NCAA Men's Tournament Sunday Betting Plays – Back Top Seeds Illinois and Baylor to Cover

SI Gambling analyst Roy Larking breaks down the betting angles and shares his picks for Sunday's NCAA men's tournament second round matchups.
Publish date:

Have you signed up to become an SI PRO subscriber?

Members are coming off a profitable week from the NCAA conference championships. Alabama (+220), Illinois (+375) and Georgia Tech (+2500) all delivered with ticket cashing conference tournament championship victories in the SEC, Big Ten and ACC respectively. During the tournament, subscribers had a big day on Saturday, going 4-0 in exclusive member plays.

Additionally, the free "Frankie Whispers" NCAA men's tournament plays for Friday and Saturday went 4-1 for the first round.

Join today and start beating the sportsbooks with us!


Recapping the South and Midwest Regions

There were 16 first round games played in the South and Midwest regions on Friday, March 19. Higher ranked seeds went 10-6 straight up and favorites were 9–7 against the spread. UNDER had an edge on game total bets with a 9–7 record. No. 15 Oral Roberts posted the biggest upset they defeated No. 2 Ohio State. The Golden Eagles beat the Buckeyes 75–72 in overtime to win outright as 16-point underdogs. No. 13 North Texas was a bracket-buster as well as they eliminated No. 4 Purdue. The Mean Green defeated the Boilermakers 78–69 in overtime as 7-point underdogs.

Including the Oral Roberts vs. Ohio State matchup, DraftKings sportsbook listed five games with a line of 13-points or more. No. 1 Baylor was a -25.5-point favorite but failed to cover during a 79–55 win over No. 16 Hartford. The other three double-digit favorites covered. No. 1 Illinois was 22-point chalk and posted a 78–49 win over No. 16 Drexel. No. 2 Houston was solid at both end of the floor as the Cougars crushed No. 15 Cleveland State 87–56 as 20-point chalk. No. 3 West Virginia shot 50% from beyond the arc and defeated No. 14 Morehead State 84–67 No. as 13-point favorites.

Looking more March Madness updates? SI’s tournament newsletter analyzes everything you need to know about the Big Dance: what just happened and what’s happening.

Sign up for Morning Madness here

NCAA Men's Tournament Second Round Schedule

The 2021 NCAA Men’s Division I March Madness basketball tournament continues with second round action today. There are four games in both the South and Midwest regions. Round of 32 contests in the East and West regions will be played on Monday, March 22. Here are the second round matchups and start times on Sunday, March 21.

  • Midwest Region: No. 8 Loyola Chicago vs. No. 1 Illinois at 12:10 p.m. ET
  • South Region: No. 9 Wisconsin vs. No. 1 Baylor at 2:40 p.m. ET
  • Midwest Region: No. 11 Syracuse vs. No. 3 West Virginia at 5:15 p.m. ET
  • South Region: No. 6 Texas Tech vs. No. 3 Arkansas at 6:10 p.m. ET
  • Midwest Region: No. 10 Rutgers vs. No. 2 Houston at 7:10 p.m. ET
  • South Region: No. 15 Oral Roberts vs. No. 7 Florida at 7:45 p.m. ET
  • South Region: No. 13 North Texas vs. No. 5 Villanova at 8:45 p.m. ET
  • Midwest Region: No. 12 Oregon State vs. No. 4 Oklahoma State at 9:40 p.m. ET

No. 8 Loyola Chicago Ramblers vs. No. 1 Illinois Fighting Illini

Midwest Region second round action begins with Loyola Chicago and Illinois meeting for the first time since 2011. Tipoff for the Ramblers vs Fighting Illini matchup is slated for 12:10 p.m. ET at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Loyola Chicago entered March Madness as the Missouri Valley Conference tournament champion while Illinois won the Big Ten Conference tournament. This is the second March Madness meeting after the Ramblers defeated the Fighting Illini 79–64 in the Mideast Region final way back in 1963.

Loyola Chicago (25­­–4) enters this contest following a 71–60 first round win over No. 9 Georgia Tech. The Ramblers trailed 43-40, eight-minutes into the second half, but outscored the Yellow Jackets 31–17 the rest of the way. They covered as 5.5-point favorites. Loyola Chicago made 11 of 27 three-point shots and won the rebound battle by a 30-17 margin. The Ramblers’ defense has held opponents to 60 or fewer points during 18 of the last 19 games. Loyola Chicago score 71.5 ppg and allow 55.7 ppg.

Illinois (24–6) dominated at both ends of the court, as was expected, and defeated No. 16 Drexel 78–49 during their first round matchup. The Fighting Illini led 39–21 at halftime and easily covered as 22.5-point favorites. As they have throughout season, Kofi Cockburn (18 points) and Ayo Dosunmu (17 points), led the way on offense. The size and quickness of the Illinois defense smothered the Dragons' offense as they made 19 of 62 shots from the field. The Fighting Illini score 81.3 ppg and allow 68.6 ppg.

Pick: Illinois Fighting Illini -6.5 (-110) ATS at DraftKings

Betting Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook – Game Time 12:10 p.m. ET

Betting Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook – Game Time 12:10 p.m. ET

March Madness betting is offered daily at DraftKings sportsbook

No. 9 Wisconsin Badgers vs. No. 1 Baylor Bears

South Region second round action begins with Wisconsin and Baylor meeting for just the third time ever. Tipoff for the Badgers vs. Bears battle is at 2:40 p.m. ET at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Prior to the tournament, Wisconsin lost 62–57 to Iowa in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten tournament. Baylor closed their season with an 83–74 loss to Oklahoma State in the semifinals of the Big 12 tournament. Wisconsin defeated Baylor 69­–52 during the West Region semifinals of the 2014 March Madness tournament.

Wisconsin (17–12) began the season with a 12–3 record but lost nine of their final 14 games. Getting back on track, the Badgers blasted No. 8 seed North Carolina 85–62 as 2-point underdogs during the first round on Friday. The game was tied at 16–16, with 9:55 left in first half, but Wisconsin went on a 24–8 run and led 40–24 at halftime. The Badgers were 31 of 61 from the field and 13 of 27 from beyond the arc. Wisconsin enters this contest averaging 70.1 ppg on offense and they allow 64.2 ppg on defense.

Baylor (23–2) opened the season on an 18–0 run. That included impressive wins over Illinois (82–69) and Kansas (77–69), plus an 83–69 win against Big 12 tournament champion Texas. COVID-19 issues, plus the winter storm in Texas, slowed the Bears as they played just three games in February. Baylor defeated No. 16 seed Hartford, 79–55 during their first round match, but failed to cover as 25.5-point favorites. Solid at both ends of the court, the Bears score 84.2 ppg on offense and allow 66.0 ppg on defense.

Pick: Baylor Bears -6 (-114) ATS at DraftKings

Betting Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook – Game Time 2:40 p.m. ET

Betting Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook – Game Time 2:40 p.m. ET

2021 NCAA March Madness Tournament Record: 3–1

2020–21 NCAA Basketball Regular Season Record: 34–27


SI Bracket Challenge: Check Your Picks

Behind the Scenes at the Men's NCAA Tournament

March Madness Scores: 2021 Men's NCAA Tournament Day 1 Recaps

March Madness Scores: 2021 Men's NCAA Tournament Day 2 Recaps