BLUE DEVILS AND SPARTANS ARE EARLY FAVORITES IN COLLEGE BASKETBALL

This is a great time of year for sports fans. Football is in full swing on the collegiate and professional levels, and the NHL and NBA are also just getting going. Now we have NCAA basketball knocking at the door. Sure, we’re a long way from March Madness, but meaningful games are not that far away.

 

Bovada is out with their early odds for teams with the best opportunity to win the 2018 NCAA Men’s Championship and there are some familiar names at the top. Here’s a look at the teams that they feel will make some noise at tournament time.

Duke Blue Devils (+400)

Hall of Fame coach Mike Krzyzewski will have a roster that looks a whole lot different than last season, but they still find themselves with the best odds. Gone from last season are four key players who ended up being drafted in the 2017 NBA Draft. Jayson Tatum (3rd overall), Luke Kennard (12th overall) and Harry Giles (20th overall) were all first-round selections while guard Frank Jackson was the first selection in round two. But the pesky Grayson Allen returns and is joined by newcomers Marvin Bagley III, Trevon Duval and Wendell Carter to assist with the Duke reload.

Michigan State Spartans (+600)

Head Coach Tom Izzo will have the Spartans knocking at the door for another championship in 2017-18. Last season’s talented freshman are now sophomores and should be much improved. They include Miles Bridges (who turned down NBA money to stay another year), Cassius Winston, Nick Ward and Joshua Langford. Bridges, along with 6’11’ freshman Jaren Jackson, are expected top-10 picks in next summers NBA Draft.

Kentucky (+750)

The Wildcats seem to reload every year with a new batch of freshman. And this year is no different. Their freshman class includes eight new players with a possibility that five of them could end up as starters. Head Coach John Calipari will need to find replacements for guards Malik Monk and De’Aaron Fox as well as big man Bam Adebayo. Incoming recruits include Kevin Knox, Jarred Vanderbilt, PJ Washington and Nick Richards.

Arizona (+900)

Arizona is led by Player of the Year candidate Allonzo Trier who is hoping to stay healthy and play in more games than his first two seasons with the Wildcats. Top recruit DeAndre Ayton is expected to make a big impact with his size (7’1”) and athleticism. This roster is loaded with talent and the biggest challenge may be finding a solid eight to nine man rotation.

The Next Three

Other teams with the next best odds include Kansas, Missouri and North Carolina, all at (+1600).