Blue Devils, Spartans deadlocked atop National Championship odds
The Duke Blue Devils have opened the college basketball season in impressive fashion, recording dominating wins over Elon and Utah Valley, but find themselves with company atop the college basketball championship odds where they are joined by the Michigan State Spartans as +400 co-favorites.
Duke emerged as the midsummer favorite to claim its first national championship since 2015 after top recruit Marvin Bagley committed to the Blue Devils in August. Bagley fulfilled high expectations in his Duke debut last weekend, scoring 25 points in a 97-68 win over Elon as 19.5-point home chalk to establish a new record for points scored by a freshman in his Blue Devils debut.
However, Nagley and his teammates face their first real test of the season when they battle the Spartans in a matchup at the United Center in Chicago on Tuesday night.
The Spartans are coming off a disappointing campaign last season that saw them lose 10 of their final 19 contests including a 90-70 loss to Kansas as 7.5-point underdogs in the second round of March Madness. But after sophomore guard Miles Bridge elected to stay in East Lansing for another season, Michigan State quickly emerged as a favorite to earn its first national title since 2000.
The Arizona Wildcats closely trail the favorites at +600 on the national title odds, just ahead of the Kentucky Wildcats at +800, while the Jayhawks join the Missouri Tigers at +1600.
Arizona finished last season with a 32-5 overall record and claimed its third Pac-12 regular season title in four years with a 16-2 conference record. The Wildcats have averaged 102 points per game in early-season victories over Northern Arizona and UMBC, but disappointed at the sportsbooks, failing to cover in each of those contests.
Arizona’s regular-season success has also failed to translate into success at March Madness, where it has failed to advance past the Sweet Sixteen the past two seasons, and has not reached the Final Four since its last national championship win in 1997.
Kentucky has become a fixture in the Final Four in recent years, appearing four times since 2011 including its national championship win in 2012, but has come away with a pair of uncomfortably narrow wins to start the new campaign. The Wildcats failed to cover as 12.5-point chalk in a 73-69 win over Vermont after topping Utah Valley 73-63 as 20-point chalk in their season opener.
Leading the middle of the pack, Wichita State joins USC at +2000, ahead of Villanova, which sits level with Florida at +2200. The defending-champion North Carolina Tar Heels trail at +2500, well ahead of last season’s runner-up Gonzaga, which lags at +6600.
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