Basketball

NCAA title favorite Duke underdog vs. Kentucky

The consensus favorites to win the national championship — the Duke Blue Devils — are underdogs in their first game as the men’s college basketball season tips off.

Duke takes on Kentucky on Tuesday in Indianapolis (9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN). The Wildcats are 1.5-point favorites over the Blue Devils in the nightcap of a doubleheader that opens with top-ranked Kansas taking on the Michigan State Spartans.

While they’re underdogs to Kentucky and ranked behind the Jayhawks in the AP Top 25 poll, the Blue Devils are the favorites to win the national championship at most sportsbooks. They are listed at 4-1 to win the title at the SuperBook at Westgate Las Vegas, where more bets have been placed and more money has been wagered on the Blue Devils than on any other team.

“Duke is the favorite because they have the most appeal to the public,” SuperBook oddsmaker Ed Salmons said. “Duke, Kansas, Kentucky and Gonzaga are all so very close.”

Kansas and Kentucky are each 6-1 at the SuperBook, followed by North Carolina at 8-1 and Gonzaga at 10-1.

Defending champion Villanova was among the top tier of favorites when the SuperBook first posted its odds in April. But the Wildcats lost four NBA draft picks and are now listed at 25-1.

UCLA also has seen its national title odds lengthen significantly, going from 30-1 to 100-1.

The Nevada Wolfpack have seen their odds improve from 60-1 to 12-1.

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