March Madness 2022: Odds to Win the NCAA Basketball Championship

Eddie Griffin

Last season, Baylor ascended to the top of men’s college basketball for the first time, dashing Gonzaga’s hopes of an undefeated championship season. It was an NCAA Tournament unlike any other before, but March Madness still delivered its usual thrills.

The most memorable of those thrills came in the Final Four at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, where Jalen Suggs, now plying his trade in the NBA with the Orlando Magic, nailed a buzzer-beating three to end UCLA’s Cinderella run and send Gonzaga to the championship game.

In less than a month, a new champion will be crowned at Caesars Superdome in New Orleans, where this year’s Final Four will be held. Will there be a new champion, or will the Bears pull off the repeat?

Here’s a look at the current odds to win the national championship, courtesy of BetMGM. Who will cut down the nets on April 4?

Odds to Win the 2022 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament (as of Wednesday, March 9)

  • Gonzaga +375
  • Arizona +600
  • Kentucky +800
  • Duke +1000
  • Baylor +1100
  • Purdue +1200
  • Auburn +1200
  • Kansas +1400
  • Villanova +2000
  • Texas Tech +2200
  • UCLA +2500
  • Illinois +2500
  • Arkansas +4000
  • Houston +4000
  • Tennessee +4000
  • Wisconsin +5000
  • Texas +5000
  • Iowa +5000
  • Ohio State +6600
  • Alabama +6600
  • UConn +6600
  • Providence +6600
  • Michigan +8000
  • Michigan State +8000
  • Memphis +8000
  • LSU +8000
  • USC +8000
  • North Carolina +10000
  • Marquette +10000
  • Saint Mary’s +12500

NCAA Tournament odds are from BetMGM.

Will We See a Baylor-Gonzaga March Madness Rematch?

Could we have a championship game rematch? With Gonzaga and Baylor both in line for #1 seeds and among the leading March Madness favorites, a rematch come April 4 could be in the cards if the bracket lines up the right way.

Reloaded Bulldogs in Line for Top Overall Seed for Second Straight Season

As Selection Sunday approaches, Gonzaga remains the favorite to win the title. The Bulldogs are the top-ranked team in the country and also sit atop the NET rankings, and with another WCC Tournament title, should lock down the top overall seed for the NCAA Tournament.

The Bulldogs lead Division I in scoring and are either at or near the top of the charts in several other categories. After losing lottery picks Suggs and Corey Kispert and starting guard Joel Ayayi, Mark Few and the Zags are in the mix again, led by Drew Timme (and his exquisite mustache) and fantastic freshman Chet Holmgren, who is, highlights like these speak for themselves.

Reigning Champs Poised for More March Magic Despite Offseason and In-Season Losses

Baylor also had to retool after losing lottery pick Davion Mitchell, leading scorers Jared Butler and MaCio Teague, and defensive stalwart Mark Vital, who is now trying to build a career in the NFL as a tight end with the Kansas City Chiefs.

But the Bears started 15-0 and moved to the top of the national rankings, and they weathered the loss of leading rebounder Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua to land a share of the Big 12 regular season title.

While their approach to winning is different, both teams have a similar makeup: veterans who have developed in the program, transfers, and at least one stud freshman.

Both teams have the talent to make a run all the way to the title, but a rematch would be the rarest of March Madness occurrences. The last time the championship game had the same matchup in consecutive seasons was in 1961 and 1962, when Cincinnati met–and beat–Ohio State for the tilte in back-to-back years.

Speaking of rare occurrences, it might be wise for bettors to avoid Baylor when making their March Madness futures bets. Since UCLA’s record run of seven straight titles from 1967 to 1973, there have been only two repeat champions: Duke in 1991 and 1992, and Florida in 2006 and 2007.

In fact, since the end of that UCLA run, only four defending champions have returned to the title game the following year: Duke, Florida, Kentucky (won in 1996, lost in 1997), and Georgetown (won in 1984, lost in 1985).

So, March Madness history is stacked against Baylor. But the Bears are certainly equipped to make a run to New Orleans, as is Gonzaga.

Who Is the Best Bet to Win the 2022 NCAA Tournament?

Gonzaga (+375)

When Gonzaga routed Texas and UCLA early on, it seemed like another undefeated regular season might be on the cards. Then in the span of three games, they lost to Duke, struggled to put away Tarleton State, and gave up 91 points in a loss to Alabama.

But after that loss to the Crimson Tide, the Bulldogs reeled off 17 wins in a row. That streak ended with a loss at Saint Mary’s in their regular season finale, but they made up for it by downing the Gaels to win the WCC Tournament on Tuesday night.

Here’s a look at Gonzaga’s profile with March Madness on the horizon.

2021-22 Season Profile for Gonzaga

  • National Rankings: #1 AP, #1 Coaches
  • NET: #1
  • KenPom: #1
  • Points Per Game: 87.8 (1st in Division I)
  • Field Goal Percentage: 52.7% (1st in Division I)
  • Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 2nd
  • Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 7th

Gonzaga is the only team in Division I that ranks in the top ten in both offensive and defensive efficiency at KenPom. They are second only to Purdue in offensive efficiency but are fourth in tempo and second in average possession length. When they are at their best, they are ruthless. And that ruthlessness has been on display often this season.

The big question is if this team can do what the 2017 and 2021 teams could not do and scale the final March Madness hurdle. Their WCC Tournament championship win over Saint Mary’s might have provided a positive indication.

Gonzaga 2022 WCC Tournament March Madness
Top-ranked Gonzaga won the 2022 WCC men’s basketball tournament with an 82-69 win over rival Saint Mary’s.

In the loss to the Gaels Timme and Holmgren were limited to just 12 combined points, and the rest of the team could not pick up the slack. And in the rematch, their two leading scorers were again held in check, combining for only 18 points.

But this time, Andrew Nembhard (19 points, seven assists), Rasir Bolton (18 points), Julian Strawther (16 points), and Anton Watson (10) more than picked up the slack to help see off Saint Mary’s.

Gonzaga mostly relies on those six players, though freshmen Nolan Hickman and Hunter Sallis can contribute as well.

2021-22 Season Statistics for Gonzaga’s Top Players

  • Drew Timme: 17.5 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 2.7 APG
  • Chet Holmgren: 14.2 PPG, 9.6 RPG, 1.8 APG, 3.6 BPG
  • Julian Strawther: 12.3 PPG, 5.5 RPG
  • Andrew Nembhard: 11.7 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 5.7 APG, 1.6 steals per game
  • Rasir Bolton: 11.2 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 2.6 APG, 46.7% 3PT
  • Anton Watson: 7.7 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 1.9 APG, 1.3 SPG

Ultimately, their three losses could be a huge help for their March hopes, dreams, and plans. They don’t enter the NCAA Tournament with the pressure of trying to close out an undefeated season. Also, they know their strengths and weaknesses well and know they can’t win by just showing up.

This team will also enter the NCAA Tournament with a few more tests under their belt than last year’s team.

Last season, Gonzaga bullied and bulldozed most of their opponents on the way to the title game. Until their Final Four win over UCLA, the Zags’ only single-digit contest was a five-point win over West Virginia in their third game of the season. They have certainly steamrolled plenty of teams this season as well, but they have been tested more.

Will that knowledge propel them to long-awaited March Madness glory?

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