2021 NCAA Men's Tournament Opening Betting Odds - How are Oddsmakers Projecting the Opening Round?

SI Gambling insider Frankie Taddeo dissects the opening betting odds ahead of the start of the 2021 NCAA men's tournament
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Have you signed up to become an SI PRO subscriber? Members are coming off a very profitable week from the NCAA conference championships. 

Alabama (+220), Illinois (+375) and Georgia Tech (+2500) all delivered with big conference tournament championships in the SEC, Big Ten and ACC respectively. Notably, SI PRO members were alerted to the Georgia Tech odds as early as Sunday, March 7 before oddsmakers adjusted to +1000 and even lower in Las Vegas. 

Members have already been alerted to early plays for the start of the NCAA men's tournament, including the First Four game between Michigan State and UCLA. Join today and start beating the books with us!

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For sports bettors, Selection Sunday is the equivalent to experiencing Christmas Day in March. Living in New York for over 30 years, going to school in Philadelphia and now living and working in Las Vegas for over a decade, I’ve learned that March Madness is as much a staple as Broadway shows, Pat's or Geno's cheesesteaks or the Bellagio fountains.

Neighborhood bars will offer box pools, while every office will host their company’s bracket challenge. Wild team names like: Bookie Killer, Patty Odds, Juice, Undertaker, Big Slick and Mush will emerge among bracket challenge entries; looking for betting glory and bragging rights. 

Before filling out your office pools, it is imperative to see what the oddsmakers are saying in Vegas in regards to the betting lines on each individual game. Many times, the higher seeded team is actually considered a favorite according to the oddsmakers, despite being considered an "upset" on the bracket.

Can Gonzaga continue their undefeated season and emerge victorious with the school’s first NCAA national championship? Who will be this season’s Cinderella team? Which No. 5 seed is most vulnerable according to the oddsmakers?

We will have full betting breakdowns of all the sharp action from Vegas and beyond for the opening weekend later this week, but with the opening lines just released, here are the odds and matchups to know!

Note: This year there will be no travel as all games will be played at multiple sites within the state of Indiana and in addition the tournament will tip-off on Friday (March 19) as opposed to the traditional commencement on Thursday afternoon.

NCAA Tournament First Four - Thursday, March 18

NOTE - Odds are subject to change

Odds Courtesy of CIRCA Sports (Las Vegas, Nevada)

No. 16 Texas Southern (-1) vs. No. 16 Mount St. Mary's (134.5)

5:10 p.m. EST - truTV - Assembly Hall

No. 11 Drake (+2) vs. No. 11 Wichita State (139.5)

6:27 p.m. EST - TBS - Mackey Arena

No. 16 Norfolk State (PK) vs. No. 16 Appalachian State (136.5)

8:40 p.m. EST - truTV - Assembly Hall

No. 11 Michigan State (-1.5) vs. No. 11 UCLA (138.5)

9:57 p.m. EST - TBS - Mackey Arena


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NCAA Tournament Round of 64 - Friday, March 19


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SOUTH REGION

No. 1 Baylor (-24.5) vs. No. 16 Hartford (142.5)

3:30 p.m. EST - truTV - Lucas Oil Stadium Unity (South)

No. 8  North Carolina (-1) vs. No. 9 Wisconsin (139.5)

7:10 p.m. EST - CBS - Mackey Arena

No. 5 Villanova (-6.5) vs. No. 12 Winthrop (137.5)

9:57 p.m. EST - TNT - Farmers Coliseum

No. 4 Purdue (-8) vs. No. 13 North Texas (126.5)

7:25 p.m. EST - TNT - Lucas Oil Stadium Equality (North)

No. 6 Texas Tech (-4.5) vs. No. 11 Utah State (132.5)

1:45 p.m. EST - TNT  - Assembly Hall

No. 3 Arkansas (-8.5) vs. No. 14 Colgate (157.5)

12:45 p.m. EST - truTV - Bankers Life Fieldhouse

No. 7 Florida ('PK) vs. No. 10 Virginia Tech (137.5)

12:15 p.m. EST - CBS  - Hinkle Fieldhouse

No. 2 Ohio State (-17) vs. No. 15 Oral Roberts (154.5)

3:00 p.m. EST - CBS - Mackey Arena


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MIDWEST REGION

No. 1 Illinois (-21) vs. No. 16 Drexel (144.5)

1:15 p.m. EST - TBS - Farmers Coliseum

No. 8 Loyola Chicago (-2) vs. No. 9 Georgia Tech (128.5)

4:00 p.m. EST - TBS - Hinkle Fieldhouse

No. 5. Tennessee (-9) vs. No. 12 Oregon State (136)

4:30 p.m. EST - TNT - Bankers Life Fieldhouse

No. 4 Oklahoma State (-8) vs. No. 13 Liberty (146.5)

6:25 p.m. EST - TBS - Farmers Coliseum

No. 6 San Diego State (-2) vs. No. 11 Syracuse (137.5)

9:40 p.m. EST - CBS - Hinkle Fieldhouse

No. 3 West Virginia (-10.5) vs. No. 14 Morehead State (140.5)

9:50 p.m. EST - truTV Lucas Oil Stadium Unity (South)

No. 7 Clemson (+2) vs. No. 10 Rutgers (133.5)

9:20 p.m. EST - TBS - Bankers Life Fieldhouse

No. 2 Houston (-18) vs. No. 15 Cleveland State (135.5)

7:15 p.m. EST - truTV - Assembly Hall

NCAA Tournament Round of 64 - Saturday, March 20

WEST REGION

No. 1 Gonzaga vs. No. 16 Norfolk State / Appalachian State

9:20 p.m. EST - TBS - Bankers Life Fieldhouse

No. 8 Oklahoma (-2) vs. No. 9 Missouri (141.5)

7:25 p.m. EST - TNT Lucas Oil Stadium Equality (North)

No. 5 Creighton (-8) vs. No 12. UC Santa Barbara (140.5)

3:30 p.m. EST - truTV - Lucas Oil Stadium Unity (South)

No 4. Virginia (-10) vs. No. 13 Ohio (132.5)

7:15 p.m. EST - truTV - Assembly Hall

No. 6 USC vs. No. 11 Wichita State / Drake

4:30 p.m. EST - TNT - Bankers Life Fieldhouse

No. 3 Kansas (-11) vs. No. 14 Eastern Washington (140.5)

 1:15 p.m. EST - TBS - Farmers Coliseum

No. 7 Oregon (-5) vs. No. 10 VCU (138.5)

9:57 p.m. EST - TNT - Farmers Coliseum

No 2. Iowa (-15) vs. No. 15 Grand Canyon (145.5)

6:25 p.m. EST -TBS - Farmers Coliseum


EAST REGION

No. 1 Michigan vs. No. 16 Mount St. Mary's / Texas Southern

3:00 p.m. EST - CBS - Mackey Arena

No. 8 LSU ('PK) vs. No. 9 St. Bonaventure (144.5)

1:45 p.m. EST - TNT - Assembly Hall

No. 5 Colorado (-4) vs. No. 12 Georgetown (138.5)

12:15 p.m. EST- CBS - Hinkle Fieldhouse

No. 4 Florida State (-10) vs. No. 13 UNC Greensboro (144.5)

12:45 p.m. EST - truTV - Bankers Life Fieldhouse

No. 6 BYU vs. No. 11 Michigan State / UCLA

9:40 p.m. EST - CBS - Hinkle Fieldhouse

No. 3 Texas (-9) vs. No. 14 Abilene Christian (140.5)

9:50 p.m. EST - truTV - Lucas Oil Stadium Unity (South)

No. 7 UConn (-4) vs. No. 10 Maryland (134.5)

7:10 p.m. EST - CBS - Mackey Arena

No. 2 Alabama (-17) vs. No. 15 Iona (138.5)

4:00 p.m. EST -TBS - Hinkle Fieldhouse

MORE FROM SPORTS ILLUSTRATED

Printable 2021 NCAA Tournament Bracket