College Basketball Betting Preview 2019-2020

Virginia won the NCAA title in 2019, but Michigan State is the preseason favorite to win the 2020 March Madness tournament.

With the NCAA college basketball season set to tip off on November 5, the time has come to handicap contenders for the 2020 Men’s National Championship Tournament title. Sure, “March Madness” is still five months away and America’s college basketball season spans 35 some odd regular season and postseason games – including both conference tournaments and championship games.

Nonetheless, oddsmakers have been hard at work since last March – when the Virginia Cavaliers cut down the nets as national champs for the first time in the school’s 114-year history – and lines are posted for 49 of the country’s top teams.

Top-5 Betting Favorites Offer a Pair of Outliers

Per the oddsmakers at Bovada, the slim favorite to win it all next March is Michigan State (+650), after the Spartans played their way into the Final Four last time around.

In his 25th year at the helm, head coach Tom Izzo has guided the Spartans to four Final Four berths, including a National Championship in 1999-2000. Izzo will have the services of senior guard Cassius Winston – Big Ten preseason player of the year and overwhelming Coaches Poll honoree as the “Best Player in the Country” – who opted against entering the NBA Draft in favor of chasing a title for his Associated Press (AP) preseason rankings leading alma mater.

Kentucky (+750) and Duke (+850) – NCAA Futures Odds 2020

Next up on the betting board are Kentucky (+750) and Duke (+850), the AP’s #2 and #4 ranked teams, respectively.

Kentucky and Duke both reached the Elite Eight last year, with the Wildcats losing in an upset to Auburn and the Blue Devils bested by Michigan State. These two programs – led by Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski (five) and Kentucky head coach John Calipari (one) – have accounted for six career NCAA Tournament victories.

Throw in four runner-up finishes for Krzyzewski along with two more for Calipari, and it’s easy to see why Duke and Kentucky are atop the preseason title totem pole once again.

But after the 1-2-4 trio in terms of AP rankings, the futures odds shift dramatically in favor of middle of the road candidates.

Memphis (+1000) and Virginia (+1100) – 2020 March Madness Odds

AP #14 ranked Memphis is listed at (+1000), while defending champion and #11 ranked Virginia trails close behind at (+1100).

Rookie head coach and former NBA superstar Penny Hardaway inherited a talented Memphis Tigers roster and guided them to their best season (22-14) in the last five years.

As for the defending champion “Wahoos,” Virginia experienced the type of turnover all top-tier college basketball teams must cope with at their peak. De’Andre Hunter, Kyle Guy, and Ty Jerome all entered the NBA Draft, Marco Anthony transferred, and Jack Salt graduated as a redshirt senior.

That significant attrition explains Virginia’s middling AP preseason ranking, as well as the lukewarm reception from major sportsbooks.

Dark Horses and Longshots That Just Might Have a Chance

Bettors interested in backing a longshot with legitimate hopes of beating the odds should look no further than #24 Auburn at (+4000), after the Tigers turned a #5 seed in last year’s tourney into a Final Four berth.

Auburn had Virginia on the ropes at halftime in that pivotal contest before falling one point short at the final buzzer. And while a deep senior class has departed for greener pastures, veteran head coach Bruce Pearl will have several four-star rated recruits at the ready for an instant rebuild.

Other longshots boasting tournament experience and top-line talent include #8 Gonzaga (+2300), #10 Villanova (+1900), and last year’s title game runner-up #13 Texas Tech (+3300).

See the table below to see where your school’s hoops squad ranks on the latest 2020 NCAA Tournament betting board.

2020 NCAA Tournament Odds at Bovada

(AP Preseason Ranking)
NCAA Tournament Championship Odds (as of 10/31/2019)
Michigan State (#1) +650
Kentucky (#2) +750
Duke (#4) +850
Memphis (#14) +1000
Virginia (#11) +1100
Kansas (#3) +1200
North Carolina (#9) +1400
Louisville (#5) +1400
Florida (#6) +1500
Villanova (#10) +1900
Gonzaga (#8) +2300
Maryland (#7) +3000
Texas Tech (#13) +3300
Michigan +3500
Oregon (#15) +3500
Auburn (#24) +4000
Arizona (#21) +4000
Ohio State (#18) +4500
Baylor (#16) +5000
Xavier (#19) +5000
Washington +5000
LSU (#22) +5000
Tennessee +6000
Mississippi State +6000
Florida State +6000
Texas +6000
Seton Hall (#12) +6000
Purdue (#23) +7000
Marquette +7000
Houston +7000
Cincinnati +7000
Iowa +7000
Syracuse +7000
Iowa State +8000
Wisconsin +10000
Creighton +10000
Alabama +10000
Arizona State +10000
Colorado +10000
Illinois +10000
Indiana +10000
Ole Miss +10000
Texas A&M +10000
Connecticut +10000
USC +10000
UCLA +10000
West Virginia +10000
Georgia +12500
New Mexico State +25000

Jonathan Zaun

One of Gamble Online's first dedicated reporters, Jonathan has spent well over a decade reporting on the gaming industry. While breaking legal news is his main area of expertise, Jonathan is an avid blackjack player & strategist who follows professional poker closely.

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