March Madness started with 68 teams, but ultimately the two best teams sidestepped upset bids to reach the national championship game.
West top-seed Gonzaga (31-0) will face the South’s No. 1 seed Baylor (27-2) at 8:20 tonight from Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. CBS has coverage, starting at 8 p.m.
DraftKings Sportsbook features a “Bet $1 to Win $100” offer for first-time users. The promotion is open until tipoff. Be sure to review all the terms and conditions.
In addition, DK has an “Underdog Flip” promotion set up for tonight’s game. The sportsbook will give Iowa bettors a single-use odds boost to use on Gonzaga to cover an alternative spread of +4.5 points.
DraftKings has more details, but bettors can select “Alternate Point Spread” from the game’s betting page, then add “Gonzaga +4.5” to their bet slip. Remember to select the boost in the bet slip before placing the bet. Otherwise, participants may not have the boosted price applied.
As of 3 p.m. Monday, DraftKings said 54% of spread bets are on Gonzaga, 59% of total points bets are on the over and 57% of moneyline bets are on Baylor.
Kevin Hennessy, at FanDuel, has been tracking betting trends at his sportsbook. He said Baylor “is dominating the moneyline bet count and handle” as the noon hour approached in Iowa. The Bears were pulling in 81% of the bet count and 76% of the handle, according to his figures.
The margins are closer with the spread: Baylor was getting 56% of the bet count and 51% of the handle. At 54%, more bettors think the game will go past the 159 points set at FanDuel, but more of the handle is going toward the under, at a clip of 61%.
Betfred also has an offer centered around the championship game total as well. Iowa bettors can wager $200 or more on the total points market at Betfred and get 30% back if the bet loses — up to $1,000.
Gonzaga vs. Baylor national championship odds
PointsBet offers ‘bad beats’ do-over once March Madness ends
PointsBet has a Karma Kommittee to refund customers who suffered a bad beat during March college basketball. The Jalen Suggs winning shot for Gonzaga as the clock expired Saturday certainly qualifies, the sportsbook confirmed after the game.
After the conclusion of the NCAA Tournament, the sportsbook invites its bettors to send in a bad beat involving games between March 18 and the conclusion of the national championship game. The “Kommittee” will refund up to $50 in bonus bets. Check the terms and conditions.
National championship teams are familiar to Iowans
Iowa coach Fran McCaffery and former Iowa State coach Steve Prohm could certainly provide scouting reports for tonight’s National Championship participants. No. 1 Gonzaga edged No. 3 Iowa 99-88 on Dec. 19 in Sioux Falls, SD.
After the game, McCaffery told reporters:
“(Gonzaga) challenges you in a lot of ways. They have a lot of weapons, they play fast and push the ball. They execute in their half court offense and they have depth.”
The Bulldogs advanced to the national championship game with a 93-90 overtime thriller over 11-seed UCLA Saturday night. Suggs took three dribbles and launched a bank shot just past the half-court line to seal the win. The Bulldogs are in line to become the first team since the 1976 Indiana Hoosiers to go undefeated.
Coach Mark Few told reporters:
“We were lucky enough to hit a 50-footer. So, it helps when you have a magical, special guy like Jalen — special at the end of games.”
Cyclones just missed a regular season upset
Iowa State faced Baylor twice in Big 12 Conference play. The Cyclones limped to a 2-22 (and 0-18 conference) record, but they played the Bears tough in both games. Baylor beat the Cyclones 76-65 Jan. 2 in Ames. The Bears avoided a shocker with a 77-72 win on Feb. 23 in Waco, TX.
Baylor coach Scott Drew called the second game against Iowa State “a real gut check.”
“When you’re not playing well and you’re not back to what you’re used to, and you can battle back and get a win when all the pressure is on you, that says a lot about our guys. When you make history, it’s never easy. Best start in Baylor history — that 18th win was a tough one, just like all the others.”
Baylor advanced to the National Championship game with a dominating 78-59 win over second-seeded Houston on Saturday night.
“All year long, our secret to success has been our bench. It’s a starting rotation. Again, it’s not five guys. We’ve got a starting rotation, and everybody comes in and provides a lift for us. I think that’s been a big reason why we’ve been successful all year.”