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Kentucky Opens as Favorites to Win 2020 NCAA Tournament

David Golokhov

by David Golokhov in College Basketball

Apr 9, 2019 · 2:51 PM PDT

Kentucky coach John Calipari talking to point guard Ashton Hagans.
John Calipari (R) will have Asthon Hagans (L) back next year plus a strong incoming class, but will likely lose all four of his leading scorers from 2018-19. Photo by Twitter user @usopinion.
  • The Kentucky Wildcats will lose P.J. Washington to the NBA, but open as favorites to win 2020 NCAA Tournament
  • The Duke Blue Devils will have to rebound after losing Zion Williamson, Cam Reddish and R.J. Barrett
  • The Villanova Wildcats could offer good value at +1600

The Virginia Cavaliers just won the national championship but now the attention shifts to next season and the 2020 NCAA Tournament. The Kentucky Wildcats have opened as the favorite in terms of the odds to win 2020 NCAA Tournament, but there are better teams to bet on.

2020 NCAA Tournament Odds

Team 2020 NCAA Tournament Odds
Kentucky Wildcats +625
Duke Blue Devils +700
Virginia Cavaliers +750
Michigan State Spartans +800
Michigan Wolverines +1200
North Carolina Tar Heels +1400
Villanova Wildcats +1600
Gonzaga Bulldogs +1600
Kansas Jayhawks +2000
Oregon Ducks +2200

*Odds taken on 4/9/2019

Kentucky the Early Favorite

The Wildcats will have to deal with some significant turnover but that’s nothing new for John Calipari. It’s expected that P.J. Washington, Keldon Johnson and Tyler Herro are all going to the NBA Draft, while senior transfer Reid Travis is graduating.

However, soon-to-be freshman Tyrese Maxey is coming in and he’ll be the signature piece of their backcourt next season. He’ll be the key to their offense. He’ll get help from athletic wing Kahlil Whitney and forward Keion Brooks, along with returning point guard Ashton Hagans.

The challenge is that we’re working with a lot of assumptions here.

Betting advice: Until we concretely know more about their roster makeup, don’t bet the Wildcats.

Duke Is Overvalued

Duke is going to get gutted as Zion Williamson, R.J. Barrett and Cam Reddish are all jumping to the NBA. In a small surprise, point guard Tre Jones is coming back, which is huge.

Of course, the incoming class is going to be star-studded. Vernon Carey is a highly-rated center; Wendell Moore is a talented wing; and guard Boogie Ellis will score plenty.

But this unit needs to come together quickly. They won’t have anyone on Zion’s level who will allow them to dominate on sheer talent and athleticism right out of the gate.

Betting advice: Pass until Mike Krzyzewski proves he can still turn a group of talented youngster into more than a sum of its parts.

Spartans the Best Bet

Tom Izzo’s team made it to the Final Four and looks like a decent value bet at 8/1. We’re talking about a team that should return its top-four scorers, including All-American point guard Cassius Winston.

We don’t know his status for sure but it seems like he’ll be back for his senior year. He’s not viewed as a great NBA prospect.

Xavier Tillman has already stated that he’s back and Nick Ward is probably staying too. Add highly-touted Rocket Watts to the backcourt and the Spartans will easily be the Big Ten favorite, no matter who returns of Michigan’s underclassmen.

Betting advice: MSU is good value at +800. They shouldn’t be behind teams like Kentucky or Duke right now.

Take a Flier on Villanova

This powerhouse was forgotten this year but they are going to be one heck of a team in 2019-2020. They’re a solid value bet at 16/1.

Yes, Eric Paschall and Phil Both are both gone, which means they’ll lose some leadership. However, they have a slew of good underclassmen coming back, including Saddiq Bey. Add to the pot a pair of McDonald’s All-Americans in Bryan Antoine and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, and the Wildcats are cooking.

Antoine, in particular, is one of the school’s most talented recruits ever. Giving head coach Jay Wright these types of tools typically leads to success.

Betting advice: Villanova is reasonable value at +1600.

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