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NCAA Tournament 2021 Odds: Gonzaga, Baylor, Illinois Headline Early Favorites

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 15, 2021

Gonzaga guard Jalen Suggs (1), forward Drew Timme (2) and guard Andrew Nembhard (3) prepare to defend during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against BYU in Spokane, Wash., Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)
Young Kwak/Associated Press

Unbeaten Gonzaga is the slight betting favorite in the 2021 NCAA men's basketball tournament.

The Zags are +205 (bet $100 to win $205) at DraftKings Sportsbook, with Baylor (+500) following closely behind. Illinois (+700) and Michigan (+800) round out the No. 1 seeds in the 68-team bracket.

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The oddsmakers followed the selection committee's hierarchy. Gonzaga claimed the No. 1 overall seed, followed by the Bears, Fighting Illini and Wolverines.

Outside of the No. 1 seeds, Iowa (+1700), Ohio State (+2000), Texas (+2000) and Alabama (+2000) have the top odds, with Oklahoma State (+2500) not far behind.

For Oklahoma State, the Cade Cunningham hype trail is careening off the rails.

The Cowboys lost to the Longhorns in the Big 12 championship Saturday, and they sit 30th on KenPom.com. Cunningham is likely the biggest reason for their high position on the odds chart. The freshman guard is averaging 20.2 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.6 assists while shooting 41.2 percent from beyond the arc.

There's no question Cunningham is living up to the hype as the likely No. 1 pick in the 2021 NBA draft, but laying down money on Oklahoma State to win it all would be a risky play.

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At the opposite end of the spectrum, Wisconsin (+6000) might be getting overlooked a bit.

The Badgers are allowing 64.3 points per game and holding opponents to 42.3 percent shooting. KenPom.com also ranks Greg Gard's squad 326th in adjusted tempo. A methodical style and a solid defense could be the winning recipe to upset Baylor in the second round.

One benefit of backing Wisconsin is you should know pretty quickly whether your investment will reap any dividends.

Full odds can be seen at DraftKings Sportsbook.

            

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