Dan Karpuc: North Carolina (+1200 at Caesars)
The defending national runner-up has not gotten off to a dominant start, but that’s perfectly fine with me because their odds are still long enough to take advantage of. Caleb Love, Armando Bacot and R.J. Davis are among the best trios in college basketball and, most importantly, all have NCAA tournament experience that should give them a leg up when the time matters most. Northwestern transfer Pete Nance (fifth-year senior) and senior Leaky Black are also getting big minutes for Hubert Davis. In today’s game, I absolutely love all of the upperclassmen contributors in this program. It’s still very early, but I expect this is the last time we are going to get a price like this on the Tar Heels.
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Lucy Burdge: Gonzaga (+1300, FanDuel)
Through the first couple weeks of this college basketball season, I still think Gonzaga has a great chance to win the national championship. They’re 3-1 now and coming off a sizeable win over Kentucky. They’ve never won a national championship, but they have been to the Final Four twice and have made it to every NCAA tournament since 1999. Back in the AP top 10, I wouldn’t rule them out to dominate again this season and finally win it all.
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When the confetti settles next April, I think it's Baylor cutting down the nets for the second time in three seasons, possibly even getting revenge on UNC in the title game for knocking them out of last year's tournament. After winning the national title in 2021, the Bears (27-7, 14-4 in Big 12 last season) ran into a red-hot Tar Heels team on its way to the national title game. That loss to UNC, especially after an improbable comeback, will fuel an experienced Baylor team to make another deep tourney run this season. That team, which finished first in the Big 12, will return top scorers LJ Cryer and Adam Flagler, along with super-sleeper Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua, and will add NBA lottery prospect Keyonte George. Scott Drew has all the pieces he needs to make it back to the Final Four (and win) in 2023, so grab these +1600 odds while you can; they're as low as +1100 at other books, making this look like an even better value.
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