UConn men may no longer be No. 1 in rankings, but they’re still betting favorites for national title

Move over, Houston and Purdue.

UConn may no longer be No. 1 in the AP Top 25 poll, but bettors still believe the defending national champions are the favorite to take home the title again this season.

Despite dropping to No. 3 after a loss at Creighton last week, UConn is still the betting favorite on sites like FanDuel, BetMGM, Odds Shark, and ESPN BET.

The Huskies have the shortest odds on all four of those sites, coming in at +475 on ESPN BET, BetMGM and Odds Shark, and +550 on FanDuel. They’re followed by Purdue (+650 BetMGM, +700 ESPN BET, +750 FanDuel, +800 Odds Shark), and Houston (+700 FanDuel, +700 ESPN BET +800 Odds Shark, +950 BetMGM).

The Cougars (24-3) have the longest odds of the three despite taking over the No. 1 spot in the AP poll on Monday. Purdue (25-3) also jumped UConn in the poll, checking in at No. 2 despite a loss to Ohio State that week.

Bettors are no doubt influenced not only by this season, but the fact that UConn ran through the NCAA Tournament with ease last spring, winning six games by a near-historic margin of victory.

Looking to become the first repeat national champion since 2007, UConn has the exact same record (25-3) through 28 games as the last back-to-back champ, Florida in ’07. The back-to-back champion before that, Duke, lost a total of two games in 1992, finishing 34-2.

Whatever the national title odds, it’s clear that it’s become a three-team race for the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament.

“I think if you look at Houston, UConn and Purdue, numerically, a virtual tie for the No. 1 overall seed,” ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi said on the network’s College Basketball Live show. “We’ve never seen this this late in the season. If they all win out, Houston’s wins will break the tie in their favor, followed by Purdue, followed by UConn.”

Lunardi said Houston would get the most Quad 1 win opportunities between now and Selection Sunday, thus having the best resume, however marginal the difference, in the eyes of the Selection Committee.

Does it matter if UConn doesn’t get No. 1 overall seed in NCAA Tournament?