Elite 8 2019 Odds: Gonzaga Replaces Zion Williamson, Duke as Title Favorites

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistMarch 30, 2019

Duke forward Zion Williamson (1) reacts to a referee's call during the second half of the team's NCAA men's college basketball tournament East Region semifinal against Virginia Tech in Washington, Friday, March 29, 2019. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Alex Brandon/Associated Press

After a couple of close calls early on in the 2019 men's NCAA tournament, Zion Williamson and the Duke Blue Devils are no longer the favorites to cut down the nets in Minnesota on April 8.

The Gonzaga Bulldogs (+280) now have the best odds entering the Elite Eight:

Duke has been fortunate to escape upset bids in each of the last two rounds, needing both UCF and Virginia Tech to miss point-blank shots in the final seconds of their respective games in order to keep its season alive. 

However, it's worth noting that the Blue Devils are 29-2 with a healthy Williamson and have not lost in the six games since he returned from a knee injury March 14. They have had three one-possession games during that span, but they have found a way to win each one.

The name of the game is survive and advance—and that's exactly what Duke has done of late. But Vegas hasn't been impressed.

Meanwhile, Gonzaga has lost just once in its last 25 contests. The Bulldogs have won their three NCAA tournament games by an average of 21.3 points, with no matchup being decided by fewer than 12 points.

It's also worth noting that Duke has to go up against Michigan State—which the selection committee ranked sixth overall—in the Elite Eight, while Gonzaga will take on Texas Tech, a three seed.

The Virginia Cavaliers (+325) have the third-best odds as the only other No. 1 seed remaining. The Kentucky Wildcats (+600) have the best odds of any non-top-seeded team.

The Auburn Tigers (+1800) have the lowest odds of any team in the Elite Eight despite coming off an incredible performance against No. 1 North Carolina. The Tigers made 17 three-pointers in a 97-80 victory over the Tar Heels on Friday. Auburn faces Kentucky in Kansas City in the Midwest Regional final on Sunday, with the Wildcats sweeping the regular-season series.

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