Elite Eight Picks

The first weekend of the NCAA Tournament is almost finished, and with one day remaining, it’s time to present our Monday Second Round picks at BetRivers.com. The first three days of the 2021 NCAA Tournament have been excellent, with thrilling comebacks and star performances galore. There are Cinderellas still dancing, and while plenty of brackets are well beyond busted, there are still a bevy of opportunities for betting action and big wins.

The NCAA tournament had an amazing beginning this year. You should consider online sports betting on the NCAA tournament but make sure you keep yourself updated with the latest odds, picks and predictions.

Longtime national college basketball writer Rob Dauster, the co-founder of The Field of 68 Network, previews his Monday second round picks as we get set to wrap up the second round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament.

Click here for the complete list of NCAA Tournament Second Round odds, tournament futures and prop bets.

Read below for a breakdown of NCAA Tournament predictions and Monday second round picks.



#2 IOWA (22-8) vs. #7 OREGON (20-6), 12:10 p.m. ET
MONEYLINE: Iowa -215 ML, Oregon +180 ML
SPREAD: Iowa -5.5
OVER/UNDER: 148 points
Click here for the full list of Iowa-Oregon odds.

My initial read on this game was that Iowa would roll, that Oregon will not be able to defend Luka Garza 1-on-1 in the post, which will force the Oregon defense into rotation when they inevitably have to double-team him.

And I do believe that this is still true.

But there are a couple of things that have made me believe that Oregon is the play here. For starters, the line has already moved 1.5 points from where it opened. But beyond that, the more I think about the matchup, the more I believe that Iowa is going to have some real issues defending Oregon. The Ducks are one of the best three-point shooting teams in the country. They will play five guys that all shooting better than 36 percent from three. They are going to make Luka Garza defend on the perimeter in a way that he hasn’t had to do all season long, and that’s going to be a problem. So I’ll be on the Ducks here.

I also think the over is great value here. We don’t know how either of these teams will get stops, Iowa wants to play fast and Oregon likes to press. Throw in the fact that KenPom projects this total at 154 instead of 147.5, and all signs point to points.

#1 GONZAGA (27-0) vs. #8 OKLAHOMA (16-10), 2:40 p.m. ET
MONEYLINE: Gonzaga -1430 ML, Oklahoma +850 ML
SPREAD: Gonzaga -14.5
OVER/UNDER: 154 points
Click here for the full list of Gonzaga-Oklahoma odds.

I’ve said since the bracket was released that my expectation was for Gonzaga to run through the event, win the title and cut down the nets without having a single game end as a single-digit difference. This line is just 14.5, so logic indicates that Gonzaga is the side that I’ll be on.

I think the matchup says it as well. Oklahoma will likely be without De’Vion Harmon, who is one of their best on-ball defenders. Not having him in a game where Jalen Suggs will be playing on the other team would be a major blow. Combine that with the fact that Gonzaga shooting 37 percent from three as a team and Oklahoma’s gapping defense allows quite a few open jumpers, and the only play that makes sense here is Gonzaga.

#11 UCLA (19-9) vs. #14 ABILENE CHRISTIAN (24-4), 5:15 p.m. ET
MONEYLINE: UCLA -210 ML, Abilene Christian +175 ML
OVER/UNDER: 132.5 points
Click here for the full list of UCLA-Abilene Christian odds.

I know how good Abilene Christian is, and while the performance against Texas did catch me by surprise, I do not think that we are going to see another upset. For starters, UCLA’s point guard play is much, much more solid than that of Texas. The mistake I made in backing the Longhorns was that the caliber of the player would outweigh ACU’s ability to create havoc on the ball defensively. Texas turns the ball over on more than 20 percent of their possessions. For UCLA, that number is 16.2 percent. Their three best perimeter players — Tyger Campbell, Johnny Juzang and Jaime Jaquez — are all good at protecting the rock. Throw in the fact that UCLA has players that can score in isolation and are top 40 nationally in defensive rebounding percentage, and I will be betting on the Bruins to cover.

#5 CREIGHTON (21-8) vs. #13 OHIO (17-7)
MONEYLINE: Creighton -240 ML, Ohio +195 ML
SPREAD: Creighton -5.5
OVER/UNDER: 149 points
Click here for the full list of Creighton-Ohio odds.

Ohio and Creighton are two teams that are built pretty similarly. Both are led by a ball-screen savvy, high-IQ lead guard that can put up big numbers in a hurry. Both like to space the floor and work out of ball-screens. Both tend to fade the offensive glass and neither are really all that good at forcing turnovers. So the question that you need to ask is this: Who is Marcus Zegarowski and Creighton really 5.5 points better than Ohio right now, given everything that team has dealt with the last three weeks?

I personally don’t think they are, so I will be on Ohio in this spot.

#1 MICHIGAN (21-4) vs. #8 LSU (19-9), 7:10 p.m. ET
MONEYLINE: Michigan -230 ML, LSU +185 ML
SPREAD: Michigan -5
OVER/UNDER: 148.5 points
Click here for the full list of Michigan-LSU odds.

Assuming that Isaiah Livers isn’t playing — and as of right now, there is no indication that he will be playing — then I think the value here is on LSU. The Tigers are, arguably, the more talented team here. They are going to be able to pull Hunter Dickinson away from the rim as effectively as any one in the Big Ten could. I’m not sure how Michigan is going to be able to stop all three of Trendon Watford, Cam Thomas and Javonte Smart if they are going to be playing Eli Brooks and Mike Smith together.

Now, the major concern here is going to be Hunter Dickinson. LSU does not have anyone that is even close to big enough to be able to deal with him. It’s going to be a major problem for a team that has not really proven the ability to consistently play defense this season. That’s a worry, but not as much of a worry as the absence of Livers is to Michigan.

#4 FLORIDA STATE (17-6) vs. #5 COLORADO (23-8), 7:45 p.m. ET
MONEYLINE: Florida State -110 ML, Colorado -108 ML
SPREAD: Florida State -1
OVER/UNDER: 141 points
Click here for the full list of Florida State-Colorado odds.

I know that Colorado looked like the Golden State Warriors on Saturday, but I think that their run comes to an end on Monday.

What Florida State does defensively is to switch all exchanges 1-through-5. Their entire defense is centered around the idea that you are not going to be able to beat them by running plays. They eliminate they. They, instead, dare you to try and win one-on-one. I don’t think Colorado has the horses for that. For starters, McKinley Wright is not a great perimeter shooter and is just 6-foot, meaning that he should have trouble when 7-foot Balsa Koprivica switches on to him. He won’t be raining bombs over the top of him, but will he be able to get into the lane and finish over the length? I don’t know.

The other part of it is that Colorado runs a lot of Blocker-Mover, an offense that relies heavily on pindowns and flare screens. Florida State’s switching neutralizes that.

So I like the Seminoles here.

#2 ALABAMA (25-6) vs. #10 MARYLAND (17-13), 8:45 p.m. ET
MONEYLINE: Alabama -250 ML, Maryland +195 ML
SPREAD: Alabama -5.5
OVER/UNDER: 138.5 points
Click here for the full list of Alabama-Maryland odds.

I love this matchup for Alabama. What Maryland does defensively is switch everything. They have a roster full of guys that are all more or less the same size, and their goal is to try and take you out of what you want to do offensively. They don’t let you run your stuff, and make you try and win one-on-one. Well, Nate Oats runs dribble-drive motion, which is an entire offense built around isolations and playing one-on-one. So I love Alabama here. This feels like a decent sell-high, buy-low spot.

#3 KANSAS (21-8) vs. #6 SOUTHERN CAL (23-7), 9:40 p.m. ET
MONEYLINE: Kansas -109 ML, USC -109 ML
SPREAD: Kansas -0.5
OVER/UNDER: 134.5 points
Click here for the full list of Kansas-USC odds.

I’ve gone back and forth so much on this game. I don’t think that I am going to have any action on it, because the questions about health and endurance for Kansas players coming off of COVID issues make it too much of a guess.

Here’s my thought process: In an ideal world, a healthy David McCormack will give Evan Mobley all kinds of problems, because he’ll back him into the lane, use his 275-pound frame and put Mobley into the rim. But if McCormack isn’t healthy enough to give 100% on every possession for 25-plus minutes, or if he has one of those games where he decides the only shot he can hit is a jump hook or a turnaround, then Mobley’s length and defensive acumen will be an enormous problem.

A functional McCormack is so important to what Kansas wants to do offensively. My guy says that he’ll be fine and to back Bill Self as a dog in this spot, but I just don’t have a great feel.