The 2018 NCAA title game was still hours away from tipoff Monday when the Westgate sports book posted odds on the 2019 champion.
Duke opened as the 5-1 favorite, followed by Villanova, Kansas and Kentucky at 8-1.
“Most of it is based on what teams have coming back and recruiting,” Westgate sports book manager Ed Salmons said. “A lot of these teams, like Duke and Kentucky, usually have the best recruits, even though they lose a lot. Duke had three of the top four recruits. They should be loaded next year.
“Villanova seems to be the program now where it keeps reloading. Kentucky is a little different because a lot of their one-and-done players aren’t good enough to go to the NBA so they have to go back to school for another year. It could actually benefit them and give them some experience Kentucky teams usually don’t have.”
North Carolina is 12-1 and Gonzaga, Virginia and Michigan State are each 15-1.
“It’s the usual suspects up there every year,” Salmons said.
The Westgate listed odds on 190 of the 353 Division I college basketball teams. Loyola-Chicago, which wasn’t initially listed in last year’s odds, is 500-1.
“I listed more teams because of them this year,” Salmons said. “If anyone wants a team not listed, I’ll just add them to the pool.
“If you really know what you’re doing, you’ll find a lot of value. This is probably the best time of the year to find value.”
UNLV is 300-1 to win it all.
Half million on Michigan
A William Hill bettor placed a $500,000 money-line wager on Michigan on Monday at plus 290 over Villanova that would pay $1.45 million.
Last Man Standing
An unidentified bettor won $51,350 as the single winner of Station Casinos’ college basketball Last Man Standing contest. The bettor went 9-0 ATS, picking a winner on each of the first nine days of the NCAA Tournament to outlast a field of 2,525 entries. The contest cost $25 per entry or five for $100.
Fittingly, the field was whittled down to four for the Final Four. Dave Tuley of VSiN.com was one of the final four contestants, but lost his pick of Kansas plus 5½ points in Saturday’s national semifinals.
According to Sunset Station sports book director Chuck Esposito, it was only the second time since 2007 that the contest wasn’t decided by the tiebreaker, which is the national champion pick.
The Westgate opened Anthony Joshua as a minus 200 favorite over Deontay Wilder (plus 170) in a potential heavyweight boxing match. The fight must take place before Dec. 31, 2019 for action.
Joshua won his fourth world title Saturday night in beating Joseph Parker by unanimous decision.