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Duke, not Villanova, is early Vegas favorite to win 2019 NCAA tournament

Villanova claimed its second national title in three years on Monday night in San Antonio, but one sportsbook is already looking ahead to the 2019 season.

As the Wildcats put the finishing touches on their 79-62 victory over Michigan, Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas released its national championship odds for next year. Villanova is tied for the second-best odds, but is behind Duke, who was tabbed as a 5-1 favorite to win it all. Villanova is listed at 8-1 alongside Kansas and Kentucky.

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Next is North Carolina at 12-1, followed by Michigan State, Virginia and Gonzaga at 15-1. Other odds include Michigan and Oregon at 20-1, Auburn, West Virginia and UCLA at 30-1 and Florida, Texas Tech and Wichita State at 40-1.

All six of Villanova’s NCAA tournament victories came by double-digits, and Jay Wright’s team should be one of the best in the country once again even if juniors Mikal Bridges and Jalen Brunson declare for the NBA draft as most expect.

Title game hero Donte DiVincenzo, big men Omari Spellman and Eric Paschall, and guard Phil Booth are all expected to return. Nova also has three heralded recruits joining the roster, including five-star guard Jahvon Quinerly and sharp-shooting forward Cole Swider.

But Villanova’s recruiting haul does not come close to that of Duke’s. Even with as many as three or four freshmen moving on to the NBA (Marvin Bagley III has already declared), Mike Krzyzewski has four five-star recruits — R.J. Barrett, Cameron Reddish, Zion Williamson and Tre Jones — replenishing the roster. Barrett, Reddish and Williamson are rated as the top three 2018 prospects by Rivals.com. Jones is not far behind, coming in at No. 8.

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Sam Cooper is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!

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