NCAA Men's Tournament Monday Betting Plays – Back Alabama and USC to Cover

SI Gambling analyst Roy Larking shares his picks for Monday's NCAA men's tournament second-round matchups
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Recapping the East and West Regions

There were 15 first-round games played in the East and West regions on Saturday. Oregon advanced after VCU withdrew due to COVID-19 issues. Higher ranked seeds went 11-4 straight up, but underdogs ruled the day as they were 10–5 against the spread. No. 14 Abilene Christian posted the biggest upset as they defeated No. 3 Texas 53-52 as 8.5-point underdogs. No. 13 Ohio knocked off defending champion No. 4 Virginia. The Bobcats defeated the Cavaliers 62–58 as 7-point underdogs. UNDER tickets continued to produce solid returns with a 10-4-1 record on game total bets.

Double-digit favorites were 6–0 straight up but just 1–5 against the spread at DraftKings. No. 1 Gonzaga was the only team that covered as they defeated No. 16 Norfolk State 98–55 as 33-point chalk. No. 1 Michigan winning 82–66 against Texas Southern as 25.2-point favorites, No. 2 Alabama defeating No. 15 Iona 68–55 as 16.5-point chalk, and No. 2 Iowa beating No. 15 Grand Canyon 86–74 as 14-point favorites, were notable non-covers. Overall, higher-ranked first-round seeds were 21–10 SU, and underdogs were 17–14 ATS. UNDER wagers generated a profitable 19-11-1 record.

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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 East and West regions. The tournament will then pause before the Sweet 16 round on March 27 and 28. Here are the second-round matchups and start times on Monday, March 22.

  • West Region: No. 7 Oregon vs. No. 2 Iowa at 12:10 p.m. ET
  • West Region: No. 8 Oklahoma vs. No. 1 Gonzaga at 2:40 p.m. ET
  • East Region: No. 14 Abilene Christian vs. No. 11 UCLA at 5:15 p.m. ET
  • West Region: No. 13 Ohio vs. No. 5 Creighton at 6:10 p.m. ET
  • East Region: No. 8 LSU vs. No. 1 Michigan at 7:10 p.m. ET
  • East Region: No. 5 Colorado vs. No. 4 Florida State at 7:45 p.m. ET
  • East Region: No. 10 Maryland vs. No. 2 Alabama at 8:45 p.m. ET
  • West Region: No. 6 USC vs. No. 3 Kansas at 9:40 p.m. ET

No. 10 Maryland Terrapins vs. No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide

Contrasting styles clash when slow-tempo Maryland meets fast-paced Alabama to close out second-round action in the East Region. Tipoff for the Terrapins vs. Crimson Tide contest is slated for 8:45 p.m. ET at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. This is the fifth meeting all-time between these teams, but the first since 2013. Maryland entered March Madness with an at-large bid after they lost to Michigan in the Big Ten tournament quarterfinals. Alabama received automatic entry after winning the SEC tournament.

Maryland (17–13) advanced to the second round after a 63–54 win against No. 7 UConn on Saturday. The Terrapins jumped out to a 33–22 lead at halftime and won outright as 3.5-point underdogs. Maryland shot 51.2% from the field and 50% from beyond the arc. The Huskies shot 32.3% from the field and 30.4% from three-point range. Maryland lost the rebound battle (40–29), and that's a recipe for disaster against Alabama, who average 40.5 rebounds per game. The Terrapins score 68.6 ppg and allow 64.6 ppg.

Alabama (25–6) is riding a seven-game winning streak following a 68–55 win against No. 15 Iona during round one action. After holding a slim 33–32 lead at halftime, the Crimson Tide outscored the Gaels 35­–23 in the second half but failed to cover as 16.5-point favorites. Alabama has four starters who are averaging at least 11.5 points per game this season. That has helped the Crimson Tide average 79.2 ppg on offense, and they allow 69.3 ppg on defense. Lay the points and bet on Alabama to cover.

Pick: Alabama Crimson Tide -5.5 (-110) ATS at DraftKings

Betting Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook – Game Time 8:45 p.m. ET

Betting Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook – Game Time 8:45 p.m. ET

March Madness betting is offered daily at DraftKings sportsbook

No. 6 USC Trojans vs. No. 3 Kansas Jayhawks

The second round concludes with USC battling Kansas in the West Region. Tipoff for the Trojans vs. Jayhawks matchup is at 9:40 p.m. ET at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Kansas has a seven-game winning streak against UCS, but these teams are unfamiliar foes as they have not met since 2011. Both squads earned at-large bids into the tournament. The Trojans lost to Colorado in the semifinals of the Pac-12 tournament. The Jayhawks forfeited their Big 12 tournament semifinal game due to COVID-19 issues.

USC (23–7) advanced to the second round following a 72–56 win against No. 11 Drake during round one action on Saturday. The Trojans had a slim 40–37 lead at halftime but outscored the Bulldogs 32–19 in the second half and covered as 7-point favorites. USC was dominant on defense as the Bulldogs shot just 29.4% from the field. Evan Mobley led the Trojans' offense with 17 points, plus 11 rebounds, as USC shot 50% from the field. The Trojans average 74.7 ppg on offense and allow 64.8 ppg on defense.

Kansas (21–8) advanced to the second round after a 93–84 win against No. 14 Eastern Washington during Round of 64 action. The Jayhawks trailed 46­–38 at halftime but outscored the Eagles 55­–38 in the second half. Eastern Washington scored with eight seconds left on the clock to cover as 10-point dogs. After being away from the team for 11 days, due to COVID-19 issues, second-leading scorer David McCormack returned and scored 22 points. Kansas scores 73.8 ppg on offense and allows 66.4 ppg on defense.

Pick: USC Trojans -1 (-109) ATS at DraftKings

Betting Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook – Game Time 9:40 p.m. ET

Betting Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook – Game Time 9:40 p.m. ET

2021 NCAA March Madness Tournament Record: 4–2

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


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