The Villanova Wildcats got great news last week when Collin Gillespie and Jermaine Samuels announced they would return for a fifth year.
Pennsylvania online sportsbooks immediately took notice moving Villanova Wildcats’ odds to win the 2022 National Championship from +2200 to +900.
At online sportsbooks DraftKings, BetRivers and Barstool, Villanova is the favorite to win the 2022 National Championship. However, some sports betting apps have the Wildcats at +1200 so, as always, it pays to shop around.
Gillespie’s injury hurt Villanova odds
During their penultimate regular season game against Creighton, Gillespie suffered a torn MCL. Then-No. 10 Nova saw their odds for a National Championship immediately shift. The Wildcats’ odds for a National Championship went from +1400 to +2000. Their chances to make the Final Four moved from +200 to +400.
In their first-round game of the 2021 NCAA Tournament against No. 12 Winthrop, bettors leaned heavily not only for Winthrop (+6.5) to cover but to beat the No. 4 seed Wildcats outright. Villanova beat Winthrop and North Texas but lost in the Sweet 16 to eventual national champion, Baylor. It marked fifteenth trip to NCAA tournament and the seventh time Jay Wright has led his team to the Sweet Sixteen.
Villanova losing to the eventual champs or hoisting the hardware themselves is something to watch for in March.
- 2021: Lost to champion (Baylor) in Sweet 16
- 2018: Won the championship
- 2016: Won the championship
- 2014: Lost to champion (UConn) in the second round
- 2009: Lost to champion (UNC) in the Final Four
- 2008: Lost to champion (Kansas) in the Sweet 16
- 2006: Lost to champion (Florida) in the Elite 8
- 2005: Lost to champion (UNC) in the Sweet 16
Two key pieces return for Villanova for fifth season
During the Wildcats National Title in 2018, Gillespie played a big role off the bench and has been a starter the past three years. The senior point guard went on social media on April 12 to announce he would take advantage of the extra year of eligibility.
“Since my injury and over the last few months supporting my teammates from the sidelines, I have had much time to think about my future. I have received valuable feedback and have had many conversations with my family and the coaching staff allowing me to make a confident decision regarding this upcoming season.
“With that being said, I am going to take advantage of this extra year and come back to Villanova! It is going to be a blessing to put the Villanova uniform on for one last year and play for such an amazing university! I am very excited to get fully healthy again and continue to grow as a player, student and person. And lastly to my brothers. Run it back!”
On the same day, Samuels also announced his intentions to return.
“There is nothing like playing Villanova basketball, wearing that V on my chest and playing for my teammates and coaches.”
Villanova’s way-too-early 2021/2022 outlook
In early April, former Villanova forward Cole Swider transferred to Syracuse. Gillespie and Samuels could have forfeited the chance to return for their “super senior” season and instead entered the NBA Draft. The pair arrived at Villanova together and Samuels told The Athletic that once Gillespie decided to come back, his choice was easy.
Gillespie averaged 14.4 points and 4.7 assists last season. Doctors say he will be 100% recovered from his knee injury by the end of June according to The Athletic.
Samuels averaged 12.0 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.5 assists last season. Wright’s teams aren’t afraid to let it fly from beyond the arc and Samuels shot for a career-high 37.1 % from 3-point range. And he put up those numbers while playing with a sprained finger all season.
However, not all the “big cats” are returning to the Main Line. Last week, Jeremiah Robinson-Earl announced he will enter the 2021 NBA draft and forego a chance to return to Villanova. He started all 56 games in his two seasons at Nova, averaging 12.8 points and 9.0 rebounds per contest. Robinson-Earl earned co-Big East Player of the year honors (with Gillespie) in 2020-21.
Currently, it looks like four of the five starters for Villanova will return.
2021-2022 NCAA Basketball odds
Right after Baylor won the 2021 National Championship, William Hill released its 2021-2022 college basketball national championship futures.
The two teams in the title matchup found themselves at the top of the board with Gonzaga at +550 and Baylor at +850.
Despite disappointing seasons for powerhouses Duke and Kentucky, they had the fourth- and sixth-best odds.
“I’d say +550 is lower than usual for a favorite when we release this,” said Nick Bogdanovich, Director of Trading for William Hill. “But Gonzaga has been so consistent and even if they lose a few of their top players, you figure they’re going to reload.”
“You’d think Duke (+1500) and Kentucky (+1800) are going to rebound, it seems like they always do after a down year,” Bogdanovich said. “They each have monster classes lined up. I’d say those prices are in the neighborhood for where they usually open up at.”
Opening National Championship futures odds put Villanova at +2200 at William Hill.
Here’s a look at the early “Top Ten” for the 2021-2022 NCAA basketball season in terms of odds:
(odds via FanDuel)
- Gonzaga +850
- Michigan +1100
- UCLA +1100
- Villanova: +1200
- Alabama: +1500
- Ohio State: +1500
- Purdue: +1500
- Duke: +1800
- Kansas: +1800
- Arkansas: +200
Shopping odds for Villanova
Right now for college basketball, PA sports betting apps only have a market available for betting on the winner of the 2022 National Championship. As November approaches, more markets will be posted.
Online sportsbooks that use Kambi as its odds provider all have Villanova +900 and favorites to win the National Championship. A look across the sportsbooks at championship odds for Villanova:
- BetMGM: +1600
- FoxBet: +1400
- Barstool: +900
- BetRivers: +900
- Unibet: +900
- DraftKings: +900
DraftKings also lists Villanova at +200 to make the Final Four in 2022.
Lead image credit: AP Photo/Mike Conroy