In the NCAA Tournament, 1-seeds have a better record against 5-seeds than they do against 11-seeds. They’ve also had better success against 5-seeds than against 6-seeds and 8-seeds. And that success will continue on Sunday in the Sweet 16
Gonzaga vs. Creighton on Sunday in Indianapolis will be the only 1-5 matchup of the 2021 NCAA Tournament but the 55th all-time 1-5 matchup. The Bulldogs’ predecessors have dominated the series, winning 45 of 54 games (.833). Forty-nine of the games have been played in the Sweet 16, most recently (5) Auburn’s win over (1) North Carolina in 2019. It was only the ninth time a 5-seed beat a 1-seed in the Sweet 16.
In their sixth straight regional semifinal, Gonzaga is a 13-point favorite over Creighton, the largest spread of the weekend. If you’re confident the Bulldogs will deny the Bluejays their first Elite Eight since 1941 but shaky on the double-digit spread, the moneyline is worth considering in a three- or four-team parlay.
Gonzaga is a -1100 moneyline favorite, which is also the biggest number of the weekend and one that would return only $109.09 on a $100 bet on BetMGM. This week on High Motor by BetMGM, we discussed two parlay options that included Gonzaga and bump the return closer to even money:
With odds of -148, a $100 bet returns $167.83 if three favorites win in the Sweet 16. Gonzaga is the best team in college basketball, Creighton’s offense was unimpressive in wins over two double-digit seeds, and the Bluejays are two weeks removed from a blowout loss to Georgetown. Elsewhere, you’re betting Oral Roberts doesn’t become the first-ever 15-seed in the Elite Eight, and Houston’s dominant perimeter defense cools a Syracuse team reliant on three-point shooting.
The second option:
Historically, after a chaotic opening weekend in the NCAA Tournament, the final two weeks are more chalky. This is a chalky parlay with plus odds (+126) and a fat return ($226.57) on a $100 wager. While grabbing Baylor at its opening moneyline (+300) would’ve been better in a straight moneyline bet or this parlay, +350 is plenty to warrant inclusion in a four-team favorite parlay.
Evidently, Villanova was undervalued entering the tournament after an early Big East Tournament exit and Collin Gillespie’s injury. The Wildcats are 2-0 against the spread with covers against Winthrop and North Texas. If you’re not comfortable with the line increase (+6.5 to +7.5) but like Baylor to reach their first Elite Eight since 2012, this is a judicious parlay. Same for Alabama, who’s a 6.5-point favorite over the new ATS king UCLA.
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Andrew Doughty is a writer for BetMGM and host of High Motor by BetMGM, an NFL and college football podcast available on Apple Podcasts and everywhere else. He has written for Sports Illustrated, HERO Sports, Bleacher Report, and SB Nation. Follow him on Twitter: @DoughtyBetMGM