Which team do you think will cut down the nets at the end of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament? The public has been making its picks all week long, and it has led to some interesting results when you look at the national title betting splits provided by DraftKings Sportsbook.
The Gonzaga Bulldogs, the tourney’s No. 1 overall seed and the betting favorite to win it all, has received the largest portion of the handle (19%) and the bets (13%) to take home the title. This is no surprise. The Bulldogs have the perfect blend of talent, experience and coach to finally reach the March Madness mountaintop.
However, Duke is right behind them in the betting splits, receiving 10% of the handle and 10% of the bets. This is clearly a case of people favoring a brand name in spite of reality. The Blue Devils, tournament staples for more than 30 years, have a bunch of future NBA players on their roster. But that group has not played up to its potential in weeks. Their defense has faltered terribly, and this young squad might be feeling the pressure of trying not to let down Mike Krzyzewski in his final season. Duke does not look like a team that can reach the Elite Eight right now, much less the title game.
The UCLA Bruins, the No. 4 seed in the East Region, are a savvy choice to win the championship. They are receiving 4% of the bets and the handle. They haven’t met preseason expectations, but over the past month, the Bruins have been one of the 10 best teams in the country, according to Torvik metrics. The key members of last year’s First Four-to-the-Final Four squad are still here — Johnny Juzang, Jaime Jaquez, Tyger Campbell, coach Mick Cronin — so it’s not difficult to envision UCLA becoming regional champs for the second straight tournament.
Although the top 10 below contains three No. 2 seeds, it is interesting that the Villanova Wildcats didn’t make the cut. They have a fantastic tournament coach in Jay Wright, a big-time playmaker in Collin Gillespie and have lost only once since Feb. 3. And that loss was a two-point defeat at UConn, so no shame there. Villanova sits among the top 30 teams in offensive and defensive efficiency, according to KenPom, and should not be overlooked as the No. 2 seed in the South Region.
Here is a list of the betting public’s top 10 national title favorites:
2022 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament national title splits, March 17
- Gonzaga (+300): 19% handle, 13% bets
- Duke (+1600): 10% handle, 10% bets
- Kentucky (+800): 8% handle, 7% bets
- Arizona (+700): 7% handle, 6% bets
- Kansas (+850): 7% handle, 5% bets
- Purdue (+2000): 6% handle, 6% bets
- Auburn (+1200): 5% handle, 6% bets
- UCLA (+1800): 4% handle, 4% bets
- Baylor (+1200: 4% handle, 4% bets
- Tennessee (+1400): 3% handle, 2% bets
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