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NCAA Tournament South Region Betting Primer

by March 18, 2021

The South Region of this year’s NCAA Tournament bracket has a little bit of everything, just as March Madness regions should. From the top-seeded Baylor Bears, who look every bit the part of a national championship contender, to notable double-digit seeds in Winthrop and Colgate, the South Region is ready to put on one heck of a show.

The South Region will be in action with first-round games on Friday (March 19th) and second-round games on Sunday (March 21st) in the first weekend of the tournament. Like the entire NCAA Tournament this year, all games will take place in the state of Indiana. Read on for a betting primer for the 16-team South Region bracket. Included are team odds to reach the Final Four and win the national championship, along with a look at the first-round matchups and betting lines for Friday’s games.

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Odds to Win the South Region

Depending on the sportsbook you play at, the betting odds to win the South Region (or any of the four NCAA Tournament regions) might be listed as “To Reach the Final Four.” Either way, the wagers are on a team to win their respective region and advance to the national semifinals. Here are the odds to do so for each of the 16 South Region teams in order from highest to lowest seeding. A brief overview of each team is included.

Note: Odds reflect the BettingPros Consensus

Baylor Bears (-134)

If you’re betting on the South, you need to lay money on Baylor to reach the Final Four. The one-seed Bears have lost only twice all season and are the class of the region when it comes to talent and playmaking. A steady dose of transfer players also gives Baylor a wealth of experience, something that is known to pay dividends in March. After stubbing their toe in the Big 12 Tournament and losing to Oklahoma State, look for the three-headed backcourt monster of Jared Butler, MaCio Teague, and Davion Mitchell to play hungry in the tournament.

Ohio State Buckeyes (+400)

Ohio State went on quite a run in the Big Ten Tournament, falling in overtime of the championship game to Illinois despite it being their fourth game in four days. One could argue that the Buckeyes already got their slump out of the way prior to March, as they endured a four-game losing streak just prior to the Big Ten tourney. Guard Duane Washington Jr. and forward E.J. Liddell lead the way for Ohio State in the scoring department.

Arkansas Razorbacks (+800)

Eric Musselman has built yet another winner in Fayetteville, as his Arkansas team is relevant at the national level. The Razorbacks have what it takes for a lengthy NCAA Tournament stay as the South Region’s three-seed. Led by sensational freshman and future NBA lottery pick Moses Moody, four Arkansas players average in double-figures scoring-wise. They play with tempo and aren’t afraid to get up and down the court offensively.

Purdue Boilermakers (+1150) 

With a star like Trevion Williams, Purdue simply cannot be counted out when it comes to possibly navigate through the South Region all the way to the Final Four. The big man led the Boilermakers in points and rebounds this season. Purdue’s style of basketball differs mightily from three-seed Arkansas in that they play at a much slower pace and will look to wear you down defensively. They’ve got the size and talent to make a run, but will they have enough offense to compete with the South Region’s other top seeds?

Villanova Wildcats (+1150)

Jay Wright is arguably the best coach in the South Region, and Villanova will need him to have a top-notch game plan this year. The wildcats lost guard Collin Gillespie for the season just a couple of weeks ago, and they haven’t looked the same since. Gillespie was the team’s second-leading scorer behind Jeremiah Robinson-Earl. Without him, Villanova dropped a regular-season game to Providence and their first contest in the Big East Tournament to eventual champion Georgetown. Nova obviously has the pedigree, but their situation isn’t appealing this season.

Texas Tech Red Raiders (+600)

After ascending odds in terms of length to win the South Region over the first five teams in the region, we have our first outlier in six-seed Texas Tech. Chris Beard and company know a thing or two about extended NCAA Tournament runs, and this year’s Red Raiders squad has the talent to enjoy another extended stay. Georgetown transfer Mac McClung will get his shot on the NCAA Tournament stage. He led a quartet of Red Raider guards that averaged double-figure scoring this year. 

Florida Gators (+1800)

Florida failed to do much in the SEC Tournament to boost their March Madness stock, and they must now navigate the bracket as the South’s seven-seed. Like Arkansas, this is a Gators team that is not afraid to get up and down and trade buckets with opponents. Tre Mann averaged 16 points per game to lead four total Gators who averaged double-digit scoring. The loss of Keyontae Johnson to a heart condition early in the season weakened both Florida’s roster and NCAA prospects.

North Carolina Tar Heels (+1150)

If the betting odds are any indication, North Carolina is another team that has taken some money to win the South Region and advance to the Final Four. As the eight-seed, the Tar Heels will have to first get through nine-seed Wisconsin and then face top-seeded Baylor in the Round of 32. While not impossible, it certainly will be a tough opening weekend for what hasn’t exactly been a vintage UNC team this year. Armando Bacot is the team’s leading scorer and rebounder, while guard Caleb Love will have to come up big in the tournament.

Wisconsin Badgers (+1000)

Like their First Round opponent in North Carolina, Wisconsin has also taken some money as a lower seed that could ultimately win the South Region. Record-wise, the Badgers don’t exactly appear to be intimidating. Wisconsin finished the season 17-12, although that’s plenty good enough to be included in the NCAA Tournament given that they play in the loaded Big Ten Conference. Guard D’Mitrik Trice gives the Badgers a gifted scorer who can get white-hot from long range at any given moment. Combine his shooting with a disciplined team defensive effort, and Wisconsin won’t be an easy out.

Virginia Tech Hokies (+3000)

All four ten-seeds in this year’s NCAA Tournament have potential, but Virginia Tech is arguably the most talented of the bunch. Forward Keve Aluma and guards Tyrece Radford and Nahiem Alleyne all averaged double-digit scoring this season, and the Hokies finished third in the ACC. A loss to North Carolina in the conference tournament damaged their seeding for March Madness, but perhaps flying under the radar as a double-digit seed is more fitting for Mike Young’s team.

Utah State Aggies (+1800)

Another unique aspect of the South Region is that each of the top ten teams all hail from Power Six conference. That makes 11-seed Utah State the first non-power conference team in the bracket. Many doubted that the Aggies were even a lock to be in the field of 68 after they fell short in the Mountain West Championship Game to San Diego State. The committee showed respect for USU in that they weren’t even among the last four teams in. For however long the Aggies last, big man Neemias Queta will cause major problems for opponents on the interior. He averaged a double-double this season with 15.1 points and 10.0 rebounds. But the true jaw-dropping number? His 3.2 blocks per game.

Winthrop Eagles (+8000)

The tournament’s 12-seeds have been known to cause chaos over the years. This year’s South Region 12-seed is more than capable of doing just that. Winthrop lost but a single game all season and simply destroyed their opposition in the Big South Tournament on their way to receiving an automatic bid. Chandler Vaudrin led a quartet of Winthrop players that averaged double-digit scoring this year. Vaudrin is the type of guard that keeps opposing teams awake at night in March. Transfer D.J. Burns Jr. leads the Eagles in the frontcourt and is a gifted scorer in his own right. Dismissing Winthrop entirely would be a major mistake.

North Texas Mean Green (+8000)

It will certainly be a contrast in styles when 13-seed North Texas takes on Purdue in the First Round on Friday. Where Purdue is heavily reliant on size and strong play on the interior, the Mean Green are the exact opposite. North Texas was outsized in a big way in their Conference USA title game against Western Kentucky, yet they made enough shots and played scrappy defense to pull off the upset in overtime. Four Mean Green players averaged double-figure scoring this season, led by Javion Hamlett. It is worth noting that North Texas was picked to win Conference USA in the preseason poll. While they’ll be at a major size disadvantage in the First Round, there is a level of respect for the talent on this team.

Colgate Raiders (+6000)

As a 14-seed, Colgate will be out to prove that their top-10 ranking in the College Basketball Net is no fluke. Needless to say, the tempo with which the Raiders play should mesh with that of Arkansas to yield a track meet in their opening-round game. Jordan Burns led four Raiders in double-digit scoring this season with 17.0 points per game. Colgate was easily the class of the Patriot League field. With the way this team makes shots, they’ll never truly be out of a game.

Oral Roberts Golden Eagles (+10000)

Oral Roberts was a bit of a surprise coming out of the Summit League Tournament as a four-seed. But let’s be honest: it’s really only fitting that the nation’s leading scorer be included in March Madness. Guard Max Abmas led all players in Division 1 with an average of 24.2 points per game. He will get his shot to show out on the NCAA tournament stage. Whether Oral Roberts has anything else to put up any kind of fight as a 15-seed is another story.

Hartford Hawks (+15000)

Well, the 16-seed Hartford Hawks were another surprise NCAA Tournament team, as they won the America East Tournament as a four-seed. The Hawks took down perennial conference powerhouse Vermont in the semis before knocking off six-seed UMass Lowell on their home court to win the championship. Hartford has a trio of guards who averaged over 11 points per game this season in Austin Williams, Traci Carter, and Moses Flowers. While it’s ill-advised to say “impossible,” the Hawks will be hard-pressed to extend their March Madness stay far past their matchup with Baylor. That said, it’s worth noting that UMBC, the only 16-seed to ever pull off the 16-over-1 upset, also hailed from the America East Conference.

South Region First Round Game Lines 

The following section contains the betting lines for all eight First Round games in the South Region bracket. All games are scheduled for Friday, March 19.

Note: Odds reflect the BettingPros Consensus

(1) Baylor vs. (16) Hartford

Moneyline: BAY: (-10000) | HAR: (+1600)
Spread: BAY: -25.5 (-108) | HAR: +25.5 (-112)
Total: 140 — Over: (-110) | Under: (-108)

(2) Ohio State vs. (15) Oral Roberts

Moneyline: OSU: (-1667) | ORU: (+950)
Spread: OSU: -16 (-110) | ORU: +16 (-109)
Total: 156.5 — Over: (-110) | Under: (-108)

(3) Arkansas vs. (14) Colgate

Moneyline: ARK: (-410) | COL: (+310)
Spread: ARK: -8.5 (-110) | COL: +8.5 (-110)
Total: 161.5 — Over: (-108) | Under: (-110)

(4) Purdue vs. (13) North Texas

Moneyline: PUR: (-335) | NTU: (+260)
Spread: PUR: -7.5 (-106) | NTU: +7.5 (-112)
Total: 136.5 — Over: (-109) | Under: (-111)

(5) Villanova vs. (12) Winthrop

Moneyline: VIL: (-272) | WIN: (+220)
Spread: VIL: -6.5 (-109) | WIN: +6.5 (-111)
Total: 143 — Over: (-108) | Under: (-110)

(6) Texas Tech vs. (11) Utah State

Moneyline: TTU: (-190) | USU: (+155)
Spread: TTU: -4 (-108) | USU: +4 (-110)
Total: 131.5 — Over: (-110) | Under: (-110)

(7) Florida vs. (10) Virginia Tech

Moneyline: FLA: (-110) | VT: (-110)
Spread: FLA: -1 (-109) | VT: +1 (-112)
Total: 135 — Over: (-110) | Under: (-110)

(8) North Carolina vs. (9) Wisconsin

Moneyline: UNC: (-125) | WIS: (+100)
Spread: UNC: -1.5 (-110) | WIS: +1.5 (-110)
Total: 137.5 — Over: (-110) | Under: (-110)

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Henry John is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Henry, check out his archive and follow him @HankTimeSports.

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