March Madness: Is It Finally The Year To Pick The Zags?

March Madness: Is It Finally The Year To Pick The Zags?

Best Picks to Reach the NCAAB Final Four

Perennial contenders, the Zags have never proven capable of sealing the deal and winning the title. There's a sense that this could finally be their year. Unbeaten Gonzaga reigns atop the top-25 rankings. However, Baylor is also unbeaten and Michigan is this year's surprise team.

Unbeaten No. 1-ranked Gonzaga, who's never won an NCAA Tournament title, is the +265 favorites in the March Madness picks.

  • The 22-0 Gonzaga Bulldogs are the +265 chalk to win the 2021 March Madness title
  • At 17-0, the No. 2-ranked Baylor Bears are the +285 second betting choice
  • Michigan (16-1) is +500. No other school is showing odds shorter than +1400

Gonzaga and Baylor were 1-2 in the NCAA men's basketball preseason polls and entering March Madness, the odds, statistics, and rankings are all projecting a Bulldogs-Bears final. March Madness betting tips, provided from computer simulations conducted by CBS, the network that will broadcast the tournament, show the Bulldogs (32.3 percent) and Bears (30.9 percent) have a combined 63.2 percent chance of winning it all.

Gonzaga Bulldogs+265+210+225
Baylor Bears+280+280+250
Michigan Wolverines+500+875+500
Ohio State Buckeyes+1400+1550+1600
Villanova Wildcats+1500+1400+1000
Illinois Illini+1500+1400+1500

The Michigan Wolverines, the third betting choice to capture the event in the March Madness odds, are given just an 8.8 percent chance of overall success in the tourney. That leaves only a 28 percent opportunity that any of the other 65 schools that qualify for the NCAA Tournament could ultimately be a winner.

Bulldogs Prowess

Over the past five NCAA Tournaments, Gonzaga is 15-5. The Zags have made two Sweet 16s, two Elite Eights, and one title-game appearance. Over the course of this season, the Bulldogs have played one game that was closer than an 11-point margin. That was an 87-82 verdict over West Virginia on Dec. 2.

Ranked No. 1 all season long, Gonzaga is striving to be the first wire-to-wire national champion since Kentucky in 2014-15. Per the KenPom rankings, the Bulldogs rank second in the country in offense and fourth in defense.

Gonzaga Bulldogs To win March Madness

A Bears Market?

It's proven a bit harder to gain an overall read on Baylor this season. The school has seen eight games postponed due to COVID-19 protocols. The Bears were idled for most of February.

Baylor is fourth in the nation in offense and No. 6 in defense.

Baylor Bears To win March Madness

Will Wolverines Howl?

Like the third wheel on a date, Michigan can't crash the top two. The Wolverines have risen impressively from No. 25 in the preseason poll to rate No. 3.

When it comes to March Madness betting tips, Michigan has proven to be a hard-luck story. the Wolverines have lost in the championship game four times since their last title in 1989. Michigan's only loss this season was a 13-point road setback at Minnesota.

Michigan Wolverines To win March Madness

Seeding Matters

When it gets down the nitty-gritty, the March Madness Vegas odds suggest that you should roll with the expected outcome. In seven of the last 10 NCAA Tournaments, one seed has emerged as the winner when all was said and done. Fifty percent of all spots in those 10 finals were occupied by teams seeded No. 1 at the outset of the tourney.

One two seed and one three seed were also winners. The lone anomaly to this pattern came in 2014, when Connecticut, a seven seed, beat eighth-seeded Kentucky in the final.

Don't Go All-In On Upsets

Upsets are what put the madness in March, but they aren't as common as people like to believe. Research conducted by the NCAA shows that NCAA Tournament upsets average out to 12.7 per year. The first round features the most common occurrences of favorites going down. It averages 6.1 upsets per tournament.

That number gets lower with each passing round. There are 3.6 upsets per year in the second round, only 1.7 in the Sweet 16 (1.7), and less than one in the Elite Eight (0.5) and Final Four (0.2).

March Madness 2021 Promotions

Several of the leading online sports betting sites are offering promotions relating to March Madness. For instance, in their March Mayhem Bracket Challenge, BetUS is offering a $1,000,000 grand prize to anyone who can complete a perfect 64-team bracket. Hit correctly on eight or 16 teams and that's worth a cool $10,000.

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  • The winner of The Big Contest Bracket Madness at BetOnline and will earn $100,000 in prize money.

    Intertops is offering everyone who wagers on the NCAA Tournament through their site a chance to win a trip for two to the Final Four weekend 2021 in Indianapolis. This prize package includes hotel accommodation, flight expenses, and two tickets to the semi-final and National Championship Game.

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