The NCAAB season got started on November 7th, which means the race to the Final Four in Houston is underway for the March Madness tournament of 2023.
Kansas lost a strong collection of talent from its national-championship squad, which means there is likely to be a new champion who cuts down the nets in April.
We'll take a look at the favorites to be crowned champions plus a few long shot options too, to see if we can earn you some extra value and cash on your bets with our best free NCAAB picks.
|2023 NCAAB National Championship
|North Carolina Tar Heels
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NCAAB National Championship Favorites
Below you’ll find a list of the teams favored to win in the NCAAB national championship in 2023.
Gonzaga Bulldogs - (+900)
The Bulldogs were the consensus top team in 2022 but fell short of the title yet again when they lost in the Sweet 16 to Arkansas rather shockingly.
Timme is back for one final run at the school’s first national championship, but Chet Holmgren departed for the NBA after one season and guard Andrew Nembhard also was selected in the 2022 draft, leaving them much changed.
Gonzaga is almost always guaranteed to be among the top seeds in the NCAA tournament as the class of the West Coast Conference.
Coach Mark Few always has his team in the hunt for the championship, and it’s only a matter of time until Gonzaga ultimately cuts down the nets so they're a great value bet at +900.
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North Carolina Tar Heels - (+900)
The Tar Heels opens 2022-23 as the No. 1 team in the nation and are many people's favorites, making them a great bet immediately at this price.
UNC nearly pulled off a miracle run to the title, but blew a 16-point championship-game lead in its loss to Kansas last year.
The team's only loss playing-wise was sharp-shooting big man Brady Manek to graduation, but he’ll likely be replaced by 6’11 Northwestern transfer Pete Nance, who actually was a better 3-point shooter than Manek last season statistically.
Coach Hubert Davis should be more seasoned in his second full year at the helm. Plus, it helps to have talent and experience in the form of Bacot plus guards Leaky Black and Caleb Love.
Check out our review for BetOnline sports betting here.
Houston Cougars - (+900)
Houston lost four starters from the squad that came just short of the Final Four last season. Despite that, the Cougars return leading scorer and AAC Preseason Player of the Year Marcus Sasser and Rookie of the Year Jarace Walker.
Houston is well-coached by Kelvin Sampson and opened the season as the third-ranked team in the country. The last non-Power Six program to win the national championship was UConn, which also came from the AAC.
But the Cougars are loaded and should be among the favorites when the NCAA tournament tips off in March, but they're likely to fall just short once again after so much change.
Kentucky Wildcats - (+1200)
The Wildcats had their championship aspirations dashed on the tournament’s first day by St. Peter’s, which took that momentum and ran to the East regional final. Kentucky then lost eight players, four transfers, and two NBA prospects in TyTy Washington and Shaedon Sharpe.
Still, John Calipari‘s team should be contenders this season thanks largely to Tshiebwe and four incoming five-star recruits. The only question is if the Wildcats can deliver in the one-and-done NCAA tournament.
Chemistry is usually the most important thing in those tournaments, and with no win since 2019 it's probably a year too soon for Kentucky to cut the nets down.
Baylor Bears - (+1200)
Baylor lost three regulars from the team that entered the NCAA tournament as the top seed, including Jeremy Sochan.
But with coach Scott Drew bringing in five-star freshman Keyonte George and transfers Jalen Bridges and Caleb Lohner, joining a stacked core of returners headlined by senior guard Adam Flagler, the Bears should be one of the favorites to win the Big 12 and be a top seed come NCAA tournament time again.
NCAAB Picks: Long shots
Villanova Wildcats (+4000)
The lone 2022 Final Four team outside the top 11, the Wildcats will start a new era after Jay Wright surprisingly announced his retirement earlier this year.
The Wildcats program may suffer a dip since Wright won two national championships and was among the elite programs in college basketball. His players are still on the roster though and know what it means to represent this team, so they can't be ruled out.
Plus, coach Kyle Neptune was Wright’s top assistant until his one season at Fordham last year which makes him uniquely qualified to lead the Wildcats, and although winning a title in Year 1 is unlikely.
The odds are big enough for a flutter though if you think this fairytale has some legs to it.
Virginia Cavaliers (+4000)
UVA has only played in one NCAA tournament game since winning the 2019 national championship but returns all five starters from the team that won 21 games in 2021-22. Plus, the Cavaliers are well-coached by Tony Bennett.
It should also be noted that the ACC should be relatively weak aside from North Carolina, which will give UVA a chance to win some games but also measure itself against arguably the top team in the country.
Given their talent, odds, and coach, UVA is worth a look.