NCAA BASKETBALL BETTING 2021
The 2019-20 had a sour ending as the coronavirus pandemic canceled the NCAA Tournament. For now, we'll have to look ahead to 2021 to look at the deatils as to when we'll see the next edition of March Madness.
The all-important Selection Sunday will take place on March 14th, 2021. That means the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament will officially get underway just a few days later. Let's take a brief look at what the calendar looks like for the 2021 NCAA Tournament to get a better idea of the dates.
In total, there will be 32 automatic bids and 36 at-large bids for the 68-team NCAA Tournament. The automatic bids go to the winners of the conference tournaments. The 36 at-large bids go to the best teams not to win those conference tournaments.
The smaller conferences play their tournaments in the first week of March. The so-called “Power Five” conferences with major state schools (ACC, Big Ten, SEC, etc.) play their conference tournaments in the second week of March, leading up to Selection Sunday, March 14, when the 68 teams will be announced for the Big Dance. The four regions with the seeding and brackets for the whole tournament will be unveiled at 6 p.m. Eastern time, 3 Pacific.
The tournament begins with the First Four in Dayton, Ohio, on Tuesday, March 16, and Wednesday, March 17. Two games will be played on each night, one between a pair of No. 16 seeds, with the winner facing a No. 1 seed two days later in the round of 64. The other games will be games between “bubble teams” which barely made the field of 68 as at-large teams. Those bubble teams have No. 11 or No. 12 seeds.
After the First Four ends, the Round of 64 begins with large-scale action on Thursday, March 18, and Friday, March 19. The Round of 32 unfolds on Saturday, March 20, and Sunday, March 21. The locations for those games will be in Providence, Rhode Island; Boise, Idaho; Detroit, Michigan; Dallas, Texas; Wichita, Kansas; Lexington, Kentucky; Raleigh, North Carolina; San Jose, California.
Then comes the Sweet 16, otherwise referred to as the regional semifinals, in the second week of the tournament. This year’s regional semifinals will take place on Thursday, March 25, and Friday, March 26. The winners of the Sweet 16 move to the Elite Eight for the regional finals on Saturday, March 27, and Sunday, March 28. The locations for these games will be in Minneapolis, Minnesota; Denver, Colorado; Memphis, Tennessee; Brooklyn, New York.
The survivors advance to the 2021 Final Four in Indianapolis. The national semifinals will be on Saturday, April 3. The national championship game will be Monday, April 5 in the Lucas Oil Stadium.
See our guide on March Madness
Now that you have the calendar for what’s ahead, let’s consider some futures bets and some college basketball lines.
NCAA BASKETBALL FUTURES FOR 2021
The 2021 March Madness futures have opened up and while it's still early in the offseason, the Virginia Cavaliers have been posted as the +900 favorite. It was actually the Gonzaga Bulldogs who opened up as the favorites at +900 but they've since shifted back to +1000. Virginia has gone in the opposite direction, opening up at +1000 but shifting down to +900. These are all quite minor changes and with the Kansas Jayhawks (+1000) and Michigan State Spartans (+1000) right there too, it really shows that there are four teams who are all basically posted as the favorites for the 2021 NCAA Tournament.
Odds to Win NCAA Tournament 2021
The Virginia Cavaliers will be one of the top programs in the country next season as the team enters the year as the favorite to win the ACC. They've got the No. 12 recruiting class coming, including four-star win Jabari Abdur-Rahim as well as point guard Reece Beekman. This is a team that always plays strong defense and is disciplined, and deserves to be the favorite right now.
Gonzaga deserves to be in the favorite's conversation too as they are coming off a phenomenal season. They lost Rui Hachimura and Brandon Clarke last season and were supposed to lose a step. Instead, they still won 30 games and probably would have been a No. 1 seed. Guys like Filip Petrusev and Corey Kispert will lead the way for the 2020-21 team.
Michigan State is among the favorites at +1000 but they have some work to do – especially in replacing star point guard Cassius Winston. However, do you really doubt the Spartans can reload? A pair of four-star recruits in Mady Sissoko and A.J. Hoggard will be big parts of the team's success next season.
Keep an eye on the Kansas Jayhawks throughout the offseason. They're currently at +1000 but that could change a lot based on who returns. Udoka Azibuike is gone and Devon Dotson likely too. However, if Dotson somehow returns or even if he doesn't, the Jayhawks have a phenomenal coach in Bill Self. While most power rankings have team lower, the oddsmakers seem to think they have an excellent change to win it all in 2021.