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Oddsmaker sets Kentucky, Duke and Wisconsin as 2014-15 title favorites

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

With the deadline for players to enter the NBA draft having passed Sunday the online gaming site Bovada released updated national championship odds for the 2014-15 college basketball season.

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It probably won't surprise anyone who the favorite is.

Kentucky opens at 5/1 odds because it returns six of its top eight players from this past season and adds another star-studded four-man recruiting class. The Wildcats began the 2013-14 season as preseason No. 1 but underachieved during an 11-loss regular season before salvaging their season with a memorable run to the national title game.

Duke (9/1), Wisconsin (12/1) and Kansas (14/1) are the next three leading contenders. The Blue Devils add the nation's best recruiting class headlined by center Jahlil Okafor, the Badgers return all but one key player from a Final Four team and the Jayhawks replace Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid with talented freshmen Kelly Oubre and Cliff Alexander.

If anyone is looking for an interesting wager, there are a handful of teams that seem undervalued.

Arizona will miss Nick Johnson's scoring and leadership and Aaron Gordon's athleticism and versatility, but between the arrival of decorated wing Stanley Johnson and the return of the rest of last year's rotation, the Wildcats probably should be better than 16/1 odds. Wichita State also seems low at 28/1 considering the Shockers will boast one of the nation's best backcourts in Fred VanVleet, Ron Baker and Tekele Cotton.   

One other darkhorse worth considering is defending national champ UConn, which opens at 66/1. Yes, the Huskies caught fire at the right time in March and yes, they lose Shabazz Napier and DeAndre Daniels, but the return of Ryan Boatright and the arrival of NC State transfer Rodney Purvis and top recruit Daniel Hamilton give them plenty of perimeter firepower to make another run.

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Jeff Eisenberg is the editor of The Dagger on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at daggerblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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