The 2021 March Madness tournament will look a little different this year. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s event will take place entirely in Indiana.
With last year’s tournament being cancelled because of COVID-19 precautions, the NCAA is doing the best that they can to ensure this year’s instalment goes off without a hitch. The NCAA announced on Feb. 25 that if any team is forced to withdraw from March Madness due to COVID-19, one of the top four teams that didn’t make the tournament will take their place. If anything, it’s clear that the 2021 March Madness tournament will be like no other. However, that doesn’t mean that this year’s tournament will be any less exciting than the ones in the past.
We are officially at the Sweet 16, which means we’re just a couple of rounds away from crowning this year’s national champions. After seeing some of the top teams get eliminated already, could we see more upsets in the next round?
Updated Odds to win March Madness
Odds via BetOnline as of Thursday, March 25
- Gonzaga (W1) +140
- Baylor (S1) +375
- Houston (MW2) +900
- Michigan (E1) +900
- Alabama (E2) +1200
- Loyola Chicago (MW8) +1600
- Arkansas (S3) +2000
- Florida State (E4) +2000
- USC (W6) +2200
- Oregon (W7) +3300
- Villanova (S5) +3300
- Creighton (W5) +4000
- UCLA (E11) +4000
- Syracuse (MW11) +5000
- Oregon State (MW12) +6600
- Oral Roberts (S15) +8000
Gonzaga (W1) Still Favorites to Win March Madness
No. 1 Gonzaga is the only undefeated teams this season. Taking that into account, it’s not surprising to see them having the best odds to win March Madness. As of March 25, Gonzaga has also won 25 games in a row by double-digits, which is something that hasn’t been done in over 30 years. Teams like this don’t come around often. Gonzaga also boasts a talented roster with some of the best players in the tournament, including Drew Timme and Jalen Suggs.
They’ve already scored 185 points against their tournament opponents so far. Gonzaga’s sheer dominance this season is they remain as March Madness favorites.
Oral Roberts (S15) Having a Cinderella Run
When the tournament started, very few people saw No. 15 Oral Roberts making it all the way to the Sweet 16, but here they are. They upset No. 2 Ohio State and No. 7 Florida to make it to the third round. Now, they have to go against No. 3 Arkansas if they want to make it to the Elite Eight. Oral Roberts’ Cinderella run has been on the backs of their two best players, Max Abmas and Kevin Obanor. Both players have led the team in back-to-back games and will be heavily relied upon against Arkansas.
Baylor (S1) Bounces Back After Early Tournament Doubts
Not long before the 2021 March Madness Tournament began, Baylor, the South Region’s No. 1 seed, was just like Gonzaga: undefeated. However, they lost two games in three weeks leading up to the tournament, leaving some to wonder if they had what it takes to change with Gonzaga. Well, so far, Baylor has looked like they had before those two losses. They’ve won their first two games by 24 and 13-point margins respectively and are showing no signs of slowing down. At +375, they have the second-best college basketball the national championship odds.
Betting on March Madness and NCAAB Futures
After you’ve successfully signed up for a sportsbook of your choosing, you’re ready to start betting on college basketball odds. One of the most popular trends is filling out a March Madness bracket, trying to predict every single matchup in the tournament.
Some people prefer to bet on a game-to-game basis, which is when you make wagers based on specific matchups as March Madness progresses. Some examples of game-to-game bets include:
- Moneyline: Choosing which team will win a given matchup.
- Point spread: Choosing a team to win a certain game by a set points margin.
- Over/Under: Predicting whether two teams will score more or less than a given point total.
These type of bets come with lines, indicating how much money you could win depending on what you bet on. For example, say you’re browsing college basketball odds and you see the following matchup:
- Gonzaga -150 vs Baylor +300
When a number has a negative sign beside it, that means you have to bet that number in order to win $100. So, in this case, you’d have to bet $150 on a Gonzaga win to make $150. On the other hand, a positive line means you’ll win that much if you bet $100. For this example, a $100 bet on Baylor would net you $300 if they win.
March Madness Futures
One of the more popular trends when it comes to the annual tournament is betting on March Madness futures. Future bets vary from game-to-game bets or even brackets because those are set in stone. Bettors typically bet on futures days, weeks or months in advance. However, the thing about NCAAB futures and those in other sports is that lines can change. A team could have +1000 March Madness odds one day and then +2000 the next depending on games played, injuries and other factors.
March Madness futures can typically be found under the “NCAAB futures” subsection located under the “Basketball” tab on most sportsbooks. They provide an unpredictable experience for bettors where things could change within a day, if not a few hours in some cases.
Anytime you’re placing any wager, it’s important to do research. That is especially true for March Madness futures. Even if you’re a few weeks away from the tournament, find out how teams are playing, who has had COVID-19 issues and which players are injured. Another thing to remember is that if you’re betting on NCAAB futures, see how many games a team has left on a schedule before seeding is finalized. Anything can happen at any moment in sports which could drastically affect a team’s college basketball national championship odds.