2021 March Madness Prop Bets and Predictions
Everyone loves a good prop bet. It takes the pressure of researching every game off and allows you to focus in on one or two things that you would like to see happen. Instead of betting on all 67 games the 2021 NCAA Tournament offers, you can select from the prop bets below and still enjoy the drama as it unfolds. However, let’s not get it twisted. The March Madness prop options pale in comparison to that of the Super Bowl, but there is still money to be made if you know what you’re looking for and if you can find the right lines. Let’s take a look at some of the best prop bets I’ve found leading up to tip-off.
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Will a No. 1 seed Win the National Championship? This year the “yes” option checks in at -200. That means that Gonzaga, Illinois, Michigan and Baylor are a combined 67.77 percent probability to win the tournament. In the 35 years of the tournament since it expanded to 64 teams, a top seed has won 23 times. This tournament feels extremely top-heavy to me, and I’d be inclined to lay that price in hopes that we can get at least two No. 1 seeds in the Final Four. Gonzaga has been dominant this season, and they own a perfect record of 26-0. They are the real deal. And while it would be anti-climactic for them to kill every team on their way to a national title, I feel like that’s what’s in store for us this year.
How Many No. 1 Seeds Will Make the Final Four?: In a perfect world, the answer to this question would be four. Gonzaga, Illinois, Baylor and Michigan are all No. 1 seeds for a reason. They are very talented teams and should – on paper – have the easiest path to the Final Four. However, since the tournament expanded to a 64-team tournament, only once in 35 years have all four No. 1 seeds made the Final Four. If you believe that trend can be bucked and happen this year, you’d be looking at a nice +2500 price tag.
However, there has been more tournaments with no No. 1 seeds in the Final Four, and you’d be getting +900 on that play, which seems to me like a terrible bet this year given how good Gonzaga has been all season long. I’m penciling them into a Final Four spot for sure. Given that, you can go with one at +190, or you can hope that one of Michigan, Baylor or Illinois get hot and grab two at +150.
If you like this bet but want to keep it simpler, you can find “over” 1.5 teams at -165 at your various sportsbooks.
Highest Point Total by One Team in the Round of 64 - over/under 97.5: The total for this prop is extremely high, and we are a bit surprised that it’s juiced up to -185 for the “over”. In last year’s tournament, nobody cracked the 100-point mark, and just one team managed to go over this line. Purdue notched 99 points in their win over Tennessee in the Sweet 16, but that game needed overtime, where Purdue scored 17 of their 99 points. In 2018, only one team cracked the mark, and that was Xavier with 102. The year prior, three teams broke the 100-point threshold. I’m not saying it won’t be done given how teams like to fire from beyond the arc at will, but heavily juicing the over is making me want to play the “under” at +140. Remember, no team has geographical advantages this year as every game is being played in Indiana. I expect teams to take some time to adjust to the sightlines, and as the tournament progresses, defense will come to the forefront.
Will a West Region Team win the 2021 NCAA Tournament? If you guessed that Gonzaga was in this region of the tournament, you’d be spot on. Gonzaga is by far the best team in the tournament, but we’ve been high on Gonzaga for the last handful of years and each year they’ve found a new way to disappoint us. The odds of a West Region team winning the tournament is “yes” +140 or “no” -185. I believe this is Gonzaga’s year to shine. They didn’t go 26-0 by fluke. And if you look at the futures board, you have Baylor, Illinois and Michigan right behind them in the odds, then a major drop off to the next set of teams. It should be straight-forward for the Zags until the Final Four, where they may run into Michigan. From there, we may be able to hedge out of our “Yes” bet for a good price.
Will a Big Ten Team Win the Tournament?: This one is interesting. The Big Ten has been a deep and competitive conference for years, but they have not won the tournament since 2000. That's a serious drought for them as a group. The Big Ten leads the way with nine bids this year, and the top four teams from the Big Ten can all get hot at the right time and pull off the mini upset. I mean, Michigan and Illinois No. 1 seeds for a reason. They are great teams. Iowa is a No. 2 seed, and they are also a good team but will have to go through Gonzaga in the Elite Eight. Ohio State is also a No. 2 and will have to go through Baylor’s region. Purdue and Wisconsin could be dangerous teams in the South and Midwest regions, respectively, but I think this one comes down to Michigan or Illinois, to which I say… maybe.
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