The first round of the NCAA Tournament tips off on Friday, March 19, and our West Region picks are in at BetRivers.com. The No. 1 seed in the West Region is undefeated Gonzaga, and the Bulldogs have the bracket set up for them to coast into the Final Four. With No. Iowa struggling and No. 3 Kansas having had to withdraw from the Big 12 Tournament due to COVID, there isn’t much to suggest that Gonzaga is in trouble. But the NCAA Tournament is rarely predictable, which makes the 2021 bracket all the more interesting.
2021 is not the easiest year for the online sports betting PA NCAA tournament. The pandemic still hits hard the sports world. Stay updated with the latest news regarding the NCAA tournament in the US.
Longtime national college basketball writer Rob Dauster, the co-founder of The Field of 68 Network, previews his West Region picks and breaks down the best bets to make along the way.
Read below for a breakdown of the West Region picks, preview and odds.
- Texas Southern, Appalachian State, and Wichita State all win in First Four. Was +523, Now +625
- Over 5.5 games go into OT in the entire NCAA Tournament. Was -110. Now +105
- Any team to win by 40+ points in the NCAA Tournament. Was +200. Now +235
- Baylor or Iowa to score the most points in the NCA Tournament. Was +150. Now +175
- Michigan State to win, Over 139.5 total game points vs. UCLA. Was +295. Now +340
- Gonzaga, Baylor and Michigan all reach the Final Four. Was +656. Now +750
- Winthrop to beat Villanova or Oregon State to beat Tennessee. Was -134. Now -115
- St. Bonaventure to beat LSU. Was +107. Now +120
NCAA Tournament Predictions: West Region Picks, Preview, Odds
#1 Gonzaga (26-0) vs. #16 Norfolk State/#16 Appalachian State
Date/Time/TV: Saturday, March 20. 9:20 p.m. ET (TBS)
#8 Oklahoma (15-10) vs. #9 Missouri (16-9)
Date/Time/TV: Saturday, March 20. 7:25 p.m. ET (TNT)
Moneyline: Oklahoma -112 ML, Missouri -107 ML
Spread: Missouri -0.5
Over/Under: 140 points
Click here for the full list of Oklahoma-Missouri odds.
It’s always fun when the 8-9 matchup ends up being a pair of teams that both struggled mightily down the stretch of the season. Is anyone excited to bet on either of these teams or even watch this game?
For my month, I think the advantage here lies with Oklahoma. I trust their perimeter defenders to be able to take away Xavier Pinson and Dru Smith, and the fact that Oklahoma plays a gapping defense that encourages you to shoot over the top is a good thing against a Missouri team that shoots 32 percent from three. Throw in that the Sooners don’t foul against a team that has drawn a ton of fouls this season, and I think Oklahoma ends up advancing.
#5 Creighton (20-8) vs. #12 UC-Santa Barbara (22-4)
Date/Time/TV: Saturday, March 20. 3:30 p.m. ET (TruTV)
Moneyline: Creighton -278ML, UCSB +225
Spread: Creighton -6.5
Over/Under: 138 points
Click here for the full list of Creighton-UCSB odds.
This depends on two things: How worried are you after the loss to Georgetown, and do you think that there is still a lingering impact from Greg McDermott’s comments last month?
I think that there is, and I believe that the blowout loss to the Hoyas was a result of Creighton rolling over once they found themselves in a hole. And look, this is a tough matchup. UCSB has a roster full of high major players, former blue-chip recruits that transferred after their first stop. Their best player, JaQuori McLaughlin, is primed to become a star this month. I think the Gauchos win outright.
Two more things to note:
- The last three Big West teams that were top 100 in KenPom are 3-0 as 12/13 seeds in the first round.
- This game is going to be played in a dome that will essentially be empty. All Creighton does is shoot threes.
#4 Virginia (18-6) vs. #13 Ohio (16-7)
Date/Time/TV: Saturday, March 20. 7:15 p.m. ET (TruTV)
Moneyline: Virginia -315 ML, Ohio +255 ML
Spread: Virginia -7
Over/Under: 131 points
Click here for the full list of Virginia-Ohio odds.
It’s going to be fascinating to see just how far this line drops. It opened at Virginia (-10.5), and I don’t foresee it slowing down any time soon. Why? Because the Wahoos are still in quarantine after a positive test in the ACC tournament. They still have not arrived in Indianapolis, and they will not get there until Friday. They aren’t practicing. They are just waiting for enough time and positive tests to come through that they will be allowed to travel.
That’s going to be a tough thing to overcome against a team with a pair of elite guards, including a future pro in Jason Preston.
#6 Southern Cal (22-7) vs. #11 Wichita State/#11 Drake
Date/Time/TV: Saturday, March 20. 4:30 p.m. ET (TNT)
#3 Kansas (20-8) vs. #14 Eastern Washington (16-7)
Date/Time/TV: Saturday, March 20. 1:15 p.m. ET (TBS)
Moneyline: Kansas -625 ML, Eastern Washington +450 ML
Spread: Kansas -10.5
Over/Under: 147.5 points
Click here for the full list of Kansas-Eastern Washington odds.
I like EWU here. Jalen Wilson is not going to be playing David McCormack has been in isolation and has not been practicing. The Eagles have played Washington State, Arizona, Oregon, and Saint Mary’s tough this season, losing three of those four games by five points or less. My only concern? They want to play fast, and the more possessions in a game the less likely it is that an underdog can keep things close.
#7 Oregon (20-6) vs. #10 VCU (19-7)
Date/Time/TV: Saturday, March 20. 9:57 p.m. ET (TNT)
Moneyline: Oregon -215 ML, VCU +175 ML
Spread: Oregon -5
Over/Under: 137 points
Click here for the full list of Oregon-VCU odds.
I actually like Oregon quite a bit as a threat to make a run, but laying six to a VCU team that is a difficult matchup is just too many points. The Rams are really good defensively, they force a ton of turnovers and they not only have a roster full of guys that are the toughest dudes on the floor, but they also happen to have a pro on their roster in Bones Hyland.
This line should be Oregon (-2.5) or (-3). If you can get it at (-5.5), you’re getting quite a bit of value.
#2 Iowa (21-8) vs. #15 Grand Canyon (17-6)
Date/Time/TV: Saturday, March 20. 6:25 p.m. ET (TBS)
Moneyline: Iowa -1430 ML, Grand Canyon +850 ML
Spread: Iowa -14.5
Over/Under: 144.5 points
Click here for the full list of Iowa-Grand Canyon odds.
As weird as this is going to sound, I’m not really sure how Grand Canyon is going to score on Iowa. They get so much of their offensive through post touches and as good as Asbjorn Midtgaard has been this season, I don’t think he’s going to be able to overpower Luka Garza in the post. I’ve discussed this before, but the Hawkeyes are actually much improved on the defensive side of the ball. They’ve been top ten nationally for the last six weeks. Combine that with the fact that Iowa is going to play four-out against the two-big lineup of GCU, and I think the Hawkeyes will run away with this.