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2019 NCAA Tournament odds: Duke edges Villanova as the early favorite to win national championship

The Villanova Wildcats won their second national championship in a span of three years on Monday night, but they aren’t the Vegas favorite to repeat in 2019. According to Las Vegas oddsmakers at Westgate, the Duke Blue Devils are the betting favorite at 5-to-1 odds, followed by Villanova, which has the second best odds at 8-to-1.

Kansas, which comes in at No. 1 in the way-too-early CBS Sports Top 25 (and one) for next season, also shares the same odds of Villanova at 8-to-1, as does Kentucky.

Duke is losing the core of its roster from the team that advanced to the Elite Eight, including Marvin Bagley and Grayson Allen. But the Blue Devils are set to re-load in 2018, with a No. 1 ranked recruiting class led by three of the top overall prospects in R.J. Barrett, Cameron Reddish and Zion Williamson. The No. 9 ranked player, point guard Tre Jones, is also a part of the dynamically talented incoming freshman class.

Despite the second best odds among the field, Kansas may be the team that opens the season at No. 1 in the preseason. The Jayhawks lose seniors Devonte’ Graham and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, but Memphis transfers Dedric and K.J. Lawson, along with Cal transfer Charlie Moore, could set up Self to replicate his Final Four run that came to a halt on Saturday.

Kyle Boone

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