Despite the upsets, the finale of this year’s men’s NCAA Tournament pits the two best teams against each other: Gonzaga and Baylor.
The two top-seeded teams face each other at 9:20 Monday night on CBS to decide this year’s national champion. Gonzaga opened at DraftKings as a -4.5-point favorite with a -200 moneyline. Baylor’s moneyline currently sits at +163, while the total has dropped a half point from 160 to 159.5.
This marks the final game of the first NCAA Tournament Michigan residents could wager on. The state debuted retail sports betting in March 2020 but the coronavirus pandemic forced the cancellation of last year’s event. Michigan officially launched its mobile sports betting and online casino platforms on Jan. 22.
For people looking to wager on the final college game of the season, here’s what to look for.
The Bulldogs have been favored in every game this season and are 16-13-2 against the spread. Gonzaga is 4-1 ATS versus top 25 opponents and 4-1 ATS in this year’s tournament.
Gonzaga needed a 30-foot buzzer-beating 3 in overtime to advance past UCLA 93-90 on Saturday. It was the closest margin of victory for the team this season, as UCLA shot an efficient 34 of 59 from the field (57%), including 8 for 17 from 3 (47%).
The one definitive advantage the Zags have over Baylor is in the post. Center Drew Timme is averaging 22 points per game and is coming off a 25-point performance against UCLA where he made 11 of 15 shots. Baylor’s three primary forwards combine to average 15.6 points and will be tested when it comes to defending Timme in the post.
The Bears are led by their three-guard backcourt in Jared Butler (16.5 ppg), Macio Teague (15.9) and Davion Mitchell (14.0). All three will have to have success from the perimeter in order for Baylor to pull off the upset.
In Baylor’s two losses to Kansas and Oklahoma State, the common denominator has been the team’s poor shooting. Baylor made just 6 of 26 from 3 against Kansas (23%) and was just 6 for 28 in 3-pointers (21%) versus Oklahoma State.
The convincing 78-59 Final Four win over Houston is the type of offensive success Baylor will need to duplicate. The Bears made 11 of 24 from 3 (46%), with Butler leading the way with 17, while Mitchell added 12 and Teague had 11.
Mitchell defending Gonzaga’s Jalen Suggs will be one of the key matchups to watch. Mitchell was named the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year, while Suggs is projected to be a top five pick in this year’s NBA Draft.
Various sportsbooks are running different promotions for the national title game.
PointBet is giving out $150 if Gonzaga or Baylor scores. PointsBet is also letting users bet $20 on Gonzaga and giving out $300 if the team wins.
BetMGM is allowing players to bet $1 and rewarding $100 if Gonzaga makes a 3.
FanDuel is letting new users win $200 if Gonzaga beats Baylor off of a $5 bet.
On DraftKings, players can bet Gonzaga +4.5 for +100 odds.