DraftKings is listing Gonzaga as the +250 favorite, slightly ahead of Baylor at +275. The Michigan Wolverines (+450) have closed the gap between the top two of late, but then the line jumps all the way to +900 on the Illinois Illini, the only other school with a betting line shorter than +1000.
The Big Three
The Zags have held forth as the No. 1 team in the AP top-25 rankings all season long. They’re also atop the KenPom ratings and the No. 1 offense in the country. Over the past five NCAA Tournaments, Gonzaga has made two Sweet 16s, two Elite Eights, and one title-game appearance. But the Bulldogs have never won March Madness.
Baylor is No. 2 in the overall KenPom rating. The Bears are third overall in offense, but just 32nd in defense. Playing in the rugged Big Ten, which features three of the top five teams in the nation and four of the top 10, Michigan is getting it done at both ends of the court. The Wolverines rank fourth on offense and sixth on defense.
The Next Three
Bettors seeking a bit longer odds might want to take a hard look at Illinois. Recent winners over Michigan, the Illini rank No. 3 in the AP top 25. They’re seventh overall in offense and sixth on defense.
Another Big Ten squad worthy of consideration are the Iowa Hawkeyes (+1500). Ranked fifth in the nation, the Hawkeyes rate out to the second-best offense in college basketball.
Could a school win national titles in football and basketball in the same season? That’s what the Alabama Crimson Tide (+1300) are seeking to accomplish. The Tide gets the job done with stout defense, rating fourth in the NCAA in that department.
An Outside Chance
The Houston Cougars (+2000) are an intriguing bunch. Ranked seventh in the AP poll, Houston shows as the ninth-best offense and defense according to KenPom.
Ohio State (+1500) and Villanova (+2500) are great offensive teams, but suspect on the defensive side of the ball. The Buckeyes are the No. 4 attack, while the Wildcats rate eighth. However, both Villanova (55th) and Ohio State (80th) are way down the list when it comes to making stops.On the flip side, Loyola-Chicago (+4500) is the nation’s top defense, but just 50th overall on offense. Could another magical run be in store for the Ramblers, who made the Final Four as an 11 seed in 2018?