Baylor’s March Madness Title Odds Shorten to +200 After Overcoming Villanova

Davion Mitchell, Guard, Baylor

Baylor guard Davion Mitchell (45) celebrates a play with Adam Flagler in the second half of a Sweet 16 game against Villanova in the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Saturday, March 27, 2021. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)

  • The NCAA championship odds of the Baylor Bears shortened to +200 after they advanced to the Elite 8 on Saturday
  • Baylor rallied for a 62-51 victory over the Villanova Wildcats in the Sweet 16
  • The Bears most recently reached the Final Four in 1949-50

The Baylor Bears are retaining their status as the second betting choice in the NCAA championship odds. However, they are closing the gap on the favored Gonzaga Bulldogs in the March Madness betting lines.

Rallying for a 62-51 verdict over the fifth-seeded Villanova Wildcats, the #1 Bears ended up booking a place through to the Elite 8 and into the South Region final. Baylorโ€™s betting line to win the title shortened to +200.

The average odds across the leading online sportsbooks of the Bears winning the NCAA title prior to the Sweet 16 was +325.

2021 NCAA Tournament Odds

Team Odds at DraftKings
Gonzaga +150
Baylor +200
Michigan +750
Houston +900
Alabama +1100
Oregon State +1400
Florida State +1500
USC +2500
Oregon +3300
Creighton +4000
UCLA +4000
Syracuse +5500

Odds as of March 27th

Baylor is in the Elite 8 for the first time since 2011-12. The Bears most recently advanced to the Final Four in 1949-50.

Bear-ly Breathing

For the longest time during Saturdayโ€™s game, it was appearing as if Baylor would be the victims of a Wildcats strike. Three-time NCAA champions Villanova gave the Bears a real scare.

It was 30-23 Villanova at halftime. At one stage in the first half, the Bears went four minutes without a point. That was during a 13-0 Wildcats run.

A 14-2 Baylor run during the second half finally put the Bears in front on the scoreboard with a six-point advantage. Playing a role in the rally were eight steals by Baylor players. The Bears also finished up forcing 15 Villanova turnovers.

The Wildcats were just the second team this season to hold Baylorโ€™s potent offense under 65 points in a game.

Three Strikes Are Out

Baylorโ€™s usual path to victory simply wasnโ€™t there for the Bears on Saturday. The top 3-point shooting team in the nation at 41.5%, Baylor was a miserable 15.7% (3-for-19) from long range.

Davion Mitchell, shooting 46.1% from beyond the arc this season, went 0-for-3. Jared Butler was 1-for-9 and limited to nine points.

Unable to make Plan A work, Baylor was left to show everyone that itโ€™s more than a one-trick pony. The Bears turned to defense to whittle away at the deficit.

They trapped Villanova ball handlers. At one point, the Wildcats turned the ball over on five successive possessions.

Switching gears on offense, the Bears abandoned the long ball and got to work in the trenches. opting for an inside game. Baylor crashed the boards, grabbing 11 offensive rebounds.

Silencing The Doubters

Undoubtedly, those who are insisting the 25-2 Bears arenโ€™t all that were chortling the โ€œI told you soโ€™sโ€ during the first half against Villanova. The second half probably quieted them down some, though.

Baylor displayed that thereโ€™s more to this team than a one-trick pony. The Bears proved they can win with defense.

They showed that even when their two future NBA players โ€“ Butler and Mitchell โ€“ arenโ€™t firing on all cylinders, there are other routes to success. Adam Flagler came off the bench Saturday to score a game-high 16 points.

Baylor is for real and a legitimate contender to win it all.

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Robert Duff