NCAA Tournament 2021: Tips for Odds, Over-Under Scores for Monday's Elite 8

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistMarch 29, 2021

Villanova guard Caleb Daniels (14) protects the ball from Baylor guard Adam Flagler (10) in the second half of a Sweet 16 game in the NCAA men's college basketball tournament at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Saturday, March 27, 2021. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)
AJ Mast/Associated Press

The Baylor Bears and Houston Cougars are one win each away from setting up an all-Texas clash in the Final Four. 

Baylor and Houston are both favored in their respective Elite Eight games on Monday, but they face tricky defensive assignments. 

Baylor has to deal with the fast-paced Arkansas Razorbacks offense, while Houston has to shut down the red-hot Oregon State Beavers. 

Both the Bears and Cougars can win their contests through tight defense, but that is something their opponents can also rely on to come out victorious. 

Oregon State used a zone defense to slow down the Loyola Chicago Ramblers, and Arkansas held its three NCAA men's basketball tournament opponents to 70 points or fewer. 

With that in mind, the under trend that reared itself during the Sweet 16 could extend into the Elite Eight, especially in the Arkansas-Baylor game, where the projected total is 148 points. 


Monday Elite Eight Schedule

No. 2 Houston (-7.5) vs. No. 12 Oregon State (Over/Under: 129) (7:15 p.m. ET, CBS)

No. 1 Baylor (-8) vs. No. 3 Arkansas (O/U: 148) (9:57 p.m. ET, CBS)


Odds Tips

Take A Look At The Baylor-Arkansas Under

The under was the trendy play in the Sweet 16. It went 6-0 in the first six games on Saturday and Sunday. The over hit in the final two contests. 

That trend could extend into Monday's nightcap because of how well both teams play defense. Arkansas and Baylor combined to hold five opponents beneath 70 points. 

Baylor has had the better defense of the two sides, as its highest concession was 63 points to the Wisconsin Badgers in the second round. 

The under could also be aided by Arkansas' propensity to play from behind. It was forced to grind out each of its three wins in Indianapolis. 

Eric Musselman's side needed a second-half surge to get past the Colgate Raiders in the first round and then relied on its defense to take down the Texas Tech Red Raiders and Oral Roberts Golden Eagles.

In their last two games, Arkansas went 5-for-26 from three-point range. It shot 11.1 percent from deep in Saturday's Sweet 16 victory. 

If Arkansas once again struggles from beyond the arc, it will have to attack the basket in a similar fashion to the Villanova Wildcats. 

Villanova was aggressive with its guards driving into the paint, but Baylor adjusted in the second half and held the Wildcats to 51 points. 

If Baylor succeeds in stopping Arkansas' penetration into the paint, it could force the SEC side into plenty of empty possessions. 

If Baylor limits Arkansas' paint presence, the Bears could pull away through their terrific trio of guards in Davion Mitchell, MaCio Teague and Jared Butler. 

Even if the Bears eclipse the 70-point mark, that does not mean the over will hit. None of Baylor's first three NCAA tournament games reached 140 points.  


Consider Oregon State To Cover

Oregon State has been the most profitable team in March. 

The Beavers have been the moneyline underdog in their last six games and cashed in on each occasion.

Wayne Tinkle's side is in the same position on Monday as a +255 (bet $100 to win $255) underdog against Houston.

The Pac-12 squad may not win outright against Houston's tough defense, but it has a chance to cover the 7.5-point spread because of its defensive play.

On Saturday, the Beavers threw off Loyola Chicago by going into a zone, and they took away Cameron Krutwig's impact through Warith Alatishe. 

If Alatishe affects shots around the rim, Houston will have to look for different answers to approach Oregon State's defense, even if it is not in the zone. 

Houston could struggle at first since it shoots 36.1 percent from three-point range. It is also a 74.1 percent free-throw shooting team. That could hurt the Cougars if they attack the paint and reach the charity stripe. 

Kelvin Sampson's team could turn Monday's opener into an ugly defensive battle with its length that frustrated the Syracuse Orange on Saturday. Syracuse went 5-for-23 from three-point range and managed just 46 points.

If Houston contains Oregon State's shooters in the way it limited Buddy Boeheim's output, the under will be in play. 

However, the Beavers can stay within eight points through Ethan Thompson, who has 61 points in Indianapolis. 

If Thompson remains hot, Oregon State should be able to deal with whatever struggles are caused by Houston's length.

Oregon State may not win outright again, but it could at least make you money on the spread if it drops out.


Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

Statistics obtained from ESPN.com.


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