Only 16 teams remain in the 2021 March Madness men’s college basketball tournament. As expected, the three #1 seeds that advanced to the Sweet 16 are among the favorites to win March Madness, with Gonzaga leading the way at +120 odds, followed by Baylor at +450, and Michigan at +1000.
The Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas adjusted its March Madness futures and the Houston Cougars saw the biggest movement at +800 odds heading into the Sweet 16.
Loyola Chicago and their most famous fan, 101-year old Catholic nun Sister Jean, also saw a significant odds boost at +1800 to win March Madness.
|2021 March Madness Sweet 16 Odds|
- Gonzaga +120
- Baylor +450
- Houston +800
- Michigan +1000
- Alabama +1000
- Loyola Chicago +1800
- Arkansas +2000
- Florida State +2500
- USC +3000
- Villanova +4000
- Creighton +5000
- Oregon +5000
- Syracuse +5000
- UCLA +6000
- Oregon State +8000
- Oral Roberts +50000
Syracuse and UCLA are a pair of underrated #11 seeds that survived two rounds and earned spots in the Sweet 16.
Only one #12 seed advanced past the first round. Oregon State secured a spot in the Sweet 16 after impressive wins over #5 Tennessee and #4 Oklahoma State.
Oral Roberts became only the ninth #15 seed in March Madness history to defeat a #2 seed when they sent Ohio State packing after a first-round upset. Oral Roberts became only the second #15 seed to win a second game and lock up a spot in the Sweet 16. The Golden Eagles are the biggest moon shot on the board at +50000 odds to pull off a miracle to win March Madness.
The Favorites: Zags, Bears, Wolverines
Gonzaga and Baylor were the consensus odds favorites coming into the tournament. At the end of February, both teams were undefeated, but Baylor held a slight edge at +250 odds versus Gonzaga at +275 odds to win March Madness. Michigan was also near the top of the futures board at +450 odds.
Baylor had a slight misstep after they missed games due to COVID-19 postponements. They returned to action a little sluggish and lost their first game of the season against Kansas. In the Big 12 conference tournament finals, Oklahoma State spanked Baylor. Sometimes head coaches would prefer a loss before March Madness because it helps to refocus a team.
Gonzaga has never won a March Madness title, despite all of their dominant teams over the last 20 years. This could finally be the year that Mark Few’s Zags break through to the winner’s circle.
“We’ve definitely seen the games going on, but you know, it’s March and anything can happen,” said Gonzaga’s Drew Timme. “We’re treating this game like we’re a 16-seed and we’re the underdog. You’ve gotta bring that fire. All it takes is one good game and you can be out. We’re bringing our all, every single game.”
Gonzaga has yet to lose a game this season. The Zags are attempting to become the first team to win a championship and finish the season with a perfect record since the 1976 Indiana Hoosiers. Since 1979, four other teams entered March Madness without a loss, yet all of them failed to win the championship and had their perfect seasons ruined. Gonzaga is the consensus odds favorite to win March Madness in both Las Vegas and at offshore books.
Houston Cougars on the Prowl
The Houston Cougars had a sensational team last season, but never had a chance to win a title when 2020 March Madness was canceled due to the pandemic. The Cougars flew under the radar this season with teams from the Big Ten and Big 12 garnering most of the attention. Houston saw their March Madness odds jump from +1400 last month to +800 heading into the Sweet 16.
Michigan is the only Big Ten team remaining in March Madness out of the nine teams that were invited. The Big Ten was probably overrated, but the Wolverines are still in the hunt for a championship. Juwan Howard never won a March Madness title as a player at Michigan, but he has a shot at one as a head coach. You can back Michigan at +1000 odds.
SEC Sleepers: Bama and Arkansas
Keep an eye on the Crimson Tide, who came into March Madness as the #5 ranked team in the country. They’re one of the most dangerous SEC teams still in the mix. Bama’s odds moved from +1800 to +1000. Bama had a slight scare against Rick Pitino and Iona in the first round when they won, but didn’t cover. Bama helped knock out one of those overrated Big Ten teams when they defeated #10 Maryland by nearly 20 points in the second round.
Arkansas headed into the tournament as a #3 seed, but they were ranked #10 overall in the last AP Top 25 Poll. As a #3 seed, they picked off #14 Colgate in the first round. Numerous prognosticators, including OG, suggested that Colgate’s high-octane offense could pull off a Cinderella upset over #3 Arkansas in the opening round. But nope! The Razorbacks held off the Raiders. In the second round, Arkansas survived a scare against #6 Texas Tech with a 2-point victory that came down to the wire and a missed layup by Texas Tech. Arkansas is now +2000 odds to win March Madness.