College basketball national title odds: Kentucky and Memphis are best bets, but there's not much value in Duke

Michigan State returns three of its top four scorers from last season's Final Four club. Michigan State has a Hall of Fame coach in Tom Izzo. Michigan State boasts the potential preseason favorite to win national player of the year: Cassius Winston.

Is it any surprise that Michigan State is the favorite to win it all in 2019-20?

The Spartans have the depth, talent and momentum to pick up where they left off last season in Minneapolis, and updated betting odds from the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook have them (still!) as the outright favorite to win the title next April in Atlanta at 6-1 odds. Trailing closely behind them is Kentucky at 7-1, Kansas at 8-1, Duke at 10-1, and North Carolina at 14-1. A host of other programs enter the picture between 18-1 and 25-1.

While the best odds suggest they are accompanied by the best teams, not all happen to be the best bets. So let's take a spin at some teams I like -- and some I don't followed by the latest odds on each team from Westgate.

Which teams should you back to make the Final Four and win it all? Join SportsLine today and get projected scores and stats from 10,000 simulations, plus get Vegas insider picks, fantasy advice and much more!

Best bets

1

Odds: 7-1

Why to bet the Wildcats: Kentucky is No. 3 in the CBS Sports Top 25 (and one), but No. 1 on our best bets list. The Wildcats bring back defensive stalwart Ashton Hagans and is set to pair him with a lottery talent in Tyrese Maxey, who is going to put up massive numbers as a true freshman. UK should be considered the SEC favorite and a bona fide top-3 club entering the season.

2

Odds: 14-1

Why to bet the Tigers: This is theft! Memphis' incoming recruiting class is No. 1 in the country. If Duke was bringing in this class, they'd be title favorites. But at 14-1, Memphis is nearly categorized for me as a sleeper bet. While the Tigers' youth is a question, No. 1 recruit James Wiseman and a host of four-star freshmen should bring back the electricity to FedExForum as Penny Hardaway looks to make a second-year splash. This team will be long and athletic; if they can find some shooters, they'll prove the 14-1 odds here are a joke.

3

Odds: 20-1

Why to bet the Gators: Florida already had juice as an SEC contender with Noah Locke and Andrew Nembhard returning. But the addition of five-star freshmen Scottie Lewis and Tre Mann in addition to graduate transfer Kerry Blackshear is absolutely jarring. The Gators will push Kentucky as an SEC contender, and I think they have the most upside of any team on this list if the pieces fall in place as I expect.

4

Odds: 16-1

Why to bet the Cardinals: Two words: Jordan Nwora. He put the NBA on hold so he could improve his draft stock as a junior. The unintended benefit was that he made Louisville a legitimate contender in the process. The Cardinals return six of their top seven scorers from last year, they add a grad transfer in Lamarr Kimble, and they have a star-studded recruiting class that absolutely, positively looks ready to contribute right away.

5

Odds: 25-1

Why to bet the Red Raiders: In Chris Beard's first season coaching at Tech, the Red Raiders missed the Big Dance. In his second, they made the Elite Eight. In his third, they made the national championship game. It's only natural that for his fourth act, Texas Tech is winning the whole thing. (OK, maybe not. But Tech added a few key graduate transfers and has a nice recruiting class incoming. They'll be ranked all season and should peak in March.)

Bad bets

1

Odds: 10-1

Why to avoid the Blue Devils: I'm subscribed to the idea that Tre Jones is going to make a big leap as a sophomore. I'm just not sold on the supporting cast around him holding up. Its top-5 recruiting class is littered with talent and dispersed across key positions, but none of the rookies are on the same level as Zion or RJ was last year. Value here at 10-1 just isn't great.

2

Odds: 20-1

Why to avoid the Terrapins: Chol Marial's addition gives Maryland depth behind second-year star Jalen Smith, and Anthony Cowan provides a steady-handed vet. But the positions in between are still largely a question mark. I think the Terps will be among the most talented in the Big Ten, but that so far hasn't translated to winning big in College Park for Mark Turgeon. He's only accumulated three NCAA Tournament wins since taking over in 2011.

3

Odds: 40-1

Why to avoid the Wildcats: UC Irvine graduate transfer Max Hazzard solidifies a loaded incoming haul of newcomers led by a top-5 recruiting class. And five-stars Nico Mannion and Josh Green, on paper, should be awesome. But the cloud of a formal NCAA investigation related to the FBI probe hanging over the program would be disconcerting for anyone -- especially for Miller, who has been under fire since the scandal's inception. It seems Arizona's season has a higher chance of going awry than just about any other team in the country.

4

Odds: 60-1

Why to avoid the Volunteers: Grant Williams, Admiral Schofield and Jordan Bone -- the team's leading scorers from last year -- are all gone. Rick Barnes has his work cut out for him. I think incoming freshman Josiah-Jordan James could be one of the best guards in college basketball next season, but the sheer amount of production to be replaced doesn't engender confidence that they'll be anywhere near a title contender. The Vols' odds have slipped from 30-1 to 60-1 since lines first opened back in April.

5

Odds: 60-1

Why to avoid the Tigers: The top three scorers from Auburn's Final Four team are gone: Bryce Brown, Jared Harper and Chuma Okeke. The talent is in place for the Tigers to still be a tourney team -- Samir Doughty, Austin Wiley, Andernee McLemore are among the notable returning players -- but title contention at 60-1 is way too rich for my blood. I wouldn't even take those odds for SEC title contention, let alone the whole thing!

Long shots

1

Odds: 80-1

Why to take a chance on the Rams: VCU won the Atlantic 10 by a healthy margin last season, and it brings back all but two players from last season's 25-win team. Most importantly, though, this Rams team is loaded with experience. Their top three returning scorers will be seniors in 2019, fitting the mold of a lethal mid-major team that could make a serious charge in March.

2

Odds: 100-1

Why to take a chance on the Bulldogs: Georgia underwent a major roster reconstruction this offseason. and who knows how it will go for Tom Crean and Co. They should be better, but improving off an 11-win season shouldn't be all that challenging. The reason this one's worth considering is Anthony Edwards -- UGA's prized recruit who will be a freshman. If he's able to dominate, he could take the Dawgs to a new level.

3

Odds: 100-1

Why to take a chance on the Cyclones: Yes, it's possible that Iowa State lost a quartet of starters to the NBA -- Lindell Wigginton, Marial Shayok, Talen Horton-Tucker, Nick Weiler-Babb -- and actually got better. The reason: Tyrese Haliburton is ready. After showing some major flashes as a lanky freshman last season, he has a chance to be one of the Big 12's most efficient guards in a lead role.

4

Odds: 200-1

Why to take a chance on the Sooners: Brady Manek -- better known by some as Larry from the Prairie -- returns for the Sooners, providing them with a foundational junior. And coach Lon Kruger has a talented stable of youngsters incoming, headlined by top-50 point guard De'Vion Harmon, one of the most underrated guards in the 2019 class. Kruger has a lot of moving pieces with seven newcomers, but talent won't be an issue.

5

Odds: 200-1

Why to take a chance: Utah State won 28 games last season, and it returns big man star Neemias Queta, a lumbering 6-foot-11 center who could potentially have been a first-round pick. Queta's shadow casts huge expectations for Utah State as they should win the Mountain West and field enough returning players -- Sam Merrill, Diogo Brito, among others -- to fit the mold of a sleeper. I like the 200-1 odds I'm getting here.

2020 NCAA championship odds

-- Odds via Westgate Superbook

TeamOpen
April 8, 2019
Current
July 22, 2019
Michigan State 8-1 6-1
Kentucky 7-1 7-1
Kansas 20-1 8-1
Duke 8-1 10-1
North Carolina 14-1 14-1
Memphis 80-1 14-1
Louisville 20-1 16-1
Villanova 14-1 20-1
Florida 60-1 20-1
Maryland 80-1 20-1
Virginia 7-1 25-1
Gonzaga 14-1 25-1
Texas Tech 30-1 25-1
Arizona 20-1 40-1
Oregon 20-1 40-1
LSU 80-1 40-1
Ohio State 80-1 40-1
Baylor 100-1 40-1
Seton Hall 80-1 50-1
Michigan 12-1 60-1
Mississippi State 30-1 60-1
Tennessee 30-1 60-1
Auburn 30-1 60-1
Florida State 40-1 60-1
Houston 40-1 60-1
Purdue 60-1 60-1
Xavier 80-1 60-1
Iowa 60-1 80-1
Washington 80-1 80-1
VCU 200-1 80-1
Texas 40-1 100-1
Marquette 50-1 100-1
Cincinnati 60-1 100-1
Iowa State 60-1 100-1
Syracuse 60-1 100-1
Creighton 80-1 100-1
Arizona State 100-1 100-1
Georgia 100-1 100-1
Illinois 100-1 100-1
UConn 100-1 100-1
UCLA 100-1 100-1
Southern Cal 100-1 100-1
West Virginia 100-1 100-1
Wisconsin 100-1 100-1
Alabama 100-1 200-1
Colorado 100-1 200-1
Indiana 100-1 200-1
Minnesota 200-1 200-1
NC State 200-1 200-1
Oklahoma 200-1 200-1
Ole Miss 100-1 200-1
Utah State 200-1 200-1
Missouri 200-1 300-1
Penn State 200-1 300-1
Texas A&M 100-1 300-1
Arkansas 300-1 300-1
Butler 300-1 300-1
Georgetown 300-1 300-1
Kansas State 300-1 300-1
Nebraska 300-1 300-1
New Mexico State 300-1 300-1
Notre Dame 300-1 300-1
Oklahoma State 300-1 300-1
Oregon State 300-1 300-1
Providence 300-1 300-1
Saint Mary's 300-1 300-1
Wichita State 300-1 300-1
Davidson 1000-1 300-1
Miami 300-1 500-1
Missouri State 300-1 500-1
Saint Louis 300-1 500-1
TCU 300-1 500-1
Utah 300-1 500-1
Virginia Tech 300-1 500-1
Boise State 500-1 500-1
UC-Irvine 500-1 500-1
Northwestern 500-1 500-1
Pittsburgh 500-1 500-1
Rutgers 500-1 500-1
San Diego State 500-1 500-1
SMU 500-1 500-1
South Carolina 500-1 500-1
St. Bonaventure 500-1 500-1
Stanford 500-1 500-1
Temple 500-1 500-1
Vanderbilt 500-1 500-1
Harvard 1000-1 500-1
South Florida 2000-1 500-1
St. John's 200-1 1000-1
Nevada 300-1 1000-1
New Mexico 500-1 1000-1
Belmont 1000-1 1000-1
Buffalo 1000-1 1000-1
BYU 1000-1 1000-1
California 1000-1 1000-1
UCF 1000-1 1000-1
Charleston 1000-1 1000-1
Clemson 1000-1 1000-1
Dayton 1000-1 1000-1
DePaul 1000-1 1000-1
Fresno State 1000-1 1000-1
Georgia Tech 1000-1 1000-1
Grand Canyon 1000-1 1000-1
Liberty 1000-1 1000-1
Lipscomb 1000-1 1000-1
Loyola-Chicago 1000-1 1000-1
Northern Iowa 1000-1 1000-1
Old Dominion 1000-1 1000-1
Penn 1000-1 1000-1
Rhode Island 1000-1 1000-1
San Francisco 1000-1 1000-1
UNLV 1000-1 1000-1
Wake Forest 1000-1 1000-1
Washington State 1000-1 1000-1
Western Kentucky 1000-1 1000-1
Yale 1000-1 1000-1
Austin Peay 2000-1 2000-1
Ball State 2000-1 2000-1
Boston College 2000-1 2000-1
Bowling Green 2000-1 2000-1
Bradley 2000-1 2000-1
Central Michigan 2000-1 2000-1
Coastal Carolina 2000-1 2000-1
Colorado State 2000-1 2000-1
Cal State-Fullerton 2000-1 2000-1
Drake 2000-1 2000-1
Duquesne 2000-1 2000-1
East Tennessee State 2000-1 2000-1
Florida Atlantic 2000-1 2000-1
Florida International 2000-1 2000-1
Furman 2000-1 2000-1
George Mason 2000-1 2000-1
Georgia Southern 2000-1 2000-1
Georgia State 2000-1 2000-1
Hawaii 2000-1 2000-1
Hofstra 2000-1 2000-1
Iona 2000-1 2000-1
Jacksonville State 2000-1 2000-1
Kent State 2000-1 2000-1
Louisiana 2000-1 2000-1
Louisiana-Monroe 2000-1 2000-1
Louisiana Tech 2000-1 2000-1
La Salle 2000-1 2000-1
Long Beach State 2000-1 2000-1
Loyola Marymount 2000-1 2000-1
Marshall 2000-1 2000-1
Montana 2000-1 2000-1
Murray State 2000-1 2000-1
UNC Greensboro 2000-1 2000-1
North Texas 2000-1 2000-1
Northeastern 2000-1 2000-1
Northern Kentucky 2000-1 2000-1
Oakland 2000-1 2000-1
Princeton 2000-1 2000-1
Richmond 2000-1 2000-1
San Diego 2000-1 2000-1
South Alabama 2000-1 2000-1
South Dakota State 2000-1 2000-1
Southern Miss 2000-1 2000-1
St. Joseph's 2000-1 2000-1
Texas State 2000-1 2000-1
Toledo 2000-1 2000-1
Tulsa 2000-1 2000-1
UAB 2000-1 2000-1
Cal-Santa Barbara 2000-1 2000-1
Texas-Arlington 2000-1 2000-1
Utah Valley 2000-1 2000-1
UTEP 2000-1 2000-1
UTSA 2000-1 2000-1
Valparaiso 2000-1 2000-1
Vermont 2000-1 2000-1
William & Mary 2000-1 2000-1
Wofford 2000-1 2000-1
Wright State 2000-1 2000-1
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