NCAA Final Four Betting Picks

by WagerHome Blog on April 1, 2021

It’s been an unusual NCAA Tournament, with the entire thing taking place in Indiana. But it has also been a fantastic NCAA Tournament, and now we’re down to the Final Four.

There was the single COVID-19 incident that resulted in VCU having to forfeit its first-round game with Oregon, but otherwise, we made it to the Final Four without any other hiccups and with a lot of great basketball.

Baylor Bears (-5.0) vs. Houston Cougars

As crazy as the Midwest Region got, with No. 1 Illinois falling to Loyola Chicago, No. 11 Syracuse marching to the Sweet 16, and No. 12 Oregon State going all the way to the Elite Eight, one of the pre-tournament favorites in Houston advanced to the Final Four.

The road to Houston’s first Final Four since 1984 and the days of Phi Slama Jama and Akeem Olajuwon (Hakeem since 1991) has not been terribly challenging. They are the first Final Four team to ever advance that far by only playing double-digit seeds.

That changes when they face the top seed in the South, Baylor, which is making its first Final Four appearance since 1950, when the tournament had just eight teams.

Baylor was knocked off its stride when it was forced to miss three weeks during the season because of COVID-19 protocols. But the top three-point shooting team in the country looks like its old 17-0 self and rolls into the final weekend with 26 wins, the second-most in the country.

Houston dominates the offensive glass in this one and keeps it close, but ultimately the Bears are too much. Baylor wins; Houston covers.

Gonzaga Bulldogs (-13.5) vs. UCLA Bruins

From the First Four to the Final Four has been the road for the UCLA Bruins. Unlike the other three teams in Indianapolis this weekend, the Bruins are regulars in the Final Four, with this being their 19th appearance.

ncaa final four

UCLA likes to slow the pace and bore you into a loss, which is exactly how they knocked off the East’s top seed, Michigan, to get here and set up the improbable matchup with the nation’s No. 1 team Gonzaga.

The Bulldogs have been a team of destiny all season long. Not only have they not lost a single game all year, but they have won their last 27 games by double digits.

Not surprisingly, that is an NCAA Division I record. Here in the NCAA Tournament, Gonzaga’s wins have been by 43, 16, 18, and 19.

It’s hard to imagine a program in search of its first-ever national championship being this big of a favorite against a program with 11 national championships, but there aren’t many teams like this year’s Gonzaga Bulldogs. The Bulldogs win big, cover the spread, and roll into Monday’s final game.

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WagerHome BlogNCAA Final Four Betting Picks

Betting Odds to Win NCAA Sweet 16 Matchups

by WagerHome Blog on March 25, 2021

Hopefully, none of your friends have weddings scheduled for this NCAA Sweet 16 weekend. Saturday and Sunday are all about the eight best college basketball games of the season, and you don’t want to be anywhere other than in front of your television.

Saturday Games

Oregon State Beavers vs. Loyola Chicago Ramblers (-6.5)

The first of the eight NCAA Sweet 16 games begins with the eighth-seeded Loyola Chicago Ramblers as favorites to advance past 12th-seeded Oregon State. Loyola Chicago played one of the most complete games of the tournament when it knocked off Illinois, and look for a repeat performance against Oregon State.

Villanova Wildcats vs. Baylor Bears (-6.5)

Fifth-seeded Villanova is without its best player in Collin Gillespie, and top-seeded Baylor played great basketball during the first weekend of the tournament. Villanova played Winthrop and North Texas to get to this point, but it will be eliminated easily by a far superior Baylor team.

Oral Roberts Golden Eagles vs. Arkansas Razorbacks (-11)

The feel-good team of the tournament is 15th-seeded Oral Roberts, but this Cinderella story comes to a close on Saturday. The Golden Eagles play good enough team basketball to keep their game with third-seeded Arkansas inside 10 points, though, so don’t be surprised if they cover.

Syracuse Orange vs. Houston Cougars (-6)

Second-seeded Houston barely got past Rutgers, and Syracuse is the most dangerous No. 11 seed in recent memory. If you’re looking to bet a big upset in the NCAA Sweet 16, this is as good a bet as you’ll find.

Sunday Games

Creighton Bluejays vs. Gonzaga Bulldogs (-13.5)

Fifth-seeded Creighton squeaked by UC Santa Barbara and beat an overmatched Ohio squad, while top-seeded Gonzaga has looked like one of the best teams in college basketball history. The Bulldogs roll past the Bluejays by double-digits and are a good bet to cover the spread.

Florida State Seminoles vs. Michigan Wolverines (-3)

The lone Big Ten representative remaining is top-seeded Michigan, and there’s a good chance it lives to fight another day. Fourth-seeded Florida State keeps it close and possibly covers, but the Wolverines will advance.

Oregon Ducks vs. USC Trojans (-2.5)

A quarter of the NCAA Sweet 16 is from the Pac-12, and half of that group meets in this matchup between the seventh-seeded Ducks and the sixth-seeded Trojans, perhaps the best of all the Sweet 16 games. COVID-19 wiped out one of their meetings this year, and USC won the other, and both teams are coming off dominating upset wins in the second round.

ncaa sweet 16

UCLA Bruins vs. Alabama Crimson Tide (-6)

UCLA, an 11th seed, had a nice run to get to this point, but second-seeded Alabama looks like the favorite to win the East Region. The Crimson Tide will close out the NCAA Sweet 16 with a double-digit win and easily cover the spread.

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WagerHome BlogBetting Odds to Win NCAA Sweet 16 Matchups

Can Anyone Beat Gonzaga in the NCAA Tournament?

by WagerHome Blog on March 17, 2021

Can anyone beat Gonzaga?

Mark Few’s squad began this season as the best team in the nation, and it is hoping to end this season as the best team in the nation as well. The Bulldogs were the obvious choice for the No. 1 overall seed, and they begin their quest to become one of the best teams in NCAA history on Saturday.

So again, can anyone in the field beat Gonzaga?

Finishing Perfect is Not Easy

Gonzaga has an unblemished 26-0 record and is the first unbeaten team to enter the NCAA Tournament since the 2015 Kentucky Wildcats. Overall, Gonzaga is the 20th team to begin the tournament without a loss.

But before you put everything you have on Gonzaga to finish the season at 32-0, consider that of the previous 19 unbeatens, only seven of them actually won the national championship. And some of the most talented teams in history carry the infamous tag of regular-season champs but failures in March.

Like that Kentucky team in 2015, which finished 38-1 after a Final Four defeat by Wisconsin. Or perhaps the best team in college basketball history, UNLV, which with its three NBA lottery picks (Larry Johnson, Greg Anthony and Stacey Augmon), which lost to Duke in the national semifinals to go 34-1.

There have been seven wire-to-wire NCAA basketball champions, but also nine champions that began the season unranked.

So yes, it’s very possible, even likely, that someone will beat Gonzaga, and the Bulldogs will not finish the season as the champions.

Biggest Challengers

There are a number of teams that pose a threat to Gonzaga’s run at history. The team that most scares the bookmakers is Michigan, which at one point in December was taking championship action that paid 125-1. The Wolverines are clearly the biggest liability for bookmakers.

The biggest challenger to Gonzaga might be the other Big Ten team to grab a No. 1 seed, Illinois. The Illini won their conference tournament, so they head into the tournament on a winning streak.

beat gonzaga

They are battle-tested, having played in what has been the best conference this season and with wins over both Michigan and Ohio State. And Oklahoma State is the most difficult challenge on the Illinois side of the Midwest’s bracket.

Baylor is the No. 1 seed in the South and is drawing the second-best odds in the tournament field, trailing only Gonzaga. The Bears finished the season 22-2, with their only two losses to coming No. 3 seed Kansas and No. 4 seed Oklahoma State.

Sadly, COVID-19 troubles canceled a game in December between Baylor and Gonzaga that would have given us all tournament talking points and a possible preview of the national championship game.

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WagerHome BlogCan Anyone Beat Gonzaga in the NCAA Tournament?

Who Will Win the NCAA Tournament?

by WagerHome Blog on March 16, 2021

That sound you hear is a thousand angels singing from the heavens that after it was canceled 12 months ago, the greatest sporting month anywhere in the world is back. The NCAA Tournament is here. The Madness will soon commence.

And the million-dollar question, quite literally in the case of some NCAA brackets, is, who will win the NCAA Tournament? Which of the 68 teams will cut down the nets at the Final Four and claim the national championship?

Top Seeds

Gonzaga, Baylor, Illinois, and Michigan are all No. 1 seeds and are the four betting favorites to win the NCAA Tournament. It’s worth noting that in the last 30 tournaments, a No. 3 seed or lower has only won the whole thing five times.

So, along with these four top seeds, the four No. 2s – Houston, Iowa, Alabama, and Ohio State – are your most likely winners.

Of those eight teams, Gonzaga is the most likely to win it all. The Bulldogs went the regular season as the wire-to-wire number one team in the AP poll, they are the betting favorite at +200, and they are the safest bet to claim the national championship.

As top seeds go, this is as close to a Cinderella story as you’ll find. Gonzaga has played in just a single Final Four (2017) and has never won a championship.

If you don’t like betting on favorites, the No. 2 seed that poses the most problems for Gonzaga is Alabama. The Crimson Tide have won six straight and haven’t lost to an unranked team since the middle of December.

Plus, they are in the East, where No. 1 seed Michigan has lost three of its last five games.

Possible Upset Winners

If you’re looking beyond the top two seeds, give Oklahoma State a try. The Cowboys are the No. 4 seed in the Midwest, but a strong case can be made for them being as high as No. 2.

ncaa tournament

In the last three weeks, they have wins over No. 1 seed Baylor, No. 3 seed Texas, two wins over No. 3 seed West Virginia, No. 6 seed Texas Tech, and two wins over No. 8 seed Oklahoma.

They also beat No. 3 seed Kansas earlier in the season. Tennessee and Illinois present a tough road for the Cowboys, but this team is ready.

Also, don’t sleep on San Diego State. The No. 6 seed in the Midwest hasn’t lost since Jan. 19.

Wins over ranked teams are tough to find in the Mountain West, but the Aztecs did beat both UCLA and Arizona State this season. They have experience, play great defense, and are one of the best three-point shooting teams in the tournament.

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WagerHome BlogWho Will Win the NCAA Tournament?

Favorites to Win the NCAA Basketball Championship

by WagerHome Blog on December 1, 2020

One of the biggest sports casualties of the COVID-19 pandemic was last year’s NCAA Basketball Tournament. The fans were, of course, deprived of the best month of sports and the best sports gambling event anywhere on the calendar.

But more importantly, 68 teams worth of young basketball players were deprived of the dream of playing for the basketball national championship.

Since last March, the sports world has figured out how to play out championships, with the NHL, NBA, and MLB all awarding their titles. We hope and pray the same works out for the NFL, NCAA football, and the college basketball season that tipped off last week.

NCAA Basketball Futures Betting Odds

Barring any changes, there will be 68 teams playing for the championship in March, with 31 automatic bids going out to the conference tournament champions (The only conference missing this season is the Ivy League).

As for which of the 68 teams will be left standing at the end of the Final Four in Indianapolis, these are your favorites.

  • Baylor (+175)
  • Gonzaga (+175)
  • Villanova (+200)
  • Virginia (+200)
  • Iowa (+225)
  • Kansas (+250)
  • Kentucky (+250)
  • Texas Tech (+300)
  • Creighton (+325)
  • Duke (+325)
  • Illinois (+325)
  • Florida State (+350)
  • Wisconsin (+375)
  • Michigan State (+425)

We’ve already seen our first big game between contenders when Gonzaga won easily over Kansas. It was an offensive explosion with the Bulldogs, besting the Jayhawks 102-90.

The game was especially welcome when you consider that we lost a Baylor vs. Villanova game due to COVID-19 issues.

Normally this kind of upset is reserved for the first weekend of the tournament, but Virginia lost to San Francisco in one of the true early-season shockers. It’s a window into the upcoming season and not only the unpredictability of COVID-19, but the unpredictability of how it will affect play on the court.

Blue Bloods vs. New Bloods

Kentucky reloads every season, and, as former Providence head coach Pete Gillen once said, “Duke is Duke.” So it’s no surprise that the Wildcats and Blue Devils are among the favorites to win in March.

But perennial participant North Carolina doesn’t make our list, as it is tied with Ohio State and San Diego State at +700. Long-time basketball powers UCLA and Louisville are also at +700. Connecticut, with championships in 2011 and 2014, is only +1400 – the same as Maryland and Purdue.

ncaa basketball

Meanwhile, Baylor, which hasn’t been to a Final Four since 1950, tops our list. And the Creighton Bluejays, who have never appeared in a Final Four and haven’t gotten to the Round of 32 since 2014, has the same odds as Duke and five-time Final Four participant Illinois.

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WagerHome BlogFavorites to Win the NCAA Basketball Championship

Five Teams to Beat in Upcoming NCAA Tournament

by WagerHome Blog on March 3, 2020

We are less than two weeks away from “Selection Sunday,” and that means the start of one of the greatest sporting events in the country. The NCAA Tournament always delivers some excitement and unexpected results, but some top teams will make a run as well.

Here is a look at five teams to beat in the upcoming NCAA Tournament.

Kansas Jayhawks

The Kansas Jayhawks are led by point guard Devon Dotson and monster center Udoka Azubuike. Kansas is once again emerging as the cream of the crop in the Big 12 Conference, and it is always a threat to win the NCAA Tournament.

This Kansas team does struggle to shoot the ball at times, but their All-American center can carry this team. Teams won’t want to see the Kansas Jayhawks in their part of the bracket when they are revealed in two weeks.

Duke Blue Devils

The Duke Blue Devils have looked like one of the top teams in the country for much of the season, but they have also suffered some bad losses of late. Duke is an extremely young team, and that has hurt them a bit in past NCAA Tournaments.

Center Vernon Carey Jr. can put this team on his back if he needs to, but they also have plenty of other weapons around him. Point guard Tre Jones is a winner, and don’t be surprised if you see Duke make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament in March.

Gonzaga Bulldogs

Gonzaga used to be considered a “Cinderella team,” but now they are considered a favorite. Head coach Mark Few has had to reload and regroup, but he has another terrific team in Spokane.

Gonzaga is the highest-scoring team in the country, and they are extremely efficient as well. Strength of schedule is always a huge question mark with this team, but they should have an easier path by earning a likely number one seed.

Maryland Terrapins

Point guard Anthony Cowan Jr. and forward Jalen Smith give Maryland one of the top 1-2 punches in the country, and they currently sit on top of the Big Ten Conference. Cowan is averaging more than 16 points per game to lead this team, and he also dishes out more than four assists per night.

NCAA

Smith is a double-double machine that is capable of scoring in the low post, or by hitting an outside shot. Depth is a question mark with this team, but their starting unit is really good.

Baylor Bears

The Baylor roster is a collection of transfers and redshirt players, but they have had a phenomenal season. Baylor spent a handful of weeks as the top-ranked team in the country, and the Bears still have a shot at winning the Big 12 Conference.

The Bears are one of the top defensive teams in the country, and they will make life difficult for opposing offenses.

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WagerHome BlogFive Teams to Beat in Upcoming NCAA Tournament

Wagering NCAA Basketball During The Peak Of The Season With Pay Per Head

by WagerHome Blog on December 10, 2019

We’ve gotten past the early weeks of the 2019-20 college basketball season, where teams are still figuring out what they have with their new players, how their team is going to gel, and where they stand among the competition. That means the real season can now begin, and the real wagering can commence.

Conference Play

There is a small smattering of conference games that tip off in November and December, but the real action gets going in early January. If you are running your own bookmaking site through a pay per head service, then you know that this is when the action really picks up.

In the first week of January alone, we get top-25 showdowns between Ohio State and Maryland, Pittsburgh and North Carolina, Arizona and Oregon, Alabama and Kentucky, Baylor and Kansas, Louisville and Notre Dame, and Wake Forest and Duke.

If you haven’t yet signed up for pay per head site to handle the administrative side of your bookmaking service, be sure to do so prior to January. WagerHome.com gives you four free weeks to test it out, which will take you right up to the start of full conference play.

Conference Tournaments

They may not quite have the same panache as the NCAA Tournament, but if you are a savvy bettor, then you know that conference tournaments can make for some of the best betting of the entire season. The teams all know each other, and an automatic bid to the NCAAs raises the stakes. And some teams can play as many as five games in five days, going back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to back.

And with so many games all going on at once, and so many lines for the books to keep track of, real bargains and values can be found. With 32 conferences crowning a champion over the course of eight days, the March Madness really begins before the committee has announced a single seeding.

NCAA Tournament

It’s not just the biggest event of the college basketball year, and thus its biggest wagering event, it’s one of the biggest events on the entire sports calendar, only sharing the top of the sports gambling mountain with the Super Bowl. But that’s just one day. The NCAA Tournament goes on for a full three weeks.

Anyone who bets the NCAA Tournament knows that it requires a complete change in strategy. Overall strength of a team is less important than how they’ve been playing down the stretch. Teams with big-time scorers may get the hype, but the teams built for a deep tournament run play great defense.

There are no more homecourts, but location, travel, and traveling fans are all very important. And since a lot of people just start betting at tournament time, public money may not be informed money.

All of these are important things to know and factor in when placing wagers on the NCAA Tournament, or running your own PPH site that is expecting an uptick in action come March.

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WagerHome BlogWagering NCAA Basketball During The Peak Of The Season With Pay Per Head