2021 NCAA Tournament title odds: Villanova the favorite; Gonzaga, Texas among best bets

The college basketball season gets underway Wednesday. That means if you’re looking to drop some cheddar on futures bets before the season starts — and before results start to pour in — now’s the time to get ahead of the curve. In two weeks, those trendy long shots may well emerge as contenders, and any lucrative potential payout may drop considerably as odds shorten. 

Shoot your shot if you have convictions checking out the odds below from William Hill Sportsbook, and I’ll walk you through some of my favorite national championship gambles and the reasoning behind each. (Disclaimer: I made my own rules on who I consider sleepers and long shots using the criteria that 25-1 or longer odds are sleepers and any team with 75-1 odds or longer are considered long shots.)


Gonzaga (10-1): Preseason No. 1 team getting 10-1 odds, and behind preseason No. 3 Villanova? Give me some Zags stock! Mark Few has arguably his most talented roster ever, and his first preseason No. 1 team. Between returning pieces like Corey Kispert, Joel Ayayi, Drew Timme — along with the addition of five-star guard Jalen Suggs and Florida transfer Andrew Nembhard — this team is deep with an incredible blend of blue-chip talent and experience. 

Illinois (15-1): Brad Underwood’s Illini are a trendy pick amongst our staff to make the Final Four, so by extension, they are one of my darling picks here at 15-1 to win the whole thing. Underwood returns stars Ayo Dosunmu and Kofi Cockburn and has a top-20 recruiting class in tow led by combo guard Adam Miller. Underwood hasn’t had a backcourt this talented since his one-and-done season at Oklahoma State, when the Cowboys boasted the No. 1-rated offense nationally in adjusted efficiency. 

Wisconsin (20-1): The Badgers might have the best bunch in the Big Ten this season, led by Micah Potter and Nate Reuvers. And after winning eight of their last nine to close last season, this team has the makings of one on the rise yet still being undervalued. There is no reason for Wisconsin to have longer odds than Michigan State (16-1), other than brand power. 


Tennessee (30-1): Rick Barnes and Co. are flying under the radar headed into the season, but with John Fulkerson, Yves Pons and Santiago Vescovi returning, this core group has continuity on its side. Oh, and by the way, five-star guards Jaden Springer and Keon Johnson are joining the mix. Huzzah. Vols have enough scoring punch to challenge for the SEC and beyond. 

Texas (40-1): Texas is … back? Possibly. I’m not ruling it out. The Longhorns return every starter on a young team that went 19-12 and add in five-star high-flying big man Greg Brown. If ever there was a time for Shaka Smart to catch lightning in a bottle, it’s this year. 

Stanford (50-1): Losing Tyrell Terry to the NBA Draft was a huge loss for the Cardinal, but Jerod Haase still has one of the Pac-12’s most interesting rosters. They’ll be led by leading returning scorer Oscar da Silva as well as one-and-done prospect Ziaire Williams, the highest-rated hoops recruit in program history. 

Long shots

Alabama (75-1): Nate Oats is tasked with the unenviable objective of replacing first-rounder Kira Lewis Jr., the team’s leading scorer and assist man. But at the very least he’ll have options, with enough offensive firepower between Jaden Shackelford and John Petty Jr. to stay afloat. The big piece that could elevate this team from good to great is freshman combo guard Josh Primo, a potential one-and-done guard with great size who can make plays on and off the ball. 

Memphis (75-1): A year ago at this time, Penny Hardaway’s Tigers — with No. 1 recruit James Wiseman — were the talk of town in college hoops. Now look at them, off the radar and free of expectations. It sets up for a spot where Memphis should have a chance to exceed expectations. Virginia Tech transfer Landers Nolley should be a difference-maker from day one as should five-star recruit Moussa Cisse. 

Saint Louis (125-1): Travis Ford brings back his top four scorers from last season — including Jordan Goodwin and Javonte Perkins, who averaged a combined 30.5 points per game — to step into a role as one of the potential favorites in the A-10. Coming off a 23-win campaign in which it pushed the likes of Dayton and Auburn in close contests and toppled the likes of Richmond, Kansas State and VCU, this team has the goods to be one of the best at the mid-major level.

Odds to win 2020 NCAA Tournament

— Courtesy William Hill Sportsbook

Villanova Wildcats+900Gonzaga Bulldogs+1000Baylor Bears+1000Virginia Cavaliers+1000Iowa Hawkeyes+1200Kentucky Wildcats+1200Kansas Jayhawks+1200Duke Blue Devils+1400Illinois Fighting Illini+1500Michigan State Spartans+1600West Virginia Mountaineers+1800Wisconsin Badgers+2000Creighton Bluejays+2500North Carolina Tar Heels+2500Florida State Seminoles+2500Tennessee Volunteers+3000Ohio State Buckeyes+3000Houston Cougars+3000Texas Tech Red Raiders+3000Oregon Ducks+3000Arizona State Sun Devils+3000Michigan Wolverines+4000Maryland Terrapins+4000Texas Longhorns+4000Florida Gators+4000UCLA Bruins+4000San Diego State Aztecs+4000Louisville Cardinals+4000Arizona Wildcats+5000Stanford Cardinal+5000LSU Tigers+5000Richmond Spiders+5000Indiana Hoosiers+5000Purdue Boilermakers+6000Connecticut Huskies+6000Alabama Crimson Tide+7500Colorado Buffaloes+7500Dayton Flyers+7500Arkansas Razorbacks+7500USC Trojans+7500Memphis Tigers+7500Northern Iowa Panthers+10000Oklahoma Sooners+10000Xavier Musketeers+10000Miami FL Hurricanes+10000Seton Hall Pirates+10000Rutgers Scarlet Knights+10000Syracuse Orange+10000Notre Dame Fighting Irish+10000Mississippi State Bulldogs+10000Butler Bulldogs+10000Ole Miss Rebels+12500St Louis Billikens+12500Penn State Nittany Lions+12500South Carolina Gamecocks+12500Marquette Golden Eagles+12500Iowa State Cyclones+15000Clemson Tigers+15000Wichita State Shockers+15000Minnesota Golden Gophers+15000Texas A&M Aggies+15000Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets+15000Utah Utes+15000Cincinnati Bearcats+15000BYU Cougars+15000Rhode Island Rams+20000North Carolina State Wolf Pack+20000Providence Friars+20000Pittsburgh Panthers+20000Virginia Tech Hokies+20000St Marys Gaels+20000TCU Horned Frogs+25000Oregon State Beavers+30000Tulsa Golden Hurricanes+30000Washington Huskies+30000SMU Mustangs+30000Missouri Tigers+30000St Johns Red Storm+30000UNLV Rebels+50000Kansas State Wildcats+50000Nebraska Cornhuskers+50000Temple Owls+50000Georgetown Hoyas+50000California Golden Bears+50000Davidson Wildcats+50000Georgia Bulldogs+50000VCU Rams+75000St Bonaventure Bonnies+75000Yale Bulldogs+75000Washington State Cougars+75000Boston College Eagles+75000New Mexico State Aggies+75000Central Florida Knights+75000South Florida Bulls+75000Utah State Aggies+75000Wake Forest Demon Deacons+75000Duquesne Dukes+75000DePaul Blue Demons+75000Nevada Wolf Pack+100000Iona Gaels+100000Liberty Flames+100000Northwestern Wildcats+150000Loyola Chicago Ramblers+150000Akron Zips+150000Boise State Broncos+150000Belmont Bruins+150000Vermont Catamounts+150000Cal Irvine Anteaters+150000Stephen F Austin Lumberjacks+150000Vanderbilt Commodores+150000Hofstra Pride+150000North Texas Mean Green+200000Pacific Tigers+200000Bowling Green Falcons+200000UMass Minutemen+250000San Francisco Dons+250000Little Rock Trojans+250000Tulane Green Wave+250000Winthrop Eagles+250000George Mason Patriots+250000East Tennessee State Buccaneers+250000New Mexico Lobos+250000Bradley Braves+250000Bradley Braves+250000


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