One year ago, sports fans found themselves robbed of a whole heck of a lot thanks to the postponements and cancellations that accompanied the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic in earnest — and none was more jarring than the loss of college basketball’s NCAA Tournament. To be denied the annual tradition that is March Madness is a towering indignity, but fans can take heart knowing that a champion will indeed be crowned in 2021. With that in mind, it’s time for CanadianBettingSites to fire up the best NCAA March Madness picks for 2021, including the outright national championship winner, Final Four bids, and individual team prop bets.
2021 College Basketball National Championship
So, who’s winning the Big Dance? If you’ve been following along this season even on the most casual kind of basis, you surely still know that two teams have distinguished themselves above all others as of this writing: Gonzaga and Baylor, the last two undefeated in men’s Division I basketball.
If the regular season ended today, the Zags would likely be the NCAA Tournament’s No. 1 overall seed thanks in large part to sharpshooting wing Corey Kispert and relentless big man Drew Timme.
Here's the best part of ESPN's feature on the Zags this morning.
Gonzaga basketball is winning because:
"Selflessness."- Corey Kispert
"We all move as one."-Jalen Suggs
"We're a true family and we'll do anything for each other."- Drew Timme pic.twitter.com/yTgU7yL2IT
— Brenna Greene (@BrennaGreene_) January 30, 2021
Scott Drew’s Bears, however, have, the benefit of cutting their teeth against much tougher in-conference competition — and are surely seething from being denied what was a very, very real shot at championship glory last season.
These are the two highest-scoring teams in college basketball. If the basketball gods are just, a cancelled clash between these two originally slated for December gets to realize itself in April’s national title game.
If and when that happens, there’s not a bad choice between them. And that’s why the slight would-be underdog is the smartest option for bettors.
Pick Baylor (3.75) to win the 2021 NCAA Tournament and be crowned as national champions. A $20 bet cashes out for $75 at Bodog.
|2021 NCAA Tournament: Odds to Win|
|Ohio State Buckeyes||13.00||18.00|
|Illinois Fighting Illini||16.00||19.00|
|Florida State Seminoles||17.00||24.00|
|Alabama Crimson Tide||19.00||20.00|
Interested in swinging for the fences with a sneaky dark horse pick? Fortunately, a number of intriguing options exist in the jam-packed Big Ten, a veritable basketball bloodbath in this utterly unique season. Michigan and Ohio State are sitting prettier in the polls, but the most incisive choice is down the road in Urbana-Champaign.
Illinois is No. 4 in the NCAA NET Rankings, and simply do not lose against teams they ought to beat. A cursory look at the NET’s win quadrants, which separate all Division I teams into four tiers based on overall quality while taking into account home/road/neutral site splits, reveals that the Illini are a perfect 9-0 against quadrants 2, 3, and 4.
Of the four teams with this fact in their favour who also happens to sport a winning record against quadrant 1 — Gonzaga, Baylor, Michigan, Illinois — Brad Underwood’s boys offer the most attractive betting value, and it’s not even close.
Darkhorse bettors should take Illinois (19.00) to win the national title. A $20 wager pays out a sensational $380 at Spin Palace Sports.
NCAA Basketball Final Four 2021
In a season as singularly chaotic as this one, it helps to go with a sure thing. That’s why Gonzaga and Baylor are once again the most convincing picks to make the 2021 Final Four. They’re simply the two best teams in the country, period.
Aside from that elite pair, however, who makes the most sense from a betting standpoint to reach the national semifinals?
Illinois has the class to do it, but their odds to make the last four, as opposed to winning it all, aren’t quite as eye-catching by comparison. Rather, a different Big Ten team stands out: Chris Holtmann’s Ohio State Buckeyes, whose eight quadrant 1 win are the most in the country as of this writing. If you’ve watched Duane Washington Jr. and EJ Liddell pour it on this season in Columbus, you know these guys are for real.
Pick Ohio State to join Gonzaga and Baylor in the Final Four. A winning $20 ticket at top sportsbooks like Sports Interaction redeems for a terrific $105.
So, how about that fourth and final team? Another Big Ten squad might very well make it, as Michigan and Iowa each have compelling cases. The better value, however, lies with the breakout star of the Southeastern Conference: the Alabama Crimson Tide.
With Kentucky falling off the face of the earth, Nate Oats’ team has seized the opportunity. Their seven quadrant 1 wins tie them with Gonzaga for No. 2 in the land, and their lone SEC loss as of this writing was the result of a brilliant second-half rally falling just barely short.
Need a sneaky Final Four team? Go with the Crimson Tide. A $20 bet cashes out for $93 at top sportsbooks.
Will Baylor Finish the 2020-21 Season Undefeated?
Fun and funny prop bets aren’t just the purview of the Super Bowl, folks! Gonzaga faces fewer resistance thanks to playing the mid-major West Coast Conference, so their chances of a 100% perfect season are not exactly inconceivable. Baylor, however? The Big 12 is no slouch, boasting five teams in the top 23 of the NET rankings outside of the Bears — if this team really can go all the way to championship glory without suffering a single defeat, it will be a truly incredible story to cap off a truly incredible year.
And that’s why, despite being a long shot, it’s too poetic to pass up.
Think about it: If the NCAA Tournament had taken place in 2020 as scheduled, Baylor would have quite possibly been the betting favourite. They returned a boatload of talent from last year’s team, most notably the guard trio of Jared Butler, who might just have the best handles in the college ranks, Davion Mitchell, who shoots nearly 50% from three-point range, and senior Macio Teague, perhaps the steadiest presence of them all.
The odds are long. But these guys can do it.
Take a long, hard look at Baylor running the table and finishing the season as undefeated national champions. A $20 wager at top sportsbooks pays out a cool $180.