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NCAA March Madness betting: Who is Vegas rooting for in Gonzaga vs. Baylor?

Sam Cooper
·4-min read

The marquee national championship matchup most hoped for throughout the season has finally arrived. The NCAA tournament’s top two seeds — Gonzaga and Baylor — will meet Monday night in Indianapolis with history on the line.

Gonzaga, on the heels of its dramatic, last-second victory over UCLA in the Final Four, is looking to become the first undefeated national champion since Indiana in 1976. It would be the first national championship in program history for the Bulldogs.

Baylor, in its first Final Four since 1950, has never won a national title in men’s basketball either, so history will be made regardless of the outcome.

From a betting perspective, the sportsbook is rooting heavy for two sides: Baylor and the under.

We’ll start with the total, which currently sits at 159.5 at BetMGM. One BetMGM customer put down a huge bet — $330,000 to win $300,000 — on the over. As of Monday morning, it’s the biggest bet on the national title game BetMGM has received.

It has pushed the betting splits heavily toward the over, with now 84% of the money on that side of the total. The tickets are a bit more even — 60% on the over, 40% on the under.

Only two of Gonzaga’s five NCAA tournament games have gone over the total. For Baylor, it’s three of five hitting the over. Baylor’s national semifinal victory over Houston came down to a bucket by a seldom-used walk-on in the final minute for the over to hit.

Big future money on Gonzaga

From a point spread perspective, Gonzaga is favored by 4.5 points — down a half-point from the opening line of -5.

The betting action has been pretty even. The bets are currently split 50-50, but 56% of the money is on Gonzaga to cover the spread.

Where BetMGM is more concerned is with the volume of futures bets it received on Gonzaga. Of the bets BetMGM received on the national title winner, 15.1% of them were on Gonzaga, but 37.3% of the money was also on Gonzaga. That includes a $100,000 bet on Gonzaga when its odds were +150. If Gonzaga wins, no matter the point differential, that bettor will win $150,000.

Because of that liability, BetMGM will be rooting for the Bears.

“This is the matchup we all wanted to see. With the two best teams in the country playing for the national championship we expect a lot of action on the game. The best outcome for the book would be Baylor winning outright,” said Seamus Magee, a sports trader for BetMGM.

Gonzaga forward Drew Timme celebrates after a dunk during the second half of a men's Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament semifinal game against UCLA, Saturday, April 3, 2021, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Gonzaga forward Drew Timme celebrates after a dunk during the second half of a men's Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament semifinal game against UCLA, Saturday, April 3, 2021, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

The most popular Most Outstanding Player bet

Gonzaga big man Drew Timme has had a sensational NCAA tournament. The 6-foot-10 sophomore is averaging 25 points over his team’s last four outings, including a 25-point effort in the semifinals against UCLA.

On the back of those performances, Timme is currently the favorite to win the Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA tournament at -120. His teammate, star freshman point guard Jalen Suggs, is right behind him at +115, but Timme has attracted far more action at BetMGM.

Timme has received 37.4% of the bets and a whopping 63.7% of the money at BetMGM. Suggs is next at 14.3% of the bets and 12.7% of the money. Next in line is another Gonzaga player, sharpshooting senior Corey Kispert. Kispert, who currently has +2000 odds, has received 9.8% of the bets and 6.3% of the money.

The Baylor player with the best odds is Davion Mitchell at +400. Mitchell, who had 12 points and 11 assists in BU’s win over Houston, has received 4.3% of the bets and 2.5% of the money.

Other MOP candidates in Monday night’s game include Baylor’s Jared Butler at +800, Gonzaga’s Joel Ayayi at +1600 and Baylor’s Macio Teague at +2000.

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