Experts Say There Are At Least 20 Teams That Could Win The NCAA Tournament This Year

The Gonzaga Bulldogs remain the favorites to win the 2022 NCAA Tournament, with Selection Sunday three weeks away. The Zags went to the final last year but fell short at the final hurdle, losing to the Baylor Bears in what was a pretty shocking show of defensive dominance by the now defending champs.

Nevertheless, Gonzaga is tipped to go all the way this year, though there are 20 teams thought to be within a shot of walking away from March Madness triumphantly – at least that’s how oddsmakers and handicappers see it.

According to Caesars Sportsbook assistant director of trading Adam Pullen, the upcoming tournament is as wide as it’s been in years and there are at least 15 teams who have a chance to cut the nets down by the end of it all.

“This is the most wide-open tournament in years,” he said, per Reviewjournal.com. “There are just so many good teams. Gonzaga’s definitely the top dog, but I can see 15 teams that have a shot of winning the title.”

The Bulldogs lost some top talent to the NBA but retained Drew Timme and have paired him up with another NBA-bound prospect in Chet Holmgren. Guard Julian Strawther is also having a great season in the backcourt, averaging 12.6 points and 5.8 rebounds for last year’s championship game entrants.

Westgate SuperBook oddsmaker Ed Salmons rates the Zags pretty highly yet reckons they aren’t as good as the team that lost to Baylor a year ago. He claims there are 20 teams who are in the mix for a trophy.

“Gonzaga plays to the highest power rating. But I don’t think this year’s team is as good as last year’s team,” the bookie says. “But that doesn’t mean this year’s team can’t win. I feel like there’s 20 teams that can win this year if things go their way.”

The SuperBook has 26 teams with odds below 100-1 and 11 attached to odds of less than 20-1 where March Madness betting is concerned.

The Kentucky Wildcats, Arizona Wildcats, and Auburn Tigers are all at 8-1. The Tigers, who are 18/7/1 against the spread have seen odds tighten from 100-1 earlier in the season – Arizona has seen theirs go down from 20-1.

“Of the top contenders, Auburn is definitely our biggest liability,” Pullen remarked. “When you have a team that starts out with high odds and starts playing well, people are going to back them early and take the shot that they’ll continue that progression.”

Gonzaga is the bookies’ favorite, as well as bettors’ favorite. Caesars has already received a $30,000 bet that would pay out half of that sum if the Bulldogs were to win this time around. Kentucky is second in money and tickets at Caesars and a six-figure liability at BetMGM, who had them open at 25/1.

“Several times this season I’ve watched Kentucky and thought this is the best team in the country,” Goldsheet.com handicapper Bruce Marshall noted. “Oscar Tshiebwe is one of the best rebounding forces I’ve ever seen in college basketball. I’ll take Kentucky as long as they’re healthy.”

UCLA is the current ticket leader at SuperBook, having lost to Gonzaga in the Final Four last season. Handicapper Brian Edwards believes in the Bruins as a 27-1 bet, which could be had at Circa Sports.

“Mick Cronin’s team at 27-1 is extremely attractive to me,” he was quoted as saying. “The Bruins have a tournament-tested roster that’s added a quality rim protector in Rutgers transfer Myles Johnson. They have a veteran point guard in Tyger Campbell. Johnny Juzang is an elite scorer who can carry a team to victories in tight games.

“The Bruins will probably be a No. 3 seed if they can finish strong.”

He also likes Alabama for a more profitable 64-1 at Circa.

“Alabama has been the nation’s biggest Jekyll-and-Hyde squad this season. But a 64-1 price makes Nate Oats’ bunch worth a small play,” he added. “The Crimson Tide have wins over Baylor, Houston, Gonzaga (in Seattle) and Tennessee.”

Marshall likes Arkansas, who has been placed alongside 100-1 odds at Caesars and Miami, 150-1 at Circa, for longshot odds

Arkansas has been pretty poor from long range for most of the season but Stanley Umude sank six threes in a win over Missouri on Tuesday. And, Marshall suggests that, should the guard get hot and get teammates going, the Razorbacks could become a difficult opponent in the tournament.

“If Umude gets hot, and one of the other guys starts to connect, that changes everything, and this team becomes a threat to go to the Final Four,” he said.

“I like Miami a lot,” he continued. “They’ve been winning on the road. This is (coach Jim) Larranaga’s last great shot this year.”

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