Duke, Kansas Open Atop 2019 March Madness Odds
The Duke Blue Devils saw their national championship dreams end early for a third straight year with an 85-81 loss to Kansas in the Elite Eight at this year’s NCAA Tournament. But with the nation’s top-ranked recruiting class set to hit the court this fall, the Blue Devils have emerged as early +450 favorites on the 2019 NCAAB men’s championship odds.
With a talented core led by freshman Marvin Bagley III and senior Grayson Allen, the Blue Devils entered this past season as +400 favorites on the 2018 national championship odds, and did not disappoint in the early going, opening the campaign with 11 consecutive straight-up wins.
The squad struggled at times during conference play, finishing second to the Virginia Cavaliers with a 13-5 SU record before getting bounced early from the ACC Tournament by rival North Carolina. However, they remained atop the March Madness odds going into this year’s Big Dance.
The expected departure of both Bagley and Allen will raise concerns about Duke’s national championship drought extending to four years in 2019. However, the Blue Devils hope to hit the hardwood next season with the top three recruits in college basketball, led by Canadian RJ Barrett, who closed out a stellar high school career by winning Gatorade National Player of the Year, and Americans Zion Williamson and Cameron Reddish.
Kansas closely follows Duke at +700 on the 2019 March Madness futures odds, while the defending champion Villanova Wildcats join the Kentucky Wildcats at +850.
The Jayhawks produced mixed results at this year’s NCAA Tournament, failing to cover three times during a five-game run that ended with a lopsided 95-79 loss to Villanova in the Final Four as 5-point underdogs.
Kansas will also be without seniors Devonte Graham and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk next season, and expect sophomore Malik Newman to declare for the 2018 NBA Draft following a breakthrough season that saw him earn Big 12 Tournament MVP honors. However, the highly anticipated arrival of brothers KJ and Dedric Lawson, who will be eligible to suit up for Kansas next season after transferring from Memphis, will be critical to the Jayhawks success in 2019.
Villanova will also see a turnover in personnel during the offseason, with two-time national champions Jalen Brunson and Mikal Bridges both expected to enter the NBA Draft. The Wildcats hope to bring back key components of this year’s championship squad, including Eric Paschall, Omari Spellman, and Final Four Most Outstanding Player Donte DiVincenzo, and will likely benefit from what is widely expected to be younger competition in the Big East.
Tar Heels Trail on 2019 March Madness Futures Odds
The Tar Heels lead the middle of the pack on the 2019 March Madness odds, at +1200, followed by Virginia, which enters the offseason as a +1500 national championship bet after making dubious history at this year’s tournament with a stunning 74-54 opening-round loss as 20.5-point chalk to No.16 UMBC.
Following their run to this year’s national championship game, the Michigan Wolverines enter the spring sporting +3000 odds for next season. The Loyola-Chicago Ramblers emerged as the Cinderella story of this year’s NCAA Tournament with their unlikely march to the Final Four, but enter the offseason alongside the Iowa State Cyclones as +20000 longshots.
* Bovada Odds as of April 6, 2018