Betting Insights: Kentucky’s National Championship Odds


Feb 28, 2023

Don’t look now, but the Kentucky Wildcats may be catching fire at the perfect time. They have won four straight games and have finally found themselves safely into the NCAA Tournament’s projected field.

Can head coach John Calipari continue to right the ship and bring the program to another deep run in March? We look at Kentucky’s odds of cutting down the nets in April and if they are worth backing in the National Championship market.

National Championship Movement (Last Week, Current)
  • Kansas +1200 –> +800
  • UCLA +1300 –> +1000
  • UConn +2200 –> +2000
  • Kentucky +5000 –> +4000

Just over two weeks ago, Kentucky was staring down disaster. Following an embarrassing road loss to SEC cellar-dweller Georgia, fans were calling for Coach Cal to be fired, and the program was looking like it was going to miss the NCAA Tournament for the second time in three years.

Since then, they have reeled off four consecutive victories, with three coming against projected NCAA Tournament teams, including completing a season sweep against Tennessee.

Filtering over the past two weeks using T-Rank at, Kentucky has been the best team in the nation over that span. The Wildcats entered the season with the fifth-highest-ranked recruiting class in the country and a returning National Player of the Year in Oscar Tshiebwe.

The talent is clearly there, and Coach Cal is finally getting his team to fire on all cylinders, with conference tournament play just a week away.

Things are improving the most on the offensive end. After putting up 80 points just once – against struggling Georgia – in their first 14 SEC games this season, Kentucky has done so in back-to-back games. Their most recent was a blowout victory over the Auburn Tigers, a top-20 defense in the country, per KenPom.

Tshiebwe’s presence down low as a bowling ball of dynamism as both a scorer and rebounder is well-known by even the most casual college basketball fans. Star point guard Cason Wallace is a less familiar name that folks should become accustomed.

The freshman can do it all out of the backcourt, averaging 11.9 points, 3.6 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 2.0 steals, and 0.5 blocks. He can create for himself or others and is a defensive stopper. It’s no wonder most mock drafts have him projected as a first-round pick in April’s NBA Draft.

An added boost for the Wildcats could come with the return of guard Sahvir Wheeler from an ankle injury ahead of the NCAA Tournament. In the 21 games he’s played, the senior has accumulated the 28th-highest assist rate in the nation and is a true facilitator that Kentucky would love to have back in time for the postseason.

One player who has turned it up over the past month that can be correlated to Kentucky’s success is freshman forward Chris Livingston. The Akron native averaged just 5.3 points and 2.9 rebounds per game on 44 percent shooting from the floor in his first 23 games.

He has averaged 10.5 points and 6.5 rebounds in his past six outings on 50 percent shooting. If he can maintain this level of play, it’s an added weapon that Coach Cal did not have earlier in the season and can make the Wildcats a deeper, more dangerous team come March.

Get all-in on the Wildcats before the market and the public catch up on their remarkable improvement.

Odds Courtesy BetMGM Sportsbook

Thumbnail photo via Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports

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