Betting the 2021 Final Four
The 2021 NCAA tournament will soon be down to just four. The Final Four is one of the great events in all of sports. It’s also one of the more popular events for sports bettors.
Men’s College Basketball National Championship Xbet.ag Odds Update (31 /03/2021)
The entire three-week tournament we know as March Madness will likely result in somewhere around $10 billion in wagers, both legally and offshore though that number could be even higher. For bettors looking to capitalize on betting the Final Four, there are some things to consider.
The Futures Market
Bettors can still get in on the national championship winner. Gonzaga, of course, is still the favorite though their odds continue to drop the closer we get to the Final Four. The Bulldogs, who have been the favorite the entire season, are down to +125 followed by Baylor at +400. Prior to entering the tournament, Gonzaga was listed at +235 to win it all.
Trends After 55 Games
Through the 2021 NCAA tournament’s first 55 games, favorites are 34-17 straight up with three games not on the board and one was a pick ‘em. Favorites are 28-26 against the spread with one pick ‘em.
What is interesting is whether or not the Under will continue to trend. With eight teams remaining in the tournament, only three schools have a record that favors the Under. Arkansas is 15-14-1 to the Under, Houston 14-15, and Michigan is 11-16.
The No. 1 Seed Advantage
Illinois was upset in Round 2 of the tournament by Loyola. Typically, at least one No. 1 and one No. 2 seed lose during the first weekend of March Madness. The remaining three No. 1 seeds were still in the tournament as the teams prepared for the Elite Eight.
No. 1 seeds also excel in the second round having won 124 of 143 games since 1985. Top seeds make the Sweet Sixteen 81 percent of the time and No. 1 seeds have won more championship games (22) than any other seed. The last three national champions – Virginia, Villanova, and North Carolina – were all No. 1 seeds.
Gonzaga, Baylor, and Michigan could all wind up in the Final Four. Typically, at least one No. 1 seed makes it to the Final Four. Only once – 2008 – did all four No. 1 seeds make it.
Betting the Final
Since 1985, there has been only one double-digit spread in a national championship game. That was in 1996 when Kentucky was favored by 14 over Syracuse. The Orange covered losing to the Wildcats by nine.
It’s important to note that each of the last three national champions have covered the spread. In 2019, Virginia was a 1.5-point favorite and won 85-77. Villanova in 2018 (-7) and North Carolina (-1) in 2017 both covered as well.
Also of note is that since 2003 there have been only five times where a Final Four team has been favored by seven or more points in a semifinal game. In three of those games, the underdog has covered.
In the past ten championship games, the spread has been more than four points just three times. Villanova was a 7-point favorite over Michigan in 2018 and won 79-62. Kentucky beat Kansas 67-59 as a 6.5-point favorite in 2012. Duke (-7) in 2010 was the only favorite not to cover.
The biggest upset in a national championship game in terms of the point spread occurred in 1999. Connecticut was a 9.5-point underdog to Duke and won 77-74. Interestingly, both teams were No. 1 seeds. Since then, there have been only four times where the national championship game featured two No. 1 seeds.
The biggest spread in those four games was in 2007 when Florida was a -4 favorite over Ohio State. The Gators won 84-76 to claim their second consecutive national title, the last team in NCAA history to do so.
Andy has been writing and posting about offshore sportsbooks for over 15 years. He's also an active sportsbook bonus seeker and seasoned online gambler on US sports.
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