The latest Associated Press Poll saw a fifth team reach the top spot this season, with the Auburn Tigers claiming the No.1 berth for the first time in the school’s history.
The poll rarely works hand in hand with the bookmakers’ odds on the favorites, however. And, while the Tigers have gone 15 games unbeaten, they have multiple teams ahead of them on most betting sites for March Madness.
In any case, we take a look at the top five teams in the poll and their odds of winning the National Championship at the end of the season.
1. Auburn – 15-4 ATS
Opening Odds: +4000
Current Odds: +1200
The Tigers have made it to the top spot of the rankings in the national polls for the first time in the history of the program, having won 18 of their first 19 games.
Auburn has gone on a 15-game winning streak since losing to No.20 UConn in November, beating LSU, Alabama, and Kentucky along the way.
Freshman Jabari Smith has been playing quite spectacularly as he leads the team in scoring with an average of 15.7 points per game. The run has seen the Tigers’ title odds close from +4000 to +1200 since the beginning of the campaign.
2. Gonzaga – 9-7-1 ATS
Opening Odds: +500
Current Odds: +650
The Gonzaga Bulldogs are the favorites to win it all this season following their disappointing trip to the finals last year. The Zags have won eight games on the bounce and have put up more than 100 points in three of their last four yet have still dropped from the top spot in the rankings.
Their step down the poll hasn’t affected the bookies’ odds and they continue to move forward as the overall favorites in the nation. Drew Timme has been his usual formidable self and the Bulldogs were pretty fortunate to get him back for another year. He has formed a great frontcourt partnership with freshman center Chet Holmgren, who has tallied double digits in 13 of the last 15 games while showing his stuff as a rim protector and averaging 3.4 blocks a game.
3. Arizona – 11-5-1 ATS
Opening Odds: +4000
Current Odds: +1500
The Arizona Wildcats have benefitted from some incredible play from Bennedict Mathurin. The projected lottery pick is averaging 17.5 points and 6.1 rebounds per game while his team has built up a 16-1 record that has prompted numbers of 11-5-1 against the spread.
Azuolas Tubelis, a sophomore forward, is the team’s second-leading scorer on the team, averaging 15.1 points a game and also averages 6.1 rebounds per contest. He was made to miss the Wildcats’ last game with California and whether he will play the upcoming game is unknown.
The Wildcats only dropped a game to No.18-ranked Tennessee but have a difficult period coming up as they will have to play Pac-17 rivals, the UCLA Bruins, twice in 10 days. They will hope to have Tubelis ready for those games.
4. Baylor – 11-7-1 ATS
Opening Odds: +1600
Current Odds: +1000
The Bears shocked the nation when they won the National Championship last season but it will be no surprise if they do it again this time around. The team was dealt consecutive losses on the back of a 15-game unbeaten streak, with Texas Tech and Oklahoma State responsible for losses in games they had been projected to win by double digits. They have since bounced back with a pair of wins over West Virginia and Oklahoma.
They continue to get great scoring production from four players who have been averaging double digits. LJ Cryer is having a great second college year, leading the team in scoring with an average of 13.9 points per game while shooting 47.5 percent from beyond the arc, which ranks him seventh overall in the nation in such regard.
Freshman Kendall Brown has come in to help the Bears forget they’ve lost championship-caliber talent to the pros, shooting 64.8 percent from the field.
Meanwhile., Baylor has some tough matchups inbound as they’re to play Alabama, Kansas, and Texas Tech on the road.
5. Kansas – 8-10-1 ATS)
Opening Odds: +2500
Current Odds: +1400
The Kansas Jayhawks are the only top-five team that has a losing ATS record for the season. They’ve gone 5-1 straight up over the last six contests but 1-5 against the spread.
They stayed true to their form on that front when they stuck around to beat Texas Tech in overtime on Monday night, failing to cover as 7.5 home favorites.
They’ve been getting great numbers from Ochai Agbaji too. The senior guard ranks 12th in the country when it comes to shooting from beyond the arc at 45.8 percent and averages 20.4 points a game. Junior guard Christian Braun is the only other player on the team who averages double digits, at 15.3 points per game, lending to the worries.
The Jayhawks will need more players to step up if they are to have any chance of beating Baylor and Texas Tech to the Big 12 Championship and making a run during March Madness.