The Kansas Jayhawks’ men’s basketball team enters the Kansas sports betting era with prime odds to their name, a year after the program brought home its fourth national title to Lawrence.
Coach Bill Self’s bunch is currently listed at +1400 to win it all again in 2023 on BetMGM Sportsbook, giving them the best odds of any previous national champion since the Villanova Wildcats in 2016.
Those Wildcats entered the year with +1250 odds to win it all again, but ultimately were bounced out of the 2017 Men’s Basketball Tournament in the second round.
Fast forward to 2022, and the Jayhawks are looking to cash in on the increased buzz around college sports in the Sunflower State that has come from Kansas mobile betting apps and retail wagering going live in September.
Six Defending Champs Had Better Odds
In total, six defending national champions since the 2009-10 season have kicked off their title defense with better betting odds than the Jayhawks and the Wildcats: The 2015-16 Duke Blue Devils (+950), the 2013-14 Louisville Cardinals (+800), the 2012-13 Kentucky Wildcats (+1200), the 2010-11 Blue Devils (+500), and the 2009-10 UNC Tar Heels (+700).
Of those half-dozen programs, only the 2010-11 Blue Devils, 2013-14 Cardinals, and the 2015-16 Blue Devils reached the Sweet 16 in their title defense campaigns.
None of the previous six made it further than that, delineating a high-wire act for Self and company to clear in the year ahead. Still, with Kansas as one of the established blue bloods in college hoops, they should make a strong bid.
KU opens its 2022-23 season on Nov. 7 against Omaha but will do so without Self and assistant Kurtis Townsend, who will each serve four-game suspensions to start the season. According to reports, the Jayhawks will also serve some recruiting restrictions in the wake of an FBI investigation into corruption. Self will be eligible to return for the Nov. 23 game against North Carolina State.
BetKansas.com broke down the Jayhawks’ odds entering their quest for a fifth national title, along with where other Division I programs in the Sunflower State (Kansas State and Wichita State) stand entering the year. This chart shows the defending champion, preseason odds as of early November at BetMGM Sportsbook Kansas, and the round of their exit in the that ensuing season’s NCAA Tournament, if they qualified.
Preseason Odds for Recent Defending National Champions
KU Jayhawks Look to Start Anew in 2022
KU must replace last year’s leading scorer, guard Ochai Agbaji, after he was picked by the Utah Jazz in the 2022 NBA Draft.
Luckily for Kansas, Jalen Wilson, the leading rebounder on last year’s team at 7.4 per game, returns. And junior guard Dajuan Harris Jr. looks to improve on his team-high 4.2 assists per game.
The Jayhawks, tied for fifth in the preseason Associated Press poll, begin their season at Phog Allen against Omaha, then face North Dakota State on Nov. 10, as KU looks to gain footing ahead of a showdown against No. 7 Duke on Nov. 15.
It appears the oddsmakers at BetMGM expect the quartet to hold their own, with the Jayhawks among the favorites to hoist the hardware in Houston come April.
September sports betting revenue in Kansas, the first month of the state’s legal, regulated market, was $1.279 million on handle (or amount wagered) of more than $160 million. Those figures are sure to rise as more folks sign up for accounts, and by March Madness the interest should be peaking.
Kansas State, Wichita State Face Long Title Odds in 2022-23
Kansas’ other two D1 men’s basketball programs face daunting seasons, with Kansas State breaking bread under new coach, Jerome Tang, while Wichita State rolls it out in the third year of the Isaac Brown era.
The Shockers and Wildcats both enter then 2022-23 season with +25000 odds to win the NCAA championship. That’s tied with more than a dozen teams as of Thursday, alongside the likes of Clemson, Washington State, Mississippi State, St. John’s and Cincinnati.
Wichita State looks to make it back to the Big Dance for the first time since 2021 and past the first weekend of the event for the first time in six years come March.
K-State, meanwhile, hasn’t made it to March Madness in three seasons, last doing so in 2019, and last making it to the Sweet 16 in 2018.
K-State Wildcats Have New Coach
The Wildcats enlisted the services of Tang, who for two decades was an assistant coach at fellow Big 12 power, Baylor.
Tang replaces Bruce Weber, who retired in March after going 184-147 (.556) in Manhattan and is tasked with resuscitating a program that’s gone 23-40 in its previous two seasons.
Brown has found success during his two seasons in Wichita, going 16-6 as the interim guy in 2020 after previous coach Gregg Marshall resigned six games into the 2020-21 season.
The Shockers backslid a bit in 2022, going 15-13 and missing on both the NCAA Tournament and NIT.
Wichita State and Kansas State enter the season with more question marks than answers, though we should know more about both teams’ postseason odds once the schedule tips off in November.
The Wildcats face the likes of California (Nov. 11), Butler (Nov. 30), and Nebraska (Dec. 17) during the non-conference portion of the schedule, with the first two coming on the road and the third taking place in Manhattan.
The Shockers, meanwhile, square off against Missouri at home on Nov. 29, before heading to Manhattan to play Kansas State on Dec. 3 in a game that ESPNU will televise nationally.
After that intrastate showdown, Wichita State closes out its non-conference slate with home games against Oklahoma State (Dec. 17) and Texas Southern (Dec. 22), getting them prepared for the opening stretch of the American Athletic Conference season.
Whether the Jayhawks, Shockers or Wildcats will bring the hardware home to the Sunflower State in 2023 remains to be seen, though one certain thing is that the best Kansas sportsbook promos can be found at BetKansas.com whoever your betting preference resides.
For now, at least the trio of in-state squads have some sense of momentum entering the opening stretch of the college basketball season.