It has been two years since Villanova won its second NCAA Basketball Championship, and 33 years since winning their first, but oddsmakers like their chances to cut down the nets this year at the culmination of March Madness 2018. The Wildcats are currently a 5/1 favorite to win its third title.
The team from Pennsylvania has company atop the sportsbook boards. Duke is also listed at 5/1. The Blue Devils have five championship trophies and odds makers like their chances to win a sixth.
Unlike in college football, where Alabama was the favorite to win from preseason to the final game, a couple of schools have already been tabbed the first pick to win in basketball. Kentucky was the early choice at 10/1 soon after the end of March Madness.
Michigan State was the odds-on favorite at 9/2 in November, but has since slipped to 7/1, ceding the top spot to Villanova and the Duke.
Winners on Court, at Window
The reason Villanova has moved up with the Blue Devils is because of its 17-1 record. They were the last major college team to be undefeated and were No. 1 in the Associated Press Top 25 poll four of the first 10 week of the season.
Its only loss came Dec. 30 when they were taken down by unranked Butler on the road, 101-93. That resounding defeat in the eighth week of the season caused voters to drop them to third in the poll.
Losses by Michigan State and Duke the following week allowed the Wildcats to jump back into first where they have stayed the last three weeks. In the most recent poll they garnered all but two of the first-place votes.
The Jay Wright-coached team has also proven to be a good pick for gamblers. They are currently on a three-game winning streak against the spread and in all those contests were double-digit favorites.
The squad is 13-6-1 against the spread so far this season, and of those 13 wins, nine came in games where the spread was 10 or more points.
Seven of Villanova’s 11 games are against Big East opponents they have already faced. Of those seven they covered the spread in four of them.
One piece of news that could impact the team as they begin the second half of conference play and the NCAA Tournament happened on Tuesday when the team’s fourth-leading scorer was sidelined indefinitely. Phil Booth suffered a broken bone in his shooting hand and will be in street clothes for the foreseeable future.
The team was not sure how long he would be out but his absence will definitely hurt the team. Booth was logging at least 20 minutes a game for the Wildcats and averaging 11.6 points.
It is not sure how the team will react to not having him but they get their first test on Sunday when they travel to Marquette. They hosted the Golden Eagles nearly three weeks ago and won, 100-90, but did not cover the 16-point spread.