currently just slightly more favored than Southern California and behind Michigan and Iowa. Someone is apparently asleep at the wheel here, as the Boilermakers are thought to be a top-five team by many. Matt Painter’s group has already defeated Duke, Marquette, West Virginia, and Gonzaga.
It should also be pointed out that Purdue didn’t just defeat those teams. The Boilermakers won those four games by an average of more than 13 points per game. Center Zach Edey just registered 31 points and 22 rebounds in a game against Minnesota and has scored fewer than 20 points just once all season. He is possibly the most dominant force in college basketball this season. Get a piece of that +10000.