Odds to Win March Madness: Villanova Early Favorite For 2021

NCAA Basketball Championship Odds to Win October 8, 2020

No sport in North America was likely a bigger victim of the COVID-19 pandemic than NCAA basketball. March Madness is an annual tradition for sports bettors and after it was canceled in 2020, the NCAA has announced a November 25 return date for college basketball with the Villanova Wildcats tabbed as favorites to win the 2021 national championship.

The Wildcats sit at +700 to cut down the nets for March Madness and take back college basketball glory. Villanova is consistently one of the top teams on the oddsboard at the best basketball betting sites and is returning the majority of its starters to go along with some new recruits.


Second on the board are the Iowa Hawkeyes (+750), who also return most of their starters, including Luka Garza, the favorite to win NCAA Naismith College Player of the Year honors. 

Team practices are expected to start on October 14 with regular-season games expected to begin on November 25, so there’s still some time to place an NCAA futures bet with the latest college basketball odds. Be sure to read up on how to bet on college basketball and how to bet on games with no fans in attendance. These will be helpful when making your wager.

Now, here are the NCAA basketball odds for the top 25 teams on the oddsboard to win the 2021 NCAA basketball national championship:

Who will win the 2021 NCAA Basketball National Championship?

Michigan State+1500
Florida State+2200
North Carolina+2500
Texas Tech+2500
West Virginia+2500
San Diego State+3000
Ohio State+3500

Odds as of October 8 at Bodog

Why Villanova Is The NCAA College Basketball Odds Favorite

Guard play will usually keep you ahead of the curve in college basketball and no team embodies that philosophy more than the Villanova Wildcats. They had five players average double figures last season, but leading scorer Saddiq Bey is likely to be taken in the NBA draft so guards like Collin Gillespie and Bryan Antoine will need to shoulder the load if they want to win the NCAA championship.

The Wildcats may not have the star power of college hoops programs like Kansas or Kentucky, but Jay Wright always has his offense in attack mode, which makes them dangerous come tournament time. Should they be the favorite based on college basketball betting lines? It may be too early to tell but with national championships in both 2016 and 2018, Villanova is a team not to be doubted or trifled with.Villanova Wildcats

  • Head Coach: Jay Wright
  • 2020 Record: 24-7
  • 2020 Leading Scorer: Saddiq Bey, 16.1 ppg
  • 2021 Recruits: Zion Bethea, Tymu Chenery
  • Key Departures: Saddiq Bey
  • Opening National Championship Odds: +700

Gonzaga Needs To Be Strongly Considered

The Gonzaga Bulldogs have routinely been in the thick of the championship hunt for the better part of a decade so it makes sense the Bulldogs would be near the top of the oddsboard.

They had six players average double figures in points in 2020, including 2020 National Player of the Year candidate Filip Petrusev. Petrusev is expected to leave for the NBA draft waters but the Zags are also getting a five-star recruit in Jalen Suggs to be their next starting point guard, which is a first for the program.

Playing in the WCC, the Bulldogs should easily win 20 or more games but it’s the overall talent and coaching from Mark Few that make them a worthy wager for college basketball odds.Gonzaga Bulldogs

  • Head Coach: Mark Few 
  • 2020 Record: 31-2
  • 2020 Leading Scorer: Filip Petrusev, 17.5 ppg
  • 2021 Recruits: Jalen Suggs, Julian Strawther
  • Key Departures: Filip Petrusev
  • Opening National Championship Odds: +1100

North Carolina Not Getting Respect

The North Carolina Tar Heels had a 2020 season to forget after finishing with a horrendous 14-19 SU record and were likely to miss the March Madness tournament for the first time since 2010 and only the second time with Roy Williams as coach. Well, you can’t hold Williams and the Heels down for long because the recruits they’re bringing in will make 2020 feel like a distant memory.

North Carolina was able to snag three five-star recruits to come in to start the season in point guard Caleb Love and centers Day’Ron Sharpe and Walker Kessler. Add those two centers in with last year’s five-star center Armando Bacot and the Tar Heels will be a force in the paint. Playing in the ACC will always be a challenge but this is the best recruiting class North Carolina has had in years. The +2500 odds make the Heels an enticing option given the program’s pedigree.North Carolina Tar Heels

  • Head Coach: Roy Williams
  • 2020 Record: 14-19
  • 2020 Leading Scorer: Cole Anthony, 18.5 ppg
  • 2021 Recruits: Caleb Love, Day’Ron Sharpe, Walker Kessler
  • Key Departures: Cole Anthony, Brandon Robinson
  • Opening National Championship Odds: +2500

Understanding the Odds to Win the NCAA Tournament

At any college basketball sportsbook, you’ll see NCAA basketball lines and tournament odds laid out like this:

  • Duke +500
  • Villanova +650
  • Gonzaga +900

Unlike a straight-up bet where there is a clear favorite represented by the minus sign (-), the team with the lowest odds would be the front-runner. In this case, it’s Duke and the rest are underdogs even though each team has a plus sign (+) prefacing their odds.

If you were to lay down $100 on the Blue Devils, you’d get a payout of $600 – your original money is returned coupled with your winnings of $500.

What is a Futures Bet for College Basketball?

Betting on college basketball lines and a school’s odds to win the NCAAB championship is a type of futures bet. This is a bet you can make weeks or even months in advance of a big event. Oddsmakers set the NCAA basketball odds early and look at a team’s past performance, injuries and coaching/roster moves.

The lines are not set in stone and will move as the regular season progresses. If you see odds you like, take them as soon as you can. Getting Gonzaga at +900 is better than getting them at +100. When you bet, you want to get as much value as you can so if you do win your wager, you’re getting the best payout.

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