The college basketball season begins on Tuesday, and it feels like it's really snuck up on us this year. We're still a few weeks away from conference play beginning, but any college basketball is good basketball. College basketball has been impacted by the pandemic, so the hope for a "normal" season brings excitement.
The usual schools are receiving love in the betting market heading into the season. Players come and go in this sport, but it always seems like the same schools are near the top of the rankings. Which schools are receiving the most betting action heading into the regular season?
Michigan is the most popular bet
Michigan has established itself as one of the best teams in the country. They were the best team in the Big Ten during the regular season last year, posting a 20-4 record. They were a No. 1 seed in the tournament and made it to the Elite Eight before falling to UCLA.
Preseason expectations are high again for Michigan, as they are ranked sixth in the AP poll and they are ranked second by KenPom. Both rankings have the Wolverines as the best team in the Big Ten. They're a +250 favorite to win the conference at BetMGM.
No team has received more betting action than the Wolverines during the preseason. Nearly 10% of tickets are on Michigan to win the national championship. Preseason odds at BetMGM give Michigan the second best odds to win it all at 12-to-1.
Gonzaga has the most money bet on it
While Michigan might be a solid pick, the Gonzaga Bulldogs are the clear favorites to win the title. Gonzaga currently has +600 odds to win it all.
Since the 2016-17 season began, Gonzaga has just three conference losses in the West Coast Conference. Two of those seasons saw them go undefeated in conference play. Last season, Gonzaga went 26-0 during the regular season and they were awarded the number one overall seed. They made it to the national championship before losing to Baylor.
Preseason rankings are high on Gonzaga. They're ranked first by both KenPom and the AP poll. Drew Timme returns, and he's a +700 favorite to win the Wooden Award. Chet Holmgren is the No. 1 prospect in the 2021 class and projects as a top-five pick in next year's NBA draft.
Gonzaga has received just 8.4% of the bets, but 23.6% of the money wagered is on Gonzaga to win the title at +600 odds.
Other popular choices
Two other blue-blood programs are getting a lot of attention in the preseason betting market.
Kansas has received both the second-most bets and second-most money of any school in the country. The Jayhawks are ranked third by KenPom and in the AP poll. In a rare turn of events last year, Kansas didn't win the Big 12. They were a No. 3 seed in the tournament but lost to UCLA in the Round of 32. Remy Martin, a transfer from Arizona State, looks to lead the charge. Kansas sits at 14-to-1 to win the national championship.
Duke will be a storyline all season long. This will be legendary coach Mike Krzyzewski's final season for the Blue Devils. It was a very rare bad season for Duke last year, as it didn't even qualify for the tournament. Despite the poor performance last year, Duke has received the third-largest betting handle prior to the season. A lot of the hope for a turnaround lies in the hands of freshman Paolo Banchero. Banchero sits at +700 to win the Wooden Award, which makes him a co-favorite. Duke sits at 14-to-1 to win the title.