On the heels of a win over the Tar Heels in the 2022 NCAA Championship, Kansas -- led by a Hall of Famer in Bill Self and a stacked, veteran-laden returning roster -- opened at Caesars Sportsbook as the betting favorite to again cut down the nets and repeat in 2023. But as the summer months have slowly turned to fall, a new favorite has emerged to supplant KU as the favorite to take it all, with Kentucky now at the top of the odds board as the season lurks in the shadows.

Kentucky had a disappointing finish to its 2021-22 season, losing to NCAA Tournament Cinderella story Saint Peter's in a stunning first-round loss. The offseason has been very kind to UK, though. Not only did reigning national player of the year, Oscar Tshiebwe, return for another run, coach John Calipari has plugged holes in the roster in a big way by adding shooting with transfer Antonio Reeves, defense and lottery talent in Cason Wallace and Chris Livingston, and more frontcourt depth in Ugonna Kingsley Onyenso. The Wildcats' undefeated run in the Bahamas in which they throttled their competition this summer may be a preview for what lies ahead. At 8-1, they're a worthy preseason favorite largely because of their returning experience and their ability to seemingly address points of weaknesses from last season.

However, challengers abound in the wings to potentially unseat UK as the preseason frontrunner. Nine teams have odds at +2000 or better at Caesars Sportsbook. Five of them have 15-1 or better odds. Two of them -- North Carolina and Gonzaga -- are narrowly behind UK in the odds at 9-1. It's clear that while Kentucky holds the claim as the favorite, it is by a narrow margin.

That validates what I expect as we gear up for next season: the race for the title is wide-open. Some teams have better chances than others, of course, but the randomness of the NCAA Tournament and the unknowns about what teams will look like in live action can throw any expected balance off kilter. In reality, there's a whole lot of teams that could be better -- or worse -- than the odds suggest.

So let's break down the odds as they stand now with some of the best and worst bets as I see them.

Good value


Odds: 12-1

Houston went 32-6 last season and could be an even more lethal force in 2022. Marcus Sasser emanates First Team All-Badass vibes, and after his last season was cut short, he could be on a collision course with stardom based upon how strong an offseason he's said to have had. Combine that with the acumen of Kelvin and Kellen Sampson and the addition of five-star Jarace Walker, and you've got a scrappy squad set to outperform expectations -- even with those expectations being high. 


Odds: 18-1

The injury and subsequent surgery on the foot of five-star freshman Dariq Whitehead -- the No. 2 overall player in his class -- puts a dent into the prospects of what Duke will look like early in the season in the first season under new coach Jon Scheyer. But at 18-1 that feels baked in -- and maybe too baked in -- here at the cost. It's impossible to ignore just how talented a roster Scheyer will be working with this season. Whitehead isn't even the highest-rated signee -- that belongs to No. 1 recruit Dereck Lively II -- as part of a No. 1 recruiting class that should easily be considered one of only a handful of true contenders next year. 


Odds: 30-1

What if I told you that a team that ranked top-10 in postseason play last year and outperformed three of the four No. 1 seeds in that span (according to BartTorvik.com data) could be 30-1 this preseason to win it all?  Interesting, right? Then, what if I told you that team returns five of its top seven scorers, adds an elite transfer in Baylor Scheierman and has a rising star in Trey Alexander? You'd definitely be in, no? Of course you would be! Creighton is one of the better preseason bets on the board. They fall nearly into "sleeper" territory when, in reality, I think the Bluejays are just straight-up contenders with a top-10 roster entering next season. I'm all in.

Michigan State 

Odds: 60-1

Michigan is 28-1 to win it all. Michigan State is 60-1 to win it all. I 100% see these teams differently than Vegas. The Spartans will win more games and have a better team than the Wolverines this season. This is a classic case of overlook-ism of a great in Tom Izzo, who quietly returns a lot of experience and has a solid top-to-bottom roster. Give me Michigan State at 60-1 every single day, especially with Michigan's odds at 28-1 so inflated. Vegas has those teams backwards. 

Bad value


Odds: 18-1

Kansas should have a good team this season. Maybe a great one, with enough pieces to defend its crown. But . . . are we sure they're going to be playing in the postseason? Like, we're positive? I'm not sold. Its NCAA case has strung out for years but at some point they'll be punished, and a postseason ban seems like a very realistic punishment it could face. So for those reasons I think I'd just stay away from KU. No team has gone back-to-back since the great Florida teams under Billy Donovan in the early 2000s, and I don't think KU quite has the juice to do it this season after losing two first-round talents and facing the likely distraction of the looming NCAA cloud.


Odds: 20-1

I really like the odds for Arizona to win the Pac-12 (22-1 at Caesars), but I can't quite get down with its odds of winning it all. At 20-1 it's just a tad rich after losing Dalen Terry and Bennedict Mathurin to the first round and Christian Koloko, one of the best defensive bigs in college hoops, to the second round of the draft. Second-year coach Tommy Lloyd will have the Wildcats competitive and relevant with Azuolas Tubelis, Kerr Krissa and others returning to join forces with transfer Courtney Ramey and five-star freshman Kylan Boswell. It just feels like there are too many unknowns with this team -- similar to how I viewed Texas and its overhauled roster last season -- to really have confidence in them as a true contender.


Odds: 50-1

I was [puts on humble brag hat] very in on Auburn way earlier than most last season. Loved the idea of Jabari Smith and Walker Kessler in the same backcourt and thought it could be special. The Tigers then made me look smarter than I actually am, eventually earning a No. 2 seed after a strong season (though it ended in disappointing fashion). This year, though, I'm here to put a wet blanket on Auburn futures. Just don't love them this season. Kessler and Smith gone is a huge loss. Johni Broome will be a force but the incoming talent just won't quite be enough to help keep Auburn on the same level it was last season. At 50-1 I'd much rather take fliers on Alabama at the same cost or even Michigan State at 60-1. 

Ohio State lost a lot of talent to the NBA, but brings in multiple top-75 freshmen AND Bronny James may loom on the horizon. Listen below for the latest in our Summer Shootaround series and subscribe to the Eye on College Basketball podcast where we take you beyond the hardwood with insider information and instant reactions.

Odds to win 2023 NCAA Tournament

Odds via Caesars Sportsbook

Kentucky Wildcats+800
Gonzaga Bulldogs+900
North Carolina Tar Heels+900
UCLA Bruins+1200
Houston Cougars+1200
Arkansas Razorbacks+1500
Baylor Bears+1600
Duke Blue Devils+1800
Arizona Wildcats+2000
Kansas Jayhawks+2000
Tennessee Volunteers+2500
Michigan Wolverines+2800
Creighton Bluejays+3000
Texas Longhorns+3000
Indiana Hoosiers+3500
Texas Tech Red Raiders+4000
Auburn Tigers+5000
Illinois Fighting Illini+5000
Villanova Wildcats+5000
TCU Horned Frogs+5000
Alabama Crimson Tide+5000
Connecticut Huskies+6000
Michigan State Spartans+6000
Oregon Ducks+6000
Purdue Boilermakers+8000
Memphis Tigers+8000
Virginia Cavaliers+8000
San Diego State Aztecs+8000
Florida Gators+8000
Dayton Flyers+10000
Florida State Seminoles+10000
Seton Hall Pirates+10000
Xavier Musketeers+10000
Louisville Cardinals+10000
Texas A&M Aggies+10000
Miami (FL) Hurricanes+12500
Oklahoma Sooners+12500
Ohio State Buckeyes+12500
USC Trojans+12500
Virginia Tech Hokies+12500
Wisconsin Badgers+15000
Oklahoma State Cowboys+15000
Iowa Hawkeyes+15000
Syracuse Orange+15000
Colorado Buffaloes+15000
Clemson Tigers+15000
Wake Forest Demon Deacons+15000
Marquette Golden Eagles+15000
Ole Miss Rebels+20000
St. John's Red Storm+20000
Saint Mary's Gaels+20000
Missouri Tigers+20000
Richmond Spiders+20000
Loyola Ramblers+20000
Utah Utes+20000
Minnesota Golden Gophers+20000
Arizona State Sun Devils+20000
Notre Dame Fighting Irish+20000
Providence Friars+20000
Saint Louis Billikens+20000
Butler Bulldogs+25000
Maryland Terrapins+25000
LSU Tigers+25000
Vanderbilt Commodores+25000
Rutgers Scarlet Knights+25000
NC State Wolfpack+30000
Cincinnati Bearcats+30000
Washington Huskies+30000
Stanford Cardinal+30000
New Mexico Lobos+30000
Boston College Eagles+30000
Iowa State Cyclones+30000
New Mexico State Aggies+50000
Massachusetts Minutemen+50000
South Carolina Gamecocks+50000
UAB Blazers+50000
Wyoming Cowboys+50000
SMU Mustangs+50000
West Virginia Mountaineers+50000
Nebraska Cornhuskers+50000
UCF Knights+50000
Wichita State Shockers+50000
Georgetown Hoyas+50000
Kansas State Wildcats+50000
VCU Rams+50000
Mississippi State Bulldogs+50000
Iona Gaels+50000
Utah State Aggies+50000
Colorado State Rams+50000
Davidson Wildcats+50000
Tulane Green Wave+50000
Eastern Michigan Eagles+50000
Drake Bulldogs+50000
Murray State Racers+50000
Boise State Broncos+75000
Buffalo Bulls+75000
Washington State Cougars+75000
San Francisco Dons+75000
Temple Owls+75000
DePaul Blue Demons+75000
California Golden Bears+75000
St. Bonaventure Bonnies+75000
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets+75000
BYU Cougars+75000
Penn State Nittany Lions+75000
Oregon State Beavers+100000
Northern Iowa Panthers+100000
Toledo Rockets+100000
North Texas Mean Green+100000
Ohio Bobcats+100000
Georgia Bulldogs+100000
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers+100000
Northwestern Wildcats+100000
Saint Joseph's Hawks+100000
UNLV Rebels+100000
UTEP Miners+100000
Louisiana Tech Bulldogs+100000
Pittsburgh Panthers+100000
Furman Paladins+100000
Kent State Golden Flashes+100000
South Dakota State Jackrabbits+100000
Fresno State Bulldogs+100000
Rhode Island Rams+100000
Hofstra Pride+150000
Montana State Bobcats+150000
Missouri State Bears+150000
Liberty Flames+150000
Montana Grizzlies+150000
Chattanooga Mocs+150000
Belmont Bruins+150000
Tulsa Golden Hurricane+150000
Colgate Raiders+150000
Charlotte 49ers+150000
Texas Southern Tigers+200000
Boston University Terriers+200000
Coastal Carolina Chanticleers+200000
Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders+200000
Northeastern Huskies+200000
UC Irvine Anteaters+200000
Nevada Wolf Pack+200000
Eastern Kentucky Colonels+200000
Akron Zips+200000
St. Peter's Peacocks+200000
Yale Bulldogs+200000
Bradley Braves+200000
Oral Roberts Golden Eagles+200000
UNC Wilmington Seahawks+200000
Towson Tigers+200000
Charleston Cougars+200000
Delaware Fightin' Blue Hens+200000
East Tennessee State Buccaneers+200000
Cleveland State Vikings+200000
Monmouth Hawks+200000
Siena Saints+200000
Cal State Fullerton Titans+200000
Texas State Bobcats+200000
Grand Canyon Antelopes+250000
Ball State Cardinals+250000
Hawaii Rainbow Warriors+250000
Detroit Mercy Titans+250000
South Florida Bulls+250000
Illinois State Redbirds+250000
UIC Flames+250000
Pacific Tigers+250000
East Carolina Pirates+250000
Jacksonville State Gamecocks+250000
Bryant Bulldogs+250000
FGCU Eagles+250000
Bowling Green Falcons+250000
Santa Clara Broncos+250000
Harvard Crimson+250000
Drexel Dragons+250000
Princeton Tigers+250000
Vermont Catamounts+250000
James Madison Dukes+250000
Morehead State Eagles+250000
Wright State Raiders+250000
Appalachian State Mountaineers+250000
Georgia State Panthers+250000
Marshall Thundering Herd+250000
George Mason Patriots+250000
Florida Atlantic Owls+250000
North Carolina Central Eagles+500000
Niagara Purple Eagles+500000
Little Rock Trojans+500000
La Salle Explorers+500000
UNC Greensboro Spartans+500000
Air Force Falcons+500000
George Washington Colonials+500000
Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks+500000
Duquesne Dukes+500000
South Alabama Jaguars+500000
Abilene Christian Wildcats+500000
Wofford Terriers+500000
Southern Illinois Salukis+500000
Oakland Golden Grizzlies+500000
Arkansas State Red Wolves+500000
Old Dominion Monarchs+500000
Winthrop Eagles+500000
Longwood Lancers+500000
Rice Owls+500000
Portland Pilots+500000
UTSA Roadrunners+500000
Loyola Marymount Lions+500000
Northern Kentucky Norse+500000
Pennsylvania Quakers+500000
Seattle Redhawks+500000
Eastern Washington Eagles+500000
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos+500000
North Dakota State Bison+500000
Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns+500000
Troy Trojans+500000
Wagner Seahawks+500000
UT Arlington Mavericks+500000
Indiana State Sycamores+500000
Southern Utah Thunderbirds+500000
Weber State Wildcats+500000
Nicholls State Colonels+500000
UMBC Retrievers+500000
Central Michigan Chippewas+500000
Fordham Rams+500000