NCAA Tournament Odds: Gonzaga opens as strong favorite

The Gonzaga Bulldogs opened as slight favorites to win the NCAA Tournament after earning the No. 1 overall seed on Sunday.

The Bulldogs (26-0) have been off since winning the WCC tournament on Tuesday, and were installed as the +200 favorites by PointsBet. Gonzaga also will be attempting to become the first NCAA men’s basketball team in 45 years to complete a perfect championship season.

The Bulldogs opened the season as the +850 favorites by PointsBet, and those odds shortened to +350 by mid-January. They have been backed by 24.15 percent of the outright winner handle at PointsBet, ahead of Michigan (17.09 percent) and Baylor (12.30 percent).

Jalen Suggs
Gonzaga Bulldogs guard Jalen Suggs. (James Snook-USA TODAY Sports)

Baylor has the second-shortest outright winner odds at +600 despite losing to Oklahoma State in the semifinals of the Big 12 Tournament. Michigan is offered at +650 followed by Illinois (+700), which earned the fourth No. 1 seed.

No other team in the field has shorter odds than Iowa at +1900.

Big Wager Made On Creighton

PointsBet did report a $10,000 wager on Creighton at +2000 that would pay out $210,000 if the Bluejays win the tournament. The book also received a $2,000 bet on Missouri at +12500 that would pay out $102,000 if the Tigers won the title as a heavy long shot.

Gonzaga will be just the fifth team — and the first since Kentucky in 2014-15 — to enter the NCAA Tournament undefeated since Indiana completed the last perfect championship season in 1975-76.

The Bulldogs also will enter the tournament with 23 consecutive double-digit victories.

Duke and Kentucky were not named to the field of 68, which was announced Sunday. The last time those two programs each missed the tournament? Also in 1976.

Two other decorated programs, Michigan State and UCLA, barely made the field and will meet in a First Four game on Thursday for the right to play No. 6 BYU as an 11th seed. The Spartans are being offered as 1.5-point favorites to defeat UCLA by PointsBet.

There are four teams on standby in case any team in the field has to withdraw by Tuesday at 6 p.m. ET due to COVID-19. Those four teams are, in order, Louisville, Colorado State, Saint Louis and Mississippi. One caveat: If a team from a one-bid conference withdraws, it will be replaced by a team from the same conference.

–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)