Opening 2021 NCAA Tournament Odds Co-Favor Gonzaga & Virginia to Win National Championship

Virginia Cavaliers on the bench
The Virginia Cavaliers and Gonzaga Bulldogs are co-favorites to win the 2021 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at odds of +900. Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire.
  • Gonzaga and Virginia have opened as the +900 co-favorites to win the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament
  • The Zags have never won March Madness. Could 2021 be the year of the Bulldogs?
  • All of the odds, picks and analysis are laid out in the following story

Sadly due to the COVID-19 outbreak, we won’t have an NCAA Tournament this season, but new odds say that next year, the Gonzaga Bulldogs and Virginia Cavaliers will be the teams to beat when the madness returns to March.

The Cavaliers and the Bulldogs are early chalk in the 2021 National Championship odds. Gonzaga and Virginia are the co-favorites at +900.

2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament Odds

School Odds at BetOnline
Gonzaga +900
Virginia +900
Kansas +1000
Baylor +1200
Kentucky +1200
Creighton +1400
Duke +1400
Michigan State +1400
Florida State +1600
Dayton +2500
Florida +2500
Louisville +2500
North Carolina +2500
San Diego State +2500
Texas +2500
Wisconsin +2500
Ohio State +2800
Oregon +2800
Texas Tech +2800
Villanova +2800
West Virginia +2800
Michigan +3300
Houston +4000
Connecticut +5000
Illinois +5000
Indiana +5000
Iowa +5000
Miami (Fla) +5000
Penn State +5000
Purdue +5000
Tennessee +5000

Odds taken March 13th

Virginia is the defending national champion. Gonzaga is currently ranked #2 in the AP top 25 poll.

Yes, Virginia Should Be a Contender

The Cavaliers are 23-7 this season. That’s including a 11-1 run to finish off the regular season.

Head coach Tony Bennett figures to be welcoming back sophomore guard Kihei Clark. He’s second on the team in scoring this season with 10.8 points per game. Clark also leads Virginia in assists (5.9) and steals (1.2) per game.

As well, the Cavaliers will also return junior forward Jay Huff. He’s third on the team in rebounds (6.2), fourth in scoring (8.5) and leads in blocks (2.0). Huff owns a .571 field goal percentage.

Virginia’s recruiting class is rated 12th nationally by 247 sports. It includes a pair of four-star recruits in small forward Jabri Abdur-Rahim (son of former NBAer Shareef Abdur-Rahim) and point guard Reece Beekman.

Gonzaga Is Also Loaded

Perennial March Madness bridesmaids, the Bulldogs are always rated highly but never seem to climb over that hump. Might 2021 finally be the year that the Zags get it done?

Certainly, head coach Mark Few will welcome back a plethora of elite-level talent. Sophomore forward Filip Petrusev leads this season’s 29-2 squad in scoring (17.5 PPG) and rebounding (7.9).

The Bulldogs will also return Corey Kispert from the #2-ranked team in the nation. The junior forward is second on the squad in scoring with 13.9 PPG.

Gonzaga’s recruiting class graded out at #9 in the 247 Composite. The Bulldogs have signed letters of intent from small forward Julian Strawther and guard Dominink Harris. Both are rated four-star recruits. They also have a hard commit from guard Jalen Suggs. He’s a five-star recruit.

Kentucky & Kansas Are Always Okay

The Wildcats and Jayhawks never rebuild. They simply reload.

The #1-ranked Jayhawks will lose some big pieces. Junior guard Marcus Garett, who leads the team with 4.6 assists per game, would be back. Sophomore guard Ochai Agbaji is averaging 10 points per game.

Head coach Bill Self will add 6-foot-5 guard Bryce Thompson, a five-star recruit. And how about this scenario? Sophomore guard Devon Dotson leads the team with 18.1 PPG.

Dotson declared and then withdrew from the 2019 NBA Draft. He’s rated a late first-round pick this year in a draft loaded with point guards. Suppose he decides that he wants an NCAA title and opts to stay at Kansas one more year?

Wildcats Were Best Recruiters

Kentucky’s six 2020 commits comprise the top-rated recruiting class in the nation.

The incoming group includes a trio of five-star guards in BJ Boston, Terrence Clarke and Devin Askew. There’s also three four-star forwards – Isaiah Jackson, Lance Ware and Cam’Ron Fletcher.

The Wildcats’ top four scorers all have remaining eligibility. But Nick Richards, Tyrese Maxey and Ashton Hagans are expected to declare for the NBA Draft, even though none are rated to be high first-round choices.

Leading scorer Immanuel Quickley (16.1 PPG) should be back, though. The SEC player of the year, both Quickley and 6-foot-10 sophomore forward EJ Montgomery were McDonald’s All Americans.

Bluejays Could Soar

Creighton offers sensational value at +1400. The Bluejays should be loaded next season.

Junior guard Ty-Shon Alexander, the Bluejays’ leading scorer (16.9 PPG), junior guard Denzel Mahoney (12.0 PPG) and guard Marcus Zegarowski, with 16.1 PPG and a team-leading five assists per game, could all return.

In fact, every one of Creighton’s top-seven scorers hold remaining eligibility.

If they’re all back, the Bluejays will be the beasts of the Big East.

Smart Money’s on Kentucky

Head coach John Calipari is overdue for a big year. The Wildcats haven’t won a national championship since 2011-12.

That Kentucky recruiting class is massively strong. Calipari has put together many sensational freshmen groups in the past. This might be his best ever.

Pick: Kentucky Wildcats (+1200).

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