It’s just 36 hours after the Selection Show picked the field of 68 for the 2021 NCAA Tournament, but some games are already getting more love than the others.
Be it a potential Cinderella in the midst, or bettors believing in current trends of teams more than season-long stances, some games catch the eye of the punter more than others. We take a look at some of those and potentially the reasons why as well below.
Here are the five games of the opening round that are getting the most action already from DraftKings Sportsbook.
No. 1: Michigan State -1.5 vs. UCLA
The lack of faith in UCLA in the wagering community makes plenty of sense. You can’t find two coaches in college basketball with more different postseason reputations than Tom Izzo and Mick Cronin, and it shows in their performances down the stretch: Izzo beats No. 2 Michigan to assure the Spartans a place in the field, while UCLA loses four straight (including two with in-game 15-point leads or more) to do everything they can to miss the tournament.
So far 93% of the money and 90% of the tickets are on Michigan State, and that appears to be due to current trends.
No. 2 Winthrop vs. Villanova -6.5
Could there be a more beloved 12 seed by American than the Eagles? Winthrop is 11th in America in pace, isn’t afraid to shoot the ball from anywhere, and can defend man-to-man at a high level. They play fun basketball.
Villanova has been one of the most successful programs of the last decade, but you wouldn’t ever call them “fun” being 320th in pace. They lost two-straight to end the season without injured senior point guard Collin Gillespie to Providence and Georgetown, and look out of sorts without him guiding the offense. Winthrop is the chic pick, and both sharps and squares seem to love it.
No. 3 Drake vs. Wichita State Pick ‘em
Two teams from conferences that fall between major and mid-major that had solid years, the action could be earlier because of the First Four happening on Thursday night. The Shockers probably needed to win one more game to not be here, or avoid the three bid steals that came up and took at-large spots away.
No. 4 Wisconsin vs. UNC -1.5
Wisconsin had aspirations of being a Top Four team at some point in the polls this year, but they’ll settle for a No. 4 seed instead after falling to Iowa 62-57 in the Big Ten tournament. North Carolina stayed out of bubbleville down the stretch with key wins over FSU and Duke, plus winning two games in the ACC Tournament.
No. 5 Colgate vs. Arkansas -8.5
Jordan Burns of the Raiders has the potential to be the guy you’ve never heard of that turns into a star over the next couple weeks. Colgate finished the season 14-1 and somehow ended up ninth in the NCAA’s NET stat, but they can really shoot it: They’re 40% from three-point range as a team. 61% of the handle and 54% of the bets are back the Patriot League champs in early trading, and they’re a trendy upset pick as well.
But they haven’t seen a player like Moses Moody from Arkansas either. It’ll be a fun one in the early window on Friday.
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