The 2020-21 college basketball season continues to fight through the coronavirus and march on toward the ultimate goal – March Madness 2021. Last year, college basketball’s biggest event was cancelled because of the virus.
The NCAA wants to ensure this year’s tournament doesn’t suffer the same fate. It was announced that this year’s event will be held entirely in Indianapolis, site of this year’s Final Four. Six different venues will host all of the tournament games which begin on March 18.
Bettors should be prepared as things can change in an instant. Already, the NCAA has shifted the schedule with all First Four games on March 18 and all first round games on Friday, March 19, and Saturday March 20, instead of the usual Thursday and Friday first round.
New March Madness schedule announced, and explained – January 20, 2021
No. 1 Seeds – March Madness 2021
No. 1 seeds tend to do very well in tournament play. A No. 1 has won March Madness 20 times in the past 34 years. Top seeds have an overall record of 454-115.
Virginia, which is actually the defending national champion, is the only No. 1 seed to ever lose a first-round game. The Cavaliers lost to UMBC in 2018 and came back and won it all in 2019.
Each of the last three NCAA champions have been No. 1 seeds – Virginia, Villanova, and North Carolina. Since 2007, No. 1 seeds have won 10 of 13 tournament titles.
Click here to read – Getting Ready for March Madness 2021.
It’s what makes March Madness one of the most-watched and most-bet sporting events – the upsets. UMBC’s upset of Virginia was one of the best though not the biggest in terms of point spread.
That honor belongs to Norfolk State in 2012 which defeated Missouri 86-84 as a 21.5-point underdog. UMBC was a 20.5-point dog when it beat Virginia and Santa Clara was a 20-point underdog when the school upset Arizona 64-61 in 1993.
Bettors should keep an eye on the No. 5-No. 12 games in the first round. The 12th seed in a region is usually a high-performing mid-major or a very good team from one of the power conferences. Since 1985, 50 No. 12 seeds have won first-round games 50 times (35.7 percent).
Three of four No. 12s – Oregon, Liberty, and Murray State – won in 2019. It is typical for at least one No. 12 seed to win a first round game.
Bettors should also be on the lookout in the No. 4-No. 13 games. In the past two tournaments, three No. 13 seeds won a first-round game.
March Madness 2021 Favorites
Gonzaga is the overall favorite at March Madness 2021 to win its first-ever national championship. The Bulldogs have made 21 straight tournament appearances but they have only reached the Final Four once (2017). Gonzaga (14-0) is listed at +500 to win at sportsbooks and has been ranked No. 1 since the preseason.
Since 1985, only six preseason No. 1s have ended up winning March Madness. Baylor, also unbeaten at 12-0, is the nation’s No. 2 team and is listed at +800 to win the school’s first NCAA championship.
Be sure to use a couple sportsbooks to compare betting lines. It’s the easiest way to increase your winning percentage.
Mid Majors to Watch
There always seems to be at least one mid-major program that makes a splash come tournament time. A few years ago, it was Loyola from the Missouri Valley Conference that ended up in the Final Four as a No. 11 seed.
This year, during March Madness 2021, the Ramblers could be back. They are 12-3 overall and 7-1 in conference play. Bettors should be aware that Loyola is 10-3 ATS.
If it’s not Loyola, the mid-major surprise could be Drake, also of the Missouri Valley Conference. The Bulldogs are 13-0 and an impressive 11-0 ATS. They have a win over Kansas State, but Drake had almost a month off due to COVID. They played on Jan. 4, but didn’t play again until Jan. 26.