The other day we previewed the NCAAB championship odds for the 2020-21 season, now it’s time to take a look at the penultimate stage — the NCAA Final Four odds. Which four college basketball programs will win their respective regional brackets to advance to this pivotal moment?
Online oddsmakers sure have their opinions. With the regular season now underway, here are the top Final Four contenders presently:
Surely, these betting lines will fluctuate wildly from now and until Selection Sunday in early March. However, if you want to lock in a futures bet right now, which four teams deserve your money most? Welp, that’s the very question we’ll be answering next. Here are our sure-fire picks to wager on.
Gonzaga Bulldogs (+125)
It feels only right, to begin with, the number-one ranked team in the nation at the moment. But as always with Gonzaga, one has to wonder if this is finally the season they “breakthrough.”
And honestly, a breakthrough doesn’t just mean a national title. No, it’s also a Final Four appearance. For all their success in recent memory — they’ve advanced to the NCAA tourney every year since 1999 — the Zags have reached the Final Four only once (2017, which ended in a championship game loss). Therefore, they’re no shoo-in to make it this far.
Regardless, we think these Bulldogs are different. Really, we do, and here’s why. While you can always count on head coach Mark Few and his motion offense to be prolific, this year, Few has the game-changing talent to make the whole attack truly unstoppable.
For one, there’s the returning wing Corey Kispert, who was named a pre-season All-American — the program’s first in four long years. Entering his senior year, Kispert should improve upon his stat line from a year ago that included 13.9 points on 44-percent shooting from beyond the arc.
But new to the Zags is guard Jalen Suggs. He’s a one-and-done talent that’ll likely be a lottery pick in next year’s NBA Draft. His skills, along with the returning nucleus, should push the Bulldogs over the top in 2021. Definitely throw money at Gonzaga’s way here.
Like the Bulldogs, the Bears are much-hyped this season but don’t have much history in the elusive Final Four. The program has made it that far only twice, an eternity ago in 1948 and 1950.
However, 2020 will be different. That’s because much of the roster that spent the better part of last year at either No. 1 or No. 2, going 26-4 in the process, is back and primed for a deep March Madness run.
No returnee is bigger than senior guard Jared Butler. In the preseason All-American poll, Butler received the second-most votes — even more than the aforementioned Kispert. Coming off a season where he averaged 16 points per contest, he’s the type of player that can completely “take over” postseason games and that definitely goes a long way.
If recent NCAA championship outcomes have proved anything it’s that experience still matters — and not just one-and-done and/or five-star players. Baylor’s experienced core will be a huge difference-maker once the shiny bright lights of the tourney cast down the field.
After picking two Final Four teams that are more on the “risky side” — given their history of coming up short — we had to revert back to a traditional “blue blood” program for our next selection. Not Duke. Not Kentucky. Not North Carolina. Instead, the Villanova Wildcats.
This program has more than proved their mettle as of late with two national championships since 2016. A year ago, they finished 24-7 and return all but two players from that roster (the only noticeable loss was first-round NBA Draft pick, Saddiq Bey).
Making up for Bey’s scoring (he led the Wildcats a year ago in the category) will be a challenge, but this is head coach Jay Wright after all. Outside of perhaps Mike Krzyzewski, no present-day coach should instill more confidence in a bettor than Wright.
Alright, you got us. Thus far, we’ve stuck to the script and picked all three Final Four front-runners per the bookies. That’s why we had to go the unconventional route with our last pick — the Fighting Illini.
Not unlike Baylor, Illinois doesn’t exactly have a decorated history as of late. Matter of fact, they haven’t even qualified for the Big Dance since 2013 (though, they would’ve last year if not for its cancellation due to COVID-19). But times have changed, as you can tell in this article. Ranked number-five nationally, the Illini are formidable foes, not only in the stacked Big-10, but across the country.
Like our previous picks, Illinois has an experienced roster. It’s two leading scorer from a season ago — Kofi Cockburn and Ayo Dosunmi — are back in the mix after withdrawing from the NBA Draft last-minute. Playing in an ever-competitive Big-10 should also help the Illini’s cause here. As they say, “iron sharpens iron” and that high-level competition will be key in the NCAA Tournament when every team is throwing its best at you.
Alright, that’s a wrap on our end. If you’re looking to bet on the Final Four — or any other NCAA basketball event for that matter — visit one of the online sportsbooks below. Signing up, depositing money, and wagering can be done in minutes. These bookmakers will have all the college basketball lines you’re looking for and then some!