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  • Baylor won the 2021 NCAA basketball national championship, spoiling Gonzaga’s perfect season in the process
  • In a rare occurrence,  Baylor and Gonzaga were the top-two favorites from the moment the season tipped off
  • Looking for this season’s March Madness odds?

The 2021 Gonzaga Bulldogs will be added to the almost-record books — alongside 2015 Kentucky, 1991 UNLV, 1976 Rutgers, 1971 Marquette, 1968 Houston, and 1961 Ohio State — as teams that took a perfect record into the Final Four before suffering their first defeat of the season.

For Gonzaga, it was all the more painful. They are the only one of the group that managed to reach the title game.

Waiting for them at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis was a Baylor Bears team that could not be stopped. A 5-of-5 start from beyond the arc helped Scott Drew’s team build an early 29-10 lead that was never seriously threatened. It didn’t take long before Gonzaga, which came into the game as a -200 favorite, to see its live odds fade to +300 and beyond.

The graphs below show the odds to win the 2021 March Madness championship on a macro-level, starting with the opening odds circa April 2020 and ending with the closing odds for the title game.

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2021 NCAAM Favorites

2021 NCAA Tournament Odds

Team Odds at DraftKings
Gonzaga -200
Baylor +163

Odds as of April 5th.

Odds Movement Timeline

  • April 5: The closing odds for the title game are -200/+163 in favor of Gonzaga.
  • April 3: Gonzaga’s odds to won barely moved after squeaking by UCLA in the Final Four (93-90 in OT), going from -195 to -207. Baylor, meanwhile, waxed Houston and saw its odds improve from +267 to +169.
  • April 1: The Zags’ odds faded from -225 to -195 after 48 hours of betting action.
  • March 30: Gonzaga moved all the way from +135 to -225 after routing USC in the Elite Eight (and also drawing a favorable matchup against #11 UCLA in the Final Four).
  • Mar. 28: Michigan’s rout of Florida State (76-58) has oddsmakers believing again. The Wolverines went from +950 on average to +525.
  • Mar. 27: The biggest improvement after the first day of the Sweet 16 belongs to Oregon State, which shortened to +1700 on average (from +4300).
  • Mar. 22: Michigan silenced a lot of critics with an 86-78 win over a dangerous LSU team in the round of 32. Their title odds improved from +1000 to +650 after the game.
  • Mar. 21: Loyola Chicago improved from +4600 to +1250 after knocking out the MidWest’s #1 seed, Illinois. The Ramblers are now the fifth-favorite.
  • Mar. 19: The biggest movers after day one were MidWest #4 OK State (+3733 to +2750), MidWest #8 Loyola Chicago (+7000 to +4600), South #3 Arkansas (+5700 to +3367), and South #6 Texas Tech (+5333 to +3700).
  • Mar. 18: Bettors have hammered Illinois’ futures, sending the Illini from +667 (fourth-best odds) to +550 (second-best).
  • Mar. 14: Oddsmakers agree with the selection committee; the four #1 seeds, Gonzaga (+205), Baylor (+467), Michigan (+633), and Illinois (+667), have the shortest odds by a wide margin. Fifth-favorite Iowa is back at +1800.
  • Mar. 10: Illinois improved from +1300 to +933 after dismantling Michigan (76-53) on the road without Ayo Dosunmu. Michigan faded slightly from +432 to +482.
  • Mar. 2:  OK State is back on the board and just outside the top-ten at +2000. The Cowboys’ appeal of their postseason ban likely won’t be decided until after the 2021 Tournament. They are eligible to play while the appeal is pending.
  • Feb. 23: Michigan improved from +750 to +550, closing the gap on the top two: Gonzaga (+272) and Baylor (+308). Houston (+1733 to +2000) fell out of the top five.
  • Feb. 18: Houston made a huge leap from tenth-favorite to fifth-favorite (+1933 to +1733). Many of the teams who were ahead of them (Illinois, Alabama, and Texas) saw their odds fade.
  • Feb. 10: Baylor improved from +417 to +303 after running its undefeated record to 17-0. The Bears are now almost level with Gonzaga (+280).
  • Feb. 2: The gap between the top-tier favorites (Gonzaga, Baylor, Villanova, and Michigan) and the rest of the field continues to grow. The top four all saw their odds get shorter this week, while Iowa, Texas, Wisconsin, Illinois, Alabama, and Tennessee all faded.
  • Jan. 25:  There still isn’t a single ACC team among the top-ten favorites. Virginia has the best odds from the conference at +2133, which puts the Wahoos 13th.
  • Jan. 20: Michigan has overtaken VIllanova as the third-favorite at +850. The top-two favorites – Gonzaga (+317) and Baylor (+517) – both got shorter, as well.
  • Jan. 12: Still-undefeated Michigan is now in the top five, improving from +1900 to +1133 over the past week.
  • Jan. 6: #1 Gonzaga is remains the favorite at +333. Second-favorite Baylor improved from +800 to +750. Villanova (+867) rounds out the top three with Iowa fading from +883 to +1300.
  • Dec. 23: Even though they were outclassed by top-ranked Gonzaga, Iowa’s odds shortened from +1025 to +883; Villanova also improved from +1300 to +933 thanks to five straight wins, including a true road game against #10 Texas.
  • Dec. 18: Despite being off for more than two weeks, Gonzaga’s odds shortened from +600 to +400
  • Dec 2:  Gonzaga (+600) is a definitive favorite after blasting Kansas (102-90) and Auburn (90-67) in its first two games. Villanova is second at +775.
  • Nov. 23: Two days from tipoff on the 2020-21 season, Villanova sits alone atop the national championship odds at +700, followed by a trio of teams at +800 (Baylor, Gonzaga, and Iowa).
  • Oct. 8: Thanks to the return of Ayo Dosunmu and Kofi Cockburn, Illinois has improved from +4875 to +1067 over the last several weeks.
  • Sep. 19: The season is set to start on Nov. 25, and Villanova (+750) remains the favorite, while Luka Garza’s Iowa Hawkeyes are second (+825).
  • July 17: Villanova has completed its rise to the peak of the odds. At +925, Nova is now slightly ahead of former favorite Gonzaga (+950).
  • May 10: After opening at +2800, Villanova has been bet down all the way to +1000, second-best in the nation.
  • Apr. 17: NBA draft declarations have shifted the landscape, e.g. Kansas dropped from +1000 to +1350 after Devon Dotson announced he’s leaving.
  • Mar. 19: Despite the impending loss of Cassius Winston, Michigan State (+1000) moved into the top-five favorites after early money has come in.
  • Mar 13, 2020: In wake of the cancelation of this year’s tournament, Gonzaga and Virginia have opened as co-favorites at +900 to win a National Championship next season


Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Odds

  • UNC has won the most national championships among ACC teams (6 titles).
  • Duke (5 titles), Louisville (3 titles if you count 2013), and NC State (2 titles) are the only other ACC teams with more than one championship.
  • Nine of the current ACC teams have never won a championship.
ACC Team National Championships Year(s)
UNC 6 1957, 1982, 1993, 2005, 2009, 2017
Duke 5 1991, 1992, 2001, 2010, 2015
Louisville 3 1980, 1986, 2013
NC State 2 1974, 1983
Syracuse 1 2003
Virginia 1 2019
Boston College 0 N/A
Clemson 0 N/A
Florida State 0 N/A
Georgia Tech 0 N/A
Miami 0 N/A
Notre Dame 0 N/A
Pittsburgh 0 N/A
Virginia Tech 0 N/A
Wake Forest 0 N/A

 

Big 12 Conference Odds

  • Kansas (2008) remains the only Big 12 team to have won a title since the conference was formed in 1994.
  • Kansas also has the most all-time titles (3) among current Big 12 teams.
  • Oklahoma State (2 titles) is the only other modern Big 12 team that’s won a national championship.
  • Only one Big 12 school has never reached the Final Four: TCU.
Big 12 Team National Championships Year(s) Final Fours (Most Recent)
Kansas 3 1952, 1988, 2008 14 (2018)
Oklahoma State 2 1945, 1946 6 (2004)
Oklahoma 0 N/A 5 (2016)
Kansas State 0 N/A 4 (1964)
Texas 0 N/A 3 (2003)
Baylor 0 N/A 2 (1950)
West Virginia 0 N/A 2 (2010)
Iowa State 0 N/A 1 (1944)
Texas Tech 0 N/A 1 (2019)
TCU 0 N/A N/A

 

Big East Conference Odds

  • Three teams in the modern Big East have won a national championship: Villanova (3), Georgetown (1), and Marquette (1).
  • Three others have made at least one title game: Butler (2), St. John’s (1), and Seton Hall (1).
  • Two Big East teams have never reached the Final Four: Creighton and Xavier.
Big East Team National Championships Best NCAA Tournament Finish (Year)
Villanova 3 Champion (1985, 2016, 2018)
Georgetown 1 Champion (1984)
Marquette 1 Champion (1977)
Butler 0 Runner-up (2010, 2011)
Seton Hall 0 Runner-up (1989)
St. John’s 0 Runner-up (1952)
DePaul 0 Final Four (1943, 1979)
Providence 0 Final Four (1973, 1987)
Creighton 0 Elite Eight (1941)
Xavier 0 Elite Eight (2004, 2008, 2017)

 

Big Ten Conference Odds

  • Indiana (5 titles) and Michigan State (2) are the only Big Ten teams to have claimed more than one national championship.
  • Four other Big Ten teams have won one national title: Maryland, Michigan, Ohio State, and Wisconsin.
  • But no Big Ten team has won the title since 2002 (Maryland).
  • Despite making the tournament seven times, Nebraska has never even won a game in the NCAA tournament.
Big Ten Teams National Championships Best NCAA Tournament Finish (Year)
Indiana 5 Champion (1940, 1953, 1976, 1981, 1987)
Michigan State 2 Champion (1979, 2000)
Maryland 1 Champion (2002)
Michigan 1 Champion (1989)
Ohio State 1 Champion (1960)
Wisconsin 1 Champion (1941)
Illinois 0 Runner-up (2005)
Iowa 0 Runner-up (1956)
Purdue 0 Runner-up (1969)
Minnesota 0 Final Four (1997)
Penn State 0 Final Four (1954)
Rutgers 0 Final Four (1976)
Northwestern 0 Round of 32 (2017)
Nebraska 0 Round of 64 (0-7 all-time tournament record)

 

Pacific-12 Conference (PAC-12) Odds

  • Once upon a time, UCLA was the dominant force in college basketball, and their 11 national championships are three more than the next closest team (Kentucky, 8).
  • But the mighty Bruins have not won the NCAA tournament in nearly 25 years, dating back to 1995.
  • The drought for the Pac-12, as a whole, dates back almost as far, stretching to Lute Olson’s 1997 Arizona squad. The conference hasn’t even had a finalist since UCLA in 2006.
  • UCLA remains the only Pac-12 school to have won multiple national titles.
PAC-12 Team National Championships Best NCAA Tournament Finish (Year)
UCLA 11 Champion (1964, 1965, 1967-73, 1975, 1995)
Arizona 1 Champion (1997)
California 1 Champion (1959)
Oregon 1 Champion (1939)
Stanford 1 Champion (1942)
Utah 1 Champion (1944)
Washington State 0 Runner-up (1941)
Colorado 0 Final Four (1942, 1955)
Oregon State 0 Final Four (1949, 1963)
USC 0 Final Four (1940, 1954)
Washington 0 Final Four (1953)
Arizona State 0 Elite Eight (1961, 1963, 1975)

 

Southeast Conference (SEC) Odds

  • Kentucky has the second-most national championships all-time with eight, but only one since the turn of the century (2012), despite regularly bringing in the top-ranked recruiting class in the nation, including every year from 2008-2013, per 247Sports.com.
  • Only three of the 14 current SEC schools have won a national championship. None of the others have even made the title game.
  • Ole Miss and Texas A&M have the worst March Madness track record, never advancing past the Sweet 16.
SEC Team National Championships Best NCAA Tournament Finish (Year)
Kentucky 8 Champion (1948-49, 1951, 1958, 1978, 1996, 1998, 2012)
Florida 2 Champion (2006-07)
Arkansas 1 Champion (1994)
Auburn 0 Final Four (2019)
 Georgia 0 Final Four (1983)
LSU 0 Final Four (1953, 1981, 1986, 2006)
Mississippi State 0 Final Four (1996)
South Carolina 0 Final Four (2017)
Alabama 0 Elite Eight (2004)
Missouri 0 Elite Eight (1944, 1976, 1994, 2002, 2009)
Tennessee 0 Elite Eight (2010)
Vanderbilt 0 Elite Eight (1965)
Ole Miss 0 Sweet 16 (2001)
Texas A&M 0 Sweet 16 (1951, 1969, 1980, 2007, 2016, 2018)

Top Mid-Majors Odds


Archived NCAA Tournament Odds: 2020, 2019, 2018