The Vols are among elite company when it comes to odds to win the national title for the upcoming 2018-19 basketball season.
Bovada recently updated their odds for the 2019 National Championship in basketball, and Tennessee got a little bump even before they landed four-star center D.J. Burns in their 2018 class. Tennessee’s odds improved from 30/1 back in April to 28/1 odds now, and that’s good enough for the 11th-best odds among all college basketball teams.
Duke currently has the best odds at 11/2, and they’re followed by Kansas at 8/1 and Villanova at 9/1 odds. Gonzaga and SEC rival Kentucky come in tied at No. 4 with 10/1 odds.
The only other teams ahead of the Vols are North Carolina (12/1), Virginia (15/1), Nevada (22/1), and Michigan and Michigan State (25/1). The Vols are second among SEC teams, trailing only Kentucky and coming in just ahead of Auburn with 30/1 odds.
The hype surrounding the 2018-19 men’s basketball team is potentially the highest it’s ever been for Tennessee’s basketball program. Tennessee has earned several early top 5 preseason rankings by various outlets and analysts, and for good reason. The Vols return all their starters from last season, including SEC Player of the Year Grant Williams and First Team All-SEC forward Admiral Schofield, and they’ll have most of their bench intact from last year as well, including SEC Co-Sixth Man of the Year Lamonte Turner. Not to mention head coach Rick Barnes won the SEC Coach of the Year last season and was a finalist for the national Coach of the Year award as well.
Tennessee was picked to finish 13th out of 14 teams in the SEC last season, but instead they went 26-9 overall and won a share of the SEC regular season title along with Auburn. The Vols also made it to the SEC Tournament Final and earned a three-seed in the NCAA Tournament, making it back to the Big Dance for the first time since 2014.
Barnes and his Vol squad will have their work cut out for them in terms of scheduling, however. Not only has the SEC as a whole continued to improve, but Tennessee’s non-conference schedule is full of talented teams once again.
The Vols will face Memphis on the road and play Gonzaga on a neutral court in Phoenix. Tennessee will also host West Virginia, Georgia Tech, and Wake Forest. And just like last year, the Vols will be playing in a prestigious early season tournament. This year their possible opponents include Kansas, Louisville, and Marquette.
Despite the tough schedule, Bovada clearly likes the Vols’ chances of having another stellar season. And they’re not that far off from the leaders in terms of odds to win the national title this season.