Gonzaga replaced as NCAA title favorite by trio of teams

Kansas guard Ochai Agbaji celebrates after their win against North Carolina in a college basket ...

Gonzaga opened as the clear favorite last year to win the 2022 NCAA championship and kept that distinction until it was upset by Arkansas in the Sweet 16.

There is no clear front-runner to win the 2023 college basketball national title. Three teams have been installed as favorites at sportsbooks.

Kansas, fresh off its historic comeback win over North Carolina in Monday’s NCAA championship game, is the 10-1 favorite at Caesars Sportsbook to win back-to-back titles.

Duke and Kentucky are the 10-1 co-favorites at the Westgate SuperBook, where eight teams have odds of 16-1 or less to win it all.

“The parity out there is ridiculous,” Caesars assistant director of trading Adam Pullen said. “I just don’t see any team mandating single-digit odds right now.

“Kansas winning the title has a bit to do with them being the favorite here in terms of respect. They lost a lot, but they always reload with strong recruiting classes and they obviously have a great coach. They’re not an overwhelming favorite and there are some other teams that can be in that spot. But them winning it all is fresh in people’s minds.”

The Jayhawks are tied for the 12-1 third choice at the Westgate with Arkansas, UCLA and Arizona.

Duke is 15-1 at Caesars to win the title under first-year coach Jon Scheyer, who replaces Mike Krzyzewski.

“How Scheyer will be as a head coach is something that could be a factor for people, that they want to see how he fares early on before investing in Duke,” Pullen said. “It might take some time before they become believers. Duke always has the talent, and this year’s recruiting class is no different.

“It’s obviously going to be a tough act to follow, but Hubert Davis just almost won a championship in his first year at North Carolina.”

Gonzaga is 16-1 at the SuperBook after being the single-digit favorite in each of the last two years. The Bulldogs will almost certainly lose 7-foot freshman Chet Holmgren, the projected No. 1 pick in the NBA draft. It’s unclear if junior forward Drew Timme will turn pro or return to school for his senior year.

“With Gonzaga losing in the Sweet 16 after being the favorite the entire season, maybe there will be some Gonzaga fatigue,” Pullen said. “If Timme comes back, then their odds will come down a little bit. Gonzaga’s a top-notch destination for a lot of players. I still expect them to have a loaded roster whether Timme stays or goes.

“At least for this year, I’d think the days of them being the outright favorite with single-digit odds are over. But maybe bettors will tell us otherwise as the days go on.”

Houston also is 16-1 at the SuperBook, followed by North Carolina at 20-1 and Baylor at 25-1.

Michigan, Illinois, Texas and Creighton are each 30-1. Purdue, Auburn, Tennessee and Texas Tech are each 40-1.

Creighton opened at 50-1 at Caesars, which took a $2,000 bet to win $100,000 on the Bluejays to bring home the title.

Saint Peter’s, the first No. 15 seed to reach the Elite Eight, is tied for the longest shot on the board at the SuperBook at 10,000-1.

UNLV and UNR are each 1,500-1 at Caesars.

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com. Follow @tdewey33 on Twitter.