Tuesday's game between the Kentucky Wildcats and Duke Blue Devils is a potential national championship preview, according to the early-season betting odds.
Bleacher Report Betting shared Bovada's odds to win the 2018-19 national championship, and the Wildcats and Blue Devils are the favorites to take home the title at +500 (bet $100 to win $500). Two non-power conference teams check in at third and fourth, respectively, with Nevada at +800 and Gonzaga at +850.
Kentucky and Duke may be the favorites to win the national title in Las Vegas, but Kansas was ranked No. 1 in the initial Associated Press Top 25 poll even though it had just the fifth-best championship odds. Kentucky, Gonzaga and Duke are Nos. 2, 3 and 4, respectively, in the AP poll.
That Kentucky and Duke top the list is notable because they also top the recruiting rankings for incoming freshmen. According to 247Sports, Mike Krzyzewski landed the top 2018 class for the Blue Devils, while John Calipari's Wildcats were second.
Kentucky will thrive with freshmen such as Tyler Herro, EJ Montgomery and Keldon Johnson, but it also has experienced leadership in Stanford transfer Reid Travis and PJ Washington. Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett headline Duke's recruiting class and will surely draw the attention of NBA scouts throughout what could be their only collegiate seasons.
Playing each other so early will give both the Wildcats and Blue Devils the opportunity to put a top-notch win on their resumes well before Selection Sunday and measure themselves up against the best the nation has to offer.
As for Nevada, it is coming off a Sweet 16 run that included victories over Texas and Cincinnati before a one-point loss to tournament darling Loyola-Chicago. Caleb and Cody Martin will anchor the offense and look to bring the school its first national championship.
Gonzaga is also looking for its first national championship after reaching the title game, Elite Eight and two Sweet 16s the past four years. It will be tested in the nonconference schedule against the likes of Texas A&M, Illinois, Washington, Tennessee and North Carolina as it looks to bolster its resume before WCC play.