NCAA Tournament 2021: Tips for Odds, Over/Under Scores for Tuesday's Elite 8March 30, 2021
NCAA Tournament 2021: Tips for Odds, Over/Under Scores for Tuesday's Elite 8
The final two tickets to the 2021 men's Final Four will be handed out Tuesday night.
Oddsmakers already have a hunch where they will go.
Two top seeds are on the Tuesday slate. Would you be surprised to learn both are favored in their respective contests?
Of course not. But each has a frisky opponent on its hands, and neither is projected to roll to a double-digit blowout. And in a tournament literally defined by Madness, the chances for the underdogs to cover or win outright cannot be dismissed.
After laying out the latest lines and over/under totals, via DraftKings sportsbook, we'll provide our top betting tip for each Tuesday tilt.
Latest Lines, Schedule for Tuesday's Slate
No. 6 USC vs. No. 1 Gonzaga
Time: 7:15 p.m. ET
Line: Gonzaga -9
No. 11 UCLA vs. No. 1 Michigan
Time: 9:57 p.m. ET
Line: Michigan -6.5
USC-Gonzaga Tip: Take the Trojans and the Points
It's easy to fall in love with Gonzaga, as it's probably the most talented team Mark Few has coached.
The Bulldogs' next loss will be their first, meaning opportunity is knocking for perfection. Jalen Suggs, a top-five-pick-to-be in the upcoming NBA draft, is a dynamic lead guard. Corey Kispert, another possible lottery pick, might have the most lethal three-ball in the country. Drew Timme anchors the interior. Joel Ayayi and Andrew Nembhard might have NBA futures of their own.
Gonzaga has yet to seriously sweat in this tournament, having dispatched each of its first three opponents by at least 16 points. Oddsmakers clearly like this team, and it's not hard to see why.
Saying that, USC is positioned to push Gonzaga harder than the point spread suggests.
The Trojans have been just as (or more) impressive in the tournament. After beating Drake by 16 points, they bull-rushed Kansas in a 34-point blowout, then handled an Oregon team that had just defeated second-seeded Iowa.
USC has its own top-five draft prospect in Evan Mobley, who controls the middle with his older brother, Isaiah. Guards Tahj Eaddy and Isaiah White balance the attack on the perimeter. KenPom.com rates this as the best defense left in the tournament at fourth overall.
The Trojans might have the horses to give the Bulldogs trouble defensively, and Mobley is a matchup problem like few players Gonzaga has faced.
Our crystal ball likes the 'Zags to win this game, but it'll be a nail-biter making a Trojans cover the smart play.
UCLA-Michigan Tip: Play the Over
Because UCLA started its tournament run in the First Four, these clubs have played seven combined games so far. Six of the seven produced point totals of 134-plus, and four of them cover this game's 136-point over/under by at least a dozen points.
While that doesn't guarantee this game will do the same, it does show the firepower between these teams. Considering KenPom slots Michigan seventh in offense and UCLA 11th, the numbers agree with the eye test.
The Wolverines figured to miss the scoring punch of senior forward Isaiah Livers (foot), but so far it hasn't been an issue. They've averaged 81.3 points per game in Indianapolis and had five different players pace them in points or tie for the lead: Mike Smith, Eli Brooks, Chaundee Brown, Hunter Dickinson and Brandon Johns Jr. Absent from that group is Franz Wagner, a possible 2021 lottery pick and their third-leading scorer on the season.
The Bruins have had to sweat out a pair of overtime wins (against Michigan State and Alabama), but their offense has mostly delivered. They shot better than 46 percent from the field and 36 percent from distance in their first three wins, and while they missed both marks against the Crimson Tide, they still tallied 88 points thanks to 20 free throws (on 25 attempts) and 15 offensive rebounds.
UCLA can't match Michigan's scoring depth, but it has a pair of fire-balling guards in sophomores Jaime Jaquez Jr. and Johnny Juzang. Each has produced a 27-point outing in this tournament (Juzang also had a 23-point performance), and they're shooting a combined 17-of-43 from three (39.5 percent) through four games.
A step-up in competition always threatens to slow down offensive production, but oddsmakers are underselling how quickly and efficiently these teams can score. Hit the over and have fun celebrating all made baskets on both sides.
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