Gonzaga Moves to Title Favorites with Drew Timme's Return
By 11 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Gonzaga had the seventh-best odds (+1700) to win the 2023 NCAA Tournament, behind premier programs such as North Carolina, Duke, UCLA and Baylor.
Then Drew Timme posted a tweet.
I’m back— drew timme (@drewtimme2) June 2, 2022
With Timme’s announcement he’s returning to Gonzaga, the Bulldogs jumped to the top of the odds board and are the new favorites at DraftKings Sportsbook to win it all (+1000).
Timme also projects to be one of the favorites for the Wooden Award, given to the top player in the country. Last season, the forward averaged 18.4 points and 6.8 rebounds while making 58.6% of his field goal attempts.
Timme's return isn’t entirely a surprise. He was a fringe second-round draft projection, and it remains to be seen how his fundamental below-the-basket game will translate to the NBA.
Plus, with NIL, he can continue to make six figures and pursue becoming the program’s all-time leading scorer. Timme (1,521 points) just needs 675 to pass Frank Burgess’ record of 2,196.
Guards Julian Strawther (11.8 points, 5.4 rebounds) and Rasir Bolton (11.2 points, 46% from 3) also announced their intentions to return to Gonzaga, giving the Bulldogs three starters from last season’s 28-4 team.
Houston (+1000) is also tied with Gonzaga at DraftKings for the best odds to win the national title and received a boost with Marcus Sasser announcing his return to the Cougars.
Sasser averaged a team-high 17.7 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.6 assists before breaking his foot in a loss to Alabama on Dec. 11. Despite losing Sasser, the Cougars still made a run to the Elite Eight.
Gonzaga and Houston are also co-favorites to win it all on FanDuel Sportsbook but with shorter odds at +850.
More Announcements at Kentucky, North Carolina
Out of the major sportsbooks, the one that doesn’t have Gonzaga or Houston as a favorite is BetMGM, which lists the Kentucky Wildcats with the shortest odds at +1000.
The Wildcats bring back the consensus national player of the year in forward Oscar Tshiebwe, who announced his return to Kentucky in April.
Tshiebwe averaged 17.4 points, 15.1 rebounds and recorded 28 double-doubles, including 16 straight to end the season. He is the first Wooden Award winner to return to college since North Carolina’s Tyler Hansborough in 2008.
Jacob Toppin and Sahvir Wheeler also announced they are coming back to the program, and the Wildcats are also bringing in two heralded recruits.
The addition of five-star prospects Carson Wallace and Chris Livingston bolsters Kentucky's case as one of the national title favorites.
More Odds Movement Coming?
The decision to withdraw or remain in the NBA Draft has passed, but some key moves still have to be made in the transfer portal that could affect the odds board.
Former Northwestern forward Pete Nance withdrew from the NBA Draft but will remain in the transfer portal. The versatile forward averaged 14.6 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.1 blocks.
The top prize in the portal is Chatanooga guard Malachi Smith. The former five-star recruit averaged 19.9 points 6.7 rebounds, led the Mocs to a Southern Conference title and NCAA berth and was named the Southern Conference Player of the Year. Smith has been linked as a favorite to Gonzaga, which could boost the Bulldogs’ odds once again if he does commit.
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