March Madness 2022: The Betting Favorites
March Madness 2022 has begun.
It all started when the bracket was revealed on Sunday. Now, the annual NCAA Basketball Tournament known by many as “March Madness” is set to get underway later Tuesday evening, as eight of the 68 eligible teams will go to battle to earn a spot in the official knockout bracket.
There are tons of underdog prospects on the futures market that could generate huge profits for bettors, but today, the focus is going to remain on the big boys of the event. Here is a look at the betting odds for the championship favorites and what they are bringing to March Madness.
Gonzaga (+300 to Win March Madness 2022)
Gonzaga is the overwhelming betting favorite heading into the tournament. 44.6% of Yahoo Sports bracket-fillers picked Gonzaga to win the national title last season, a prediction that came close but ultimately missed as the Baylor Bears defeated the Bulldogs 86-70 in the final game.
This year’s iteration of the Bulldogs is centered around a star frontcourt pairing of Drew Timme and Chet Holmgren, both of whom are in the running for National Player of the Year honors. This team won 19 of its last 20 games en route to a 26-3 record and beat the team that they lost to during this stretch, Saint Mary’s, in the West Coast Conference Tournament Final. They excel on both ends of the court, are well drilled, and combine fundamentals with elite talent.
The Pacific-12 Conference was a surprise in last year’s tournament and ultimately walked away with more revenue ($38.7 million) than any other conference. This year, it will be led by the number-one seed Arizona Wildcats, a 31-3 ball club that stormed its way to a conference title, beating UCLA in the final.
This is one of the more balanced teams in the field and is designed to have fail-safes, even if they are being outplayed in multiple areas. Their lone championship win came in 1997, and they have not reached the Final Four since 2001 when they ultimately finished as the runner-up. If Bennedict Mathurin can continue to score at an elite level, the team’s ability defensively and on the boards is sure to carry them deep into the bracket.
The Wildcats have been a favorite of college basketball pick ’ems, although not during the nationwide gambling era. Ever since a 2018 court decision reversed a ruling that restricted gambling to Nevada, Kentucky has been eliminated in the Round of 32, Sweet 16, and Elite Eight, a far shot off of their Final Four appearances in 2015, 2014, 2012, and 2011; the Wildcats won one national title and finished as runner-up once during that stretch.
The Wildcats are commanded by veteran coach John Calipari and big man Oscar Tshiebwe, whose ridiculous 17-point, 15.1-rebound average could be argued as the best stat line in America. The Wildcats will likely have to defeat Jaden Ivey and Purdue, as well as the winner of a sneakily tough Texas-Virginia Tech matchup to even make the Elite Eight, but more importantly, they will probably have to knock off Gonzaga to reach the tournament final.
No, the Auburn Tigers are not here, nor are the Baylor Bears or Duke Blue Devils; instead, bracket-fillers and bet-placers will find the Kansas Jayhawks, who are hoping to overcome their stigma of being a regular-season wonder with a new and improved squad. Kansas received two $50,000 bets just before the bracket was officially revealed, one at 14-to-1 for the Jayhawks to win the title, and another on them to reach the Final Four.
Kansas won the Big 12 Tournament courtesy of Ochai Agbaji, the team’s leading scorer and best player, as well as David McCormack, one of four Jayhawks averaging double-digit scoring. Kansas plays up-tempo and shoots the ball tremendously well, relying on its athleticism even when it cannot manufacture the most open looks.