Round of 64 Preview: Odds for Friday’s March Madness Games

March Madness is finally kicking off on March 18 with the First Four round. When the dust settles from that, we’ll officially know every matchup for the Round of 64.

The Round of 64 is one of the most exciting parts of March Madness. It’s when bettors can witness different scenarios from utter dominance to the start of a Cinderella run. With the first 16 games of the first round slated for Friday, March 19, it might be intimidating to take all the information in.

While some people may prefer to bet on March Madness prop bets, there’s nothing like regular game day markets.

That’s why this guide will go over each of the first 16 games of the Round of 64, making it easily digestible for novice and expert bettors alike.

March Madness Round of 64 Odds: South Region

Odds via BetOnline as of Thursday, March 18

Baylor (#1) vs. Hartford (#16)

  • Point Spread: Baylor -25.5 (-104) vs. Hartford +25.5 (-116)
  • Moneyline: Baylor -3400, Hartford +1650
  • Over/Under: Over 140 (-110), Under 140 (-110)

The No. 16 seed has only defeated the No. 1 seed once in the Round of 64 since 1985. That happened back in 2018 when the University of Maryland, Baltimore County defeated Virginia. While Hartford won their last five games by double digits, there’s a reason why Baylor is a No. 1 seed. Their offense is one of the top-3 in the March Madness Tournament and not many teams can keep up with that, let alone expecting a No. 16 seed to be able to do so. Provided an unexpected upset, Baylor should cruise to a win.

North Carolina (#8) vs. Wisconsin (#9)

  • Point Spread: North Carolina -1.5 (-108) vs. Wisconsin +1.5 (-112)
  • Moneyline: North Carolina -115, Wisconsin -105
  • Over/Under: Over 137.5 (-105), Under 137.5 (-115)

In what is sure to be another exciting matchup, No. 8 North Carolina will take on No. 9 Wisconsin in the Round of 64. North Carolina is the best offensive rebounding team in the country. Their offensive rebounding percentage is 41.3. On the other hand, Wisconsin has lost seven of their last 10 games. Only two of those losses were by double digits, but momentum is important for March Madness. Wisconsin needs to get on the board early if they want to stand a chance against North Carolina.

Villanova (#5) vs. Winthrop (#12)

  • Point Spread: Villanova -6.5 (-110) vs. Winthrop +6.5 (-110)
  • Moneyline: Villanova -260, Winthrop +220
  • Over/Under: Over 143 (-110), Under 143 (-110)

While Villanova won the 2018 March Madness Tournament, things are a bit different this year. They don’t have Collin Gillespie, who they lost to a torn MCL. He was on that championship-winning roster.

Winthrop is 23-1 on the season and just won the Big South title. While they may not have played some of the better teams that Villanova played this season, they’re having fun and playing their own brand of basketball. On the other hand, Villanova has lost three times in their last four games to teams like Georgetown and Providence.

Purdue (#4) vs. North Texas (#13)

  • Point Spread: Purdue -7.5 (-107) vs. North Texas +7.5 (-113)
  • Moneyline: Purdue -310, North Texas +260
  • Over/Under: Over 127 -105, Under 127 (-115)

When No. 4 Purdue and No. 13 North Texas clash on Friday in the Round of 64, it’ll be a battle of some of the top defenses in the NCAA. Both teams have top-50 defenses, however, Purdue actually has the offense to balance it out. According to the KenPom rating system, Purdue has the 13th-best offense in the tournament. On the other hand, North Texas is ranked 119th.

Texas Tech (#6) vs. Utah State (#11)

  • Point Spread: Texas Tech -4.0 (-105) vs. Utah State +4.0 (-115)
  • Moneyline: Texas Tech -175, Utah State +155
  • Over/Under: Over 131.5 (-110), Under 131.5 (-110)

The battle between Texas Tech and Utah State could be another one that revolves around how each team’s defense performs in the Round of 64. Utah State is great at cleaning up rebounds, allowing opponents to only get 21.3 percent of their offensive boards. They’re also holding opposing teams to 38.9 percent from the field. Meanwhile, Texas Tech forces their opponents to turn over the ball almost 24 percent of the time, which is one of the top percentages out of every March Madness team.

Arkansas (#3) vs. Colgate (#14)

  • Point Spread: Arkansas -8.5 (-110) vs. Colgate +8.5 (-110)
  • Moneyline: Arkansas -400, Colgate +320
  • Over/Under: Over 161 (-110), Under 161 (-110)

As of March 14, both of these teams are two of the top offensive teams in the NCAA. No. 3 Arkansas (82.4 ppg) and No. 14 Colgate (86.3 ppg) are ranked seventeenths and second respectively when it comes to scoring in the NCAA. Arkansas has wins over schools like Alabama and Missouri this season. Colgate’s 14-1 record may look impressive, but they haven’t played a team like Arkansas yet this season. A type of legitimate threat like that may be too much for the 14th seed to handle.

Florida (#7) vs. Virginia Tech (#10)

  • Point Spread: Florida (PK) -110 vs. Virginia Tech (PK) -110
  • Moneyline: N/A
  • Over/Under: Over 135 (-105), Under 135 (-115)

Judging by the odds heading into this matchup, it’s clear that sportsbooks think that these teams are evenly matched in the Round of 64. Florida has only won once in their last four games. While that may seem concerning, Virginia Tech has concerns of their own.

Virginia Tech has had five games postponed or cancelled due to COVID-19 precautions since February 9. Due to these disruptions, they’ve only played three games since then, losing twice. It’ll be interesting to see if those interruptions in their schedule factor into their March Madness performance.

Ohio State (#2) vs. Oral Roberts (#15)

  • Point Spread: Ohio State -16.0 (-112) vs. Oral Roberts +16.0 (-108)
  • Moneyline: Ohio State -2100, Oral Roberts +850
  • Over/Under: Over 156 (115), Under 156 (-105)

Oral Roberts’ Max Abmas is the highest-scoring player in the 2021 March Madness Tournament. He’s averaging 24.2 points per game. However, that’s not enough to stop No. 2 Ohio State from being the overwhelming favorites. The KenPom rating system ranks Ohio State as the fourth-best offense in the NCAA while listing Oral Roberts’ defense at 285. With that being said, if Abmas can put his school on his back one more time, Oral Roberts can at least make it an interesting game.

March Madness Round of 64 Odds: Midwest Region

Odds via BetOnline as of Thursday, March 18

Illinois (#1) vs. Drexel (#16)

  • Point Spread: Illinois -22.5 (-110) vs. Drexel +22.5 (-110)
  • Moneyline: Illinois -3000, Drexel +1250
  • Over/Under: Over 143.5 (-110), Under 143.5 (-110)

No. 1 Illinois is coming off of a Big Ten Championship win over Ohio State. They’re also the Midwest Region’s favorite to make the Final Four. While a No. 16 seed may beat a No. 1 again down the line, it’s hard to imagine Drexel being the one to do it this year. With all due respect to Drexel, Illinois is on another level, rolling through opponent after opponent.

Loyola Chicago (#8) vs. Georgia Tech (#9)

  • Point Spread: Loyola Chicago -5.5 (-133) vs. Georgia Tech +5.5 (-108)
  • Moneyline: Loyola Chicago -220, Georgia Tech +190
  • Over/Under: Over 124.5 (-105), Under 124.5 (-115)

No. 8 Loyola Chicago is just three years removed from making the Final Four at the 2018 March Madness Tournament. They’ll meet No. 9 Georgia Tech in the Round of 64 this year. Georgia Tech will be at a disadvantage as they’ll be without their best player, ACC Player of the Year Moses Wright.

While the cause of Wright’s absence has yet to be revealed as of Thursday morning, it’s still a big loss to a Georgia Tech team that hasn’t played in the March Madness Tournament since 2010.

Tennessee (#5) vs. Oregon State (#12)

  • Point Spread: Tennessee -8.5 (-115) vs. Oregon State +8.5 (-105)
  • Moneyline: Tennessee -460, Oregon State +370
  • Over/Under: Over 130.5 (-110), Under 130.5 (-110)

No. 5 Tennessee is the -460 moneyline favorite to defeat No. 12 Oregon State on Friday. Tennessee has the best defense in the Southeastern Conference this season, allowing just 63.2 ppg. However, they could be without senior forward John Fulkerson, who is day-to-day.

At the same time, Oregon State is 8-2 in their last 10 games. Tennessee has also been inconsistent throughout the season. If Oregon State can continue their momentum and take advantage of the situation, they may have a fighting chance of advancing from the Round of 64.

Oklahoma State (#4) vs. Liberty (#13)

  • Point Spread: Oklahoma State -7.5 (-110) vs. Liberty +7.5 (-110)
  • Moneyline: Oklahoma State -355, Liberty +285
  • Over/Under: Over 139 (-110), Under 139 (-110)

Oklahoma State’s Cade Cunningham is going to want to start March Madness off with a bang. He led the Big 12 in scoring and will want to increase his 2021 NBA Draft stock. At the same time, Liberty rarely turns the ball over and is one of the best three-point shooting teams in the tournament. If their long-range shots start going in early, they may be able to catch Oklahoma State off guard. If Liberty can shut Cunningham down, a Round of 64 upset could be possible.

San Diego State (#6) vs. Syracuse (#11)

  • Point Spread: San Diego State -3.0 (-110) vs. Syracuse +3.0 (-110)
  • Moneyline: San Diego State -155, Syracuse +135
  • Over/Under: Over 139 (-110), Under 139 (-110)

No. 6 San Diego State and No. 11 Syracuse will meet in the first round of the March Madness Tournament. Despite Syracuse being viewed as the underdog, that might not matter. The school has a history of pulling off upsets. In fact, Syracuse ranks third in the tournament’s history for wins as the lower seed with 13.

West Virginia (#3) vs. Morehead State (#14)

  • Point Spread: West Virginia -13.0 (-112) vs. Morehead State +13.0 (-108)
  • Moneyline: West Virginia -1000, Morehead State +660
  • Over/Under: Over 137.5 (-110), Under 137.5 (-110)

It’s no surprise that No. 3 West Virginia is heavily favored over No. 14 Morehead State. If Morehead wants to win, they need to limit turnovers. They’re entering the tournament at over 15 turnovers per game. If they cough up the ball that much against West Virginia, the Mountaineers may build an early lead and never look back.

However, Morehead State is also 19-1 in their last 20 games. Even though none of those wins have come against teams like West Virginia, that’s the type of streak that helps a team perform well during March Madness. Any momentum is good momentum.

Clemson (#7) vs. Rutgers (#10)

  • Point Spread: Clemson +1.5 (-110) vs. Rutgers -1.5 (-110)
  • Moneyline: Clemson +105, Rutgers -125
  • Over/Under: Over 126 (-110), Under 126 (-110)

The battle between Clemson and Rutgers is projected to be another even matchup in the Round of 64. Despite being the lower seed, No. 10 Rutgers is the slight moneyline favorite at -125. The game is projected to be a low-scoring affair as both teams have top-20 defenses according to the KenPom rating. However, it’s been 30 years since Rutgers competed for the NCAA National Championship and 38 years since they last won a game in the tournament. That type of hunger could propel them to “upset” Clemson.

Houston (#2) vs. Cleveland State (#15)

  • Point Spread: Houston -20.0 (-110) vs. Cleveland State +20.0 (-110)
  • Moneyline: Houston -3300, Cleveland State +1550
  • Over/Under: Over 134.5 (-110), Under 134.5 (-109)

Out of all the Round of 64 matchups on Friday, this is definitely one of the more lopsided ones. With BetOnline giving Houston a -20.0 spread, it’s clear that this is expected to be a blowout. Houston is 17-2 since the calendar turned over to 2021. They’re also currently on a seven-game win streak, which includes winning their third ACC Championship in a row. In a tournament where upsets can happen, it doesn’t seem likely that this is the time or the place.

Devon Platana
Devon Platana

After graduating with a Masters degree in Journalism, Devon joined USGS to improve his sports writing skills. As a lifelong sports fan, one of Devon’s favorite things to do is analyze statistics across all sports.