Iowa Enters March Madness As Odds-On Favorite Vs. Grand Canyon

Posted By Russ Mitchell on March 19, 2021

Iowa coach Fran McCaffery signed a four-year contract extension this week — now it’s time to earn his March Madness pay.

The Hawkeyes landed the No. 2 seed in the West Regional, where they will face No. 15 seed Grand Canyon (17-6). Sportsbooks see a ravine-sized gap between Saturday’s opponents. Iowa was a 14.5 point favorite over the Antelopes as of Friday afternoon.

The tip is 5:25 p.m. Saturday at Indiana Farmers Coliseum in Indianapolis. TBS will carry the game. PlayIA.com tracks the betting lines at all of the major sportsbooks:

Iowa vs. Grand Canyon odds

 

Sharp money has brought the odds down, but public money is about 3-to-1 in favor of Iowa, according to John Sheeran, FanDuel’s director of risk and trading:

“We’ve seen some sharp play for Grand Canyon to cover — what we had at 16 points initially is down to 14 and-a-half right now. Not a strong feel in terms of where it goes from here, maybe slightly toward Grand Canyon again, but I wouldn’t be too opinionated on that.”

Iowa started the year with the third or fourth-best futures odds to win the national championship at FanDuel. The sportsbook currently gives the Hawkeyes the fifth-best odds at +1800, Sheeran said:

“They just slacked off a little bit. I think we saw their vulnerabilities last week (at the Big Ten Tournament), and it’s compounded by the fact that they’re having to get past Gonzaga to progress in the tournament. And, they may not even get as far as a meeting with Gonzaga on our numbers.”

No. 7 seed Oregon (20-6) plays No. 10 Virginia Commonwealth (19-7) Saturday afternoon. That winner would face the Iowa-Grand Canyon winner on Monday.

Photo by Charlie Neibergall / AP
Russ Mitchell Avatar
Written by
Russ Mitchell

Russ Mitchell has been covering news and sports in northwest Iowa since 1997, including 11 years as managing editor for one of the most acclaimed community newspapers in the state. He looks forward to keeping readers up to date on the growing sportsbook industry in Iowa.

View all posts by Russ Mitchell