2021 NCAA Men's Tournament Futures Betting – Gonzaga and Baylor are Championship Favorites

SI Gambling analyst Roy Larking reviews Final Four and March Madness champion futures odds prior to the Sweet 16 round
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Recapping March Madness betting results

March Madness is living up to its name as upsets have been plentiful during the 2021 NCAA Men’s Division I basketball tournament. Underdogs started the upset parade as they went 3–1 straight up and 4–0 against the spread during First Four action. A trend of UNDER bets cashing also began as three of the four matches stayed under the game total. Both trends continued during the Round of 64 as the higher-ranking seeds were 21–10 straight up, but underdogs were 17–14 against the spread. UNDER wagers dominated game total betting with a 19-11-1 record during first-round games.

Lower-ranking seeds continued their bracket busting ways during Round of 32 action. Upsets included Oral Roberts becoming just the second No. 15 seed to advance to the Sweet 16 after they knocked off No. 7 Florida. No. 12 Oregon State eliminated No. 4 Oklahoma State, and No. 11 Syracuse defeated No. 3 West Virginia. Illinois was the first No. 1 seed sent packing as they lost to No. 8 Loyola Chicago. Higher-ranked seeds were 11–5 straight up, while favorites posted a 9–7 ATS record during second-round action. OVER wagers edged UNDER bets with a 9-6-1 record on game total tickets.

Only 31 games were played during the Round of 64 as VCU withdrew due to COVID-19 issues. Oregon claimed a no-contest win and advanced to the second round. Forty-seven games have been played in the main bracket, and higher-ranked seeds have a 32–15 straight-up record. Overall, 51 games have been played during the first three rounds. Including the First Four contests, underdogs have a 28–23 record against the spread. UNDER tickets have been produced a nice profit with a 28-21-2 record on game total wagers.

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NCAA Men's Tournament Sweet 16 Schedule

Saturday, March 27

Midwest Region: No. 12 Oregon State vs. No. 8 Loyola Chicago at 2:40 p.m. ET

South Region: No. 5 Villanova vs. No. 1 Baylor at 5:15 p.m. ET

South Region: No. 15 Oral Roberts vs. No. 3 Arkansas at 7:25 p.m. ET

Midwest Region: No. 11 Syracuse vs. No. 2 Houston at 9:55 p.m. ET

Sunday, March 28

West Region: No. 5 Creighton vs. No. 1 Gonzaga at 2:10 p.m. ET

East Region: No. 4 Florida State vs. No. 1 Michigan at 5:00 p.m. ET

East Region: No. 11 UCLA vs. No. 2 Alabama at 7:15 p.m. ET

West Region: No. 7 Oregon at No. 6 USC at 9:45 p.m. ET

March Madness futures odds to make the Final Four

Before the Sweet 16 round, bookmakers at DraftKings have posted futures odds on the remaining 16 teams advancing to the Final Four. Gonzaga is the top favorite with a -295 moneyline price. The Bulldogs are 2–0 SU and ATS after they defeated Norfolk State 98–55 as 33-point favorites and Oklahoma 87–71 as 14-point chalk. No. 1 Gonzaga needs to beat No. 5 Creighton in the Sweet 16 round and then defeat the winner of the No. 6 USC vs. No. 7 Oregon West Region semifinal game to advance to the Final Four.

Baylor is back in early-season form and is second chalk to advance to the Final Four with a -250 price. The Bears opened the tournament with a 79­–55 win against Hartford but failed to cover as 25.5-point favorites. That was followed by a 73–66 win and cover against No. 9 Wisconsin as 6.5-point chalk. No. 1 Baylor needs to defeat No. 5 Villanova in the Sweet 16 round, plus the winner of the No. 3 Arkansas vs. No. 15 Oral Roberts South Region semifinal, to earn their first Final Four appearance since 1950.

Loyola Chicago enters the Sweet 16 round with the top-ranked defense. The Ramblers defeated Georgia Tech 71–60 and covered as 5.5-point favorites in the Round of 64. That was followed by a 71–58 win against No. 1 Illinois as 7-point underdogs in the second round. No. 8 Loyola Chicago needs to defeat No. 12 Oregon State, plus the winner of the No. 2 Houston vs. No 11 Syracuse Midwest Region semifinal game, to earn their second Final Four appearance over the last three NCAA tournaments.

Alabama is worth consideration with +200 moneyline odds to make the Final Four. The Crimson Tide defeated Iona 68–55 in the opening round but failed to cover as 16.5-point favorites. Facing a stout Terrapins’ defense, No. 2 Alabama crushed No. 10 Maryland 96–77 as 5.5-point favorites during Round of 32 action. A win against No. 11 UCLA, plus a victory over the winner of the No. 1 Michigan vs. No. 4 Florida State East Region semifinal game earns Alabama their first-ever Final Four appearance.

Click here to bet on odds to advance to the Final Four at DraftKings

Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook on 3/23/21

Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook on 3/23/21

March Madness tournament champion futures odds

Gonzaga remains the top favorite to win the NCAA Men’s Division I national championship. The Bulldogs were listed with +205 pre-tournament odds, and their moneyline has dropped to +155 heading into the Sweet 16 round. Gonzaga is 28­–0 so far this season, 92–6 over the last three years, and has not lost since they were upset 91–78 by the BYU Cougars back on Feb. 22, 2020. The Bulldogs lost 71–65 to North Carolina during their first and only championship appearance in 2017.

Playing in the bracket opposite Gonzaga, Baylor enters the Sweet 16 round as the second championship favorite. After beginning the tournament with a +500 odds, the Bears moneyline price has dropped to +300 at DraftKings. Three of eight Sports Illustrated college basketball experts selected Gonzaga vs. Baylor as the March Madness title game matchup. Six of them have Gonzaga winning the tournament. Baylor lost 58–42 to Kentucky during their lone national championship appearance 1n 1948.

Illinois opened as the third favorite to win March Madness, with a +700 odds, but Michigan has moved into that spot after eliminating the Fighting Illini. The Wolverines +800 pre-tournament title price has dropped to +650. After nine Big Ten conference squads entered the tournament, Michigan is the only team still in contention. Michigan has a -106 moneyline to represent the East Region in the Final Four. My money will be on Alabama if they play Michigan in the Elite Eight round.

Houston began the Round of 64 as the seventh favorite with +2000 odds. The Cougars are now tied with Loyola Chicago as the fourth favorite with a +900 championship price. The Ramblers entered the tournament as the 26th overall favorite with a +6500 moneyline price. Oral Roberts is looking to be the first-ever No. 15 seed to advance to the Elite Eight. After entering March Madness with a +30000 championship price, the Golden Eagles are now listed with +7000 longshot odds to win the tournament.

Click here to bet on March Madness championship odds at DraftKings

Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook on 3/23/21

Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook on 3/23/21


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