2021 NCAA Men's Tournament - Odds for the Sweet 16 Are Officially Set

SI Gambling insider Frankie Taddeo previews the opening odds set by Vegas oddsmakers for the Sweet 16 of the 2021 NCAA men's tournament
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For sports bettors who love to back the underdogs in the men’s NCAA tournament, 2021 has once again been a financial windfall. In the first round, favorites went 21-11 straight-up (SU) but more importantly, for the wallets of sports bettors, underdogs posted an 18-13 (58.1%) ATS mark. (Note: Oregon vs. VCU ruled a no contest)

On Sunday, the trend continued in a big way as underdogs went 5-3 SU and 6-2 ATS in thrilling second-round action that witnessed No. 15 Oral Roberts (+330), No. 12 Oregon State (+225), No. 11 Syracuse (+155) and No. 8 Loyola Chicago (+285) pull outright upsets and advance to the Sweet 16.

On Monday, favorites helped flip the board in favor of square bettors as supreme powers Gonzaga (-15.5), Michigan (-4.5), and Alabama (-6.5) rolled to victories. Favorites closed out the second round going 7-1 SU and ATS, with No. 7 Oregon (+180) being the only underdog to come through on the day.

Thus far through the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament, favorites are ahead 31-17 SU while underdogs lead the way at 25-22 ATS.

We will have full betting breakdowns of all the sharp action from Vegas for the Sweet 16 later this week, but the opening lines have just been released, so without further adieu.

Note: This year, there will be no travel as all games will be played at multiple sites within the state of Indiana, and also, the Sweet 16 will tip-off on Saturday (March 27) as opposed to the traditional commencement on Thursday afternoon.

NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 - Saturday, March 27

NOTE - Odds are subject to change. Odds Courtesy of CIRCA Sports (Las Vegas, Nevada)


No. 4 Villanova (+6.5) vs. No. 1 Baylor (139.5)

Wildcats: 18-6 (SU); 14-10 (ATS) | Bears: 24-2 (SU); 16-10 (ATS)

5:15 p.m. EST - CBS - Hinkle Fieldhouse

Frankie Whispers Early-Look: Just when everyone thought it was trendy to bury Villanova, following the season-ending injury to star point guard Collin Gillespie (MCL), the Wildcats showed the basketball world never to underestimate the heart of a championship blue-blood program. Villanova has two posted two wins in the tournament over Winthrop and North Texas, where they are a perfect 2-0 ATS for bettors. The Wildcats will need point guard Justin Moore (12.8 points per game) and forwards Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (16.0 points per game/ 8.3 rebounds) and Jermaine Samuels (11.9 points per game/ 6.5 rebounds) to have career games if Villanova has any hopes of moving on to the Elite Eight.

On the flip side, the Baylor Bears have been sensational all season, posting an outstanding 24 victories thanks to one of the best backcourts in the country led by Jared Butler (16.9 points per game). Baylor also gets solid production from MaCio Teague (16.1 points per game) and Davion Mitchell (14.1 points per game). The Bears head into the Sweet 16 after earning wins over Hartford and Wisconsin.

No. 15 Oral Roberts (+11.5) vs. No. 3 Arkansas (158.5)

Golden Eagles: 18-10 (SU); 16-9 (ATS) | Razorbacks: 24-6 (SU); 19-9-1 (ATS)

7:25 p.m. EST - CBS - Bankers Life Fieldhouse

Frankie Whispers Early-Look: No. 15 Oral Roberts are one of the Cinderella stories of the 2021 tournament after posting upset wins over No. 2 Ohio State as 15-point underdogs followed by a knockout punch to No. 7 Florida as 9.5-point underdogs. The Golden Eagles have won six consecutive games that have resulted in a perfect 6-0 ATS run for their backers. The Summit League champions are receiving double-digits from the oddsmakers for their Sweet 16 matchup on Saturday. The Golden Eagles are led by the incredible duo of Kevin Obanor (19.0 points per game) and Max Abmas (24.5 points per game).

No. 3 Arkansas has played superbly, going 11-1 straight-up (SU) over their last 12 games that has resulted in financial bliss for their backers going 10-2 ATS over that span. The Razorbacks have begun to garner sports bettors' attention after posting two covers against the spread (ATS) in wins over Colgate and Texas Tech. Arkansas’ offense runs through freshman phenom Moises Moody who leads the team averaging 17.1 points per game.


No. 12 Oregon State (+7) vs. No. 8 Loyola Chicago (126.5)

Beavers: 19-12 (SU); 20-9-1 ATS | Ramblers: 26-4 (SU); 18-9-1 (ATS)

2:40 p.m. EST - CBS - Bankers Life Fieldhouse

Frankie Whispers Early-Look: Sister Jean is excited to once again see her beloved Ramblers making a deep run in the NCAA tournament. No. 8 Loyola Chicago, champions of the Horizon League, have ripped off five consecutive SU and ATS wins in March. The Ramblers advanced to the Sweet 16 after earning victories over Georgia Tech and then taking down No. 1 seed Illinois as 7-point underdogs on Sunday.

No. 12 Oregon State, who needed to win the Pac-12 Championship to secure a spot in the NCAA tournament, have been ultra-impressive this month, posting five consecutive wins that has also resulted in a 5-0 ATS run at the betting windows. The Beavers, who defeated No. 5 Tennessee (+8.5) and No. 4 Oklahoma State (+6) to earn a spot in the Sweet 16, are once again a sizable underdog in the eyes of the oddsmakers against Sister Jean’s crew.

No. 11 Syracuse (+6) vs. No. 3 Houston (139.5)

Orange: 18-9 (SU); 14-13 (ATS) | Cougars: 26-3 (SU); 20-9-0 (ATS)

9:55 p.m. EST - TBS - Hinkle Fieldhouse

Frankie Whispers Early-Look: No. 11 Syracuse has quietly been a great money maker for sports bettors, posting six straight wins against the spread (ATS) in March thanks to junior sharp-shooter Buddy Boeheim, who leads the club averaging 18.0 points per game this season. The son of head coach Jim Boeheim has been sensational for the Orange, scoring no less than 25-points in five of his last six games. Syracuse earned a trip to the Sweet 16 after posting wins over San Diego State and West Virginia in the first two rounds.

No. 3 Houston, champions of the American Athletic Conference (AAC), have reeled off nine consecutive victories that has resulted in a 6-3 ATS mark over that span. The Cougars soared past Cleveland State (-20.5) in the First Round before earning a come-from-behind 63-60 win over Rutgers on Sunday, where they failed to cover the 7.5-point spread.

NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 - Sunday, March 28


No. 5 Creighton (+13.5) vs. No. 1 Gonzaga (158.5)

Bluejays: 22-8 (SU); 14-16 (ATS) | Bulldogs: 28-0 (SU); 14-12-2 (ATS)

2:10 pm EST - CBS- Hinkle Fieldhouse

Frankie Whispers Early-Look: No. 5 Creighton put to rest any doubt that the club would slip up in the opening rounds of the tournament following the off-the-court distraction involving head coach Doug McDermott. After suffering a 25-point loss to Georgetown in the Big East Championship game, the Bluejays have responded with wins over UC Santa Barbara (UCSB) and Ohio. Creighton failed to cover as 7.5-point favorites in the first round against UCSB but covered the 5.5-point line with ease on Monday, cruising past Ohio, 72-58. Creighton’s star backcourt guard Marcus Zegarowski (15.7 points per game / 4.4 assists), as well as top front liner Christian Bishop (11.0 points per game / 6.4 assists), will need to post top efforts for the Bluejays to have any chance of achieving the monumental upset task in front of them in the Sweet 16.

As expected, No. 1 overall seed Gonzaga has faced little resistance so far in the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament, rolling past Norfolk State (-33) and Oklahoma (-15.5) by a combined score of 185-126 (an average of 29.5 points per win). The Bulldogs are easily the most complete team in the field thanks to star freshman guard Jalen Suggs who runs the show for Mark Few. On the block, Gonzaga also receives solid production from talented big-man Drew Timme. A trip to the Final Four from the West Region seems like a foregone conclusion for the tournament's only undefeated team.

No. 7 Oregon (+1) vs. No. 6 USC (138)

Ducks: 21-6 (SU); 15-12 (ATS) | Trojans: 24-7 (SU); 18-13 (ATS)

9:45 pm EST - TBS -Bankers Life Fieldhouse

Frankie Whispers Early-Look: No. 7 Oregon received a win via “no contest” in the First Round when VCU was forced to forfeit due to positive COVID-19 results. The Ducks, who have won 12 of their last 14 games, did not waste the ‘free pass’ advancement on Monday, taking down Luka Garza and No. 2 Iowa, 95-80, as 5-point underdogs in the second round. Oregon has posted a 6-1 ATS mark over their last seven games, and bettors will no doubt be looking to back the Ducks once again next weekend.

No. 6 USC, led by projected NBA lottery pick Evan Mobley, have won five of their last six games. Included in that span are two straight up, and ATS wins over Drake (-7.5) and Kansas (-1.5) in the NCAA tournament. It will be interesting to see if bettors will forget the 1-6 ATS run the Trojans were on heading into the NCAA tournament or will instead focus on the two most recent wins that here they have outscored their opponents 157-107 (an average of 25.0 points per victory).

Note: USC won the only matchup between these two Pac-12 foes 72-58 as 3.5-point favorites back on Feb. 22.


No. 11 UCLA (+5) vs. No. 2 Alabama (144)

Bruins: 29-9 (SU); 15-14 (ATS) | Crimson Tide: 26-6 (SU); 18-13-1 (ATS)

7:15 pm EST - TBS -Hinkle Fieldhouse

Frankie Whispers Early-Look: No. 11 UCLA has won three games in the tournament, commencing with a come-from-behind win over Michigan State (+2.5) in the play-in game, in which they erased a 14-point second half deficit over the Spartans. They proceeded to follow that up with victories over BYU (+3.5) and Abilene Christian (-5.5). The Bruins have posted a solid 4-1 ATS mark over their past five games, and the Pac-12 power appears to be coming together at the right time.

No. 2 Alabama, who rolled into the tournament on the heels of an SEC tournament title, have now won eight consecutive games. The Tide, who beat Rick Pitino and Iona in the opening round, impressively beat Maryland on Monday night as 5.5-point favorites. Alabama, who is 5-2 ATS over their last seven games, possess one of the most balanced squads heading into the Sweet 16. The oddsmakers believe they merit strong favoritism once again, installing a healthy opening line of 5 points.

No. 4 Florida State (+3) vs. No. 1 Michigan (146.5)

Seminoles: 18-6 (SU); 12-10-2 (ATS) | Wolverines: 22-4 (SU); 18-8 (ATS)

5 pm EST - CBS- Bankers Life Fieldhouse

Frankie Whispers Early-Look: No. 1 Michigan, who many were projecting to struggle  playing without star guard Isaiah Livers (stress fracture), have proven their doubters wrong thus far. Juwan Howard did a masterful job on Monday, guiding the club to an impressive 86-78 win over LSU as 4.5-point favorites. There is no word on whether Livers will return for the Sweet 16 matchup with Florida State. The Wolverines have been hit or miss for bettors going 3-4 ATS over their last seven games.

No. 4 Florida State covered for the first time in their last five games on Monday when they defeated an overrated Colorado squad 61-49 as 1.5-point favorites. The Seminoles, who beat UNC Greensboro in the First Round, were 0-3-1 ATS over their previous four games before their win over Colorado. Florida State will have to improve their offensive efficiency if they hope to have any chance against the East Region’s No. 1 seed.