If you have concerns about Tennessee basketball given Rick Barnes’ track record with expectations and the NCAA Tournament, that’s understandable. However, if you’re looking for a steal in the betting markets, the Vols are a great opportunity.
This past week, WynnBET released its national championship odds for the 2022-23 college basketball season. The Vols’ title odds are tied for 12th best nationally at +3000 with the Michigan Wolverines, Texas Longhorns and Texas Tech Red Raiders.
Among the teams ahead of Tennessee basketball are two SEC schools, the Kentucky Wildcats and Arkansas Razorbacks. Every team above them is a +2000 or worse, and nobody brings worse than +1000 odds. Taking that into account, there are no really bad bets here.
However, +3000 odds when you consider the other teams on this list is a huge deal. Only three schools ahead of the Vols have head coaches who have won national championships: Kentucky with John Calipari, the Baylor Bears with Scott Drew and the Kansas Jayhawks with Bill Self.
However, Calipari only has one and has drastically underachieved in the Big Dance. Drew’s one title came during the wild COVID season, so it comes with a bit of an asterisk. Self is the defending national champion, but given his success in the regular season, he has also underachieved in the tournament for his career.
Taking that into account, yes, Barnes struggles in the tournament, but he’s got as good a chance as anybody on this list. When you look at the combination of players he’s developed and talent coming in, you have to have faith in him.
Five-star Justin Edwards is as good a recruit as any. Tyreke Key is a great pickup in the transfer portal. Jonas Aidoo and Uros Plavsic should develop more. Add in the return of Josiah-Jordan James, Zakai Zeigler and Santiago Vescovi along with Olivier Nkamhoua getting healthy, and the Vols already have a great core.
As a result, betting on Tennessee basketball to win the national championship could come with an amazing payout. They probably aren’t the most likely to win it, but very few teams on this list have better odds than them, as they should be top 10 caliber.