Iowa basketball March Madness odds, best bets, and season recap
March Madness is less than a month away, and this time it’s actually happening (barring any last-minute disasters, of course). It’s going to be a lot different in 2021 with the entire NCAA Tournament in one location, but having been cancelled in 2020 the players are going to be even more enthused than usual and the bettors will be especially eager. With the regular season wining down, it’s time to start looking ahead at the teams that can expect to be serious National Championship contenders. We’ll be breaking them down one by one, and our series continues with the 11th-ranked Iowa Hawkeyes.
Iowa basketball schedule – The season so far
Iowa was the absolute toast of the town in college basketball through the first three weeks of the season. Luka Garza was looking completely unstoppable and Hawkeyes were crushing opponents left and right while averaging more than 100 points per game. However, on Dec. 19 the competition got a lot tougher in the form of Gonzaga and Iowa went down to the top-ranked team in the land via a 99-88 decision. Head coach Fran McCaffery’s club has not been its early-season self ever since, with five more losses—all of which have come against Big Ten rivals. Still, this Iowa team is very good if not great. It is 11-5 in arguably the toughest conference in college basketball and Garza is basically a lock for the Wooden Award as Player of the Year (-2200). The senior center—despite cooling off just a little bit—is averaging 24.7 points and 8.4 rebounds per game while shooting 56.3 percent from the floor.
As good as Garza is, by no means is this squad a one-man show. Nine different players are logging more than 11 minutes per game and six are scoring at least 7.0 ppg. That includes guard Joe Wieskamp, who is contributing 15.5 ppg on 50.9 percent shooting both overall and from three-point range to go along with 6.7 rpg and 1.0 spg. Fellow guard CJ Fredrick is another 50 percent shooter from the land of plenty. Iowa’s combination of outside shooting and Garza down low is a nightmare for opposing defenses. It is no surprise that the Hawkeyes are scoring 87.0 points per contest, good for fourth in the nation. They are second in the country in assists at 19.6 apg.
If Iowa can simply be decent on defense in March, it can go a long way. Sometimes, though, McCaffery’s squad is not even mediocre on that end of the floor. In five of their six losses, the Hawkeyes have surrendered at least 80 points—including 99 to the Zags and 102 to Minnesota (albeit in overtime).
Sportsbook betting odds for Iowa to win the NCAA Tournament
Beyond Baylor and Gonzaga, who are the undisputed and heavy top-two favorites to win the National Championship, odds fluctuate wildly at most sportsbooks. Iowa is a tied a +1600 fifth favorite at FanDuel to win it all. At DraftKings, the Hawkeyes are tied as +2000 10th choices to cut down the nets in Indianapolis.
Odds are also available for the Big Ten Tournament, in which Iowa is a +475 fourth choice at DraftKings. In one of the deepest and quite simply one of the best conferences in the country, Michigan is a +225 favorite ahead of Ohio State (+300) and Illinois (+405).
At both FanDuel and DraftKings, the Hawkeyes are +350 to make the Final Four. They are +1500 at DraftKings to snag a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. As for the Wooden Award, you can’t get Garza at anything more enticing than -2000 odds at any book. Yes, he pretty much has that prestigious individual honor all wrapped up.
Best Iowa March Madness bets
At relatively long +475 odds just to win its own conference tournament, Iowa has good value in the Big Ten. With a strong finish to the regular season, the Hawkeyes could get the No. 3 seed and would therefore avoid the other best teams until at least the semifinals and would be on the opposite side of the bracket from Michigan.
That being said, in terms of value I like +1500 to earn a No. 1 seed in the Big Dance even more. The fourth and final top seed is up for grabs, with Baylor, Gonzaga, and Michigan locked into the first three No. 1 seeds. If one of the Big Ten’s best teams—other than the Wolverines—win the conference tournament, it will have a real shot at being that fourth squad. And it could be Iowa. If the Hawkeyes can go 3-1 to end the regular season, win the Big Ten Tournament, and have Florida State lose in the ACC Tournament, a No. 1 seed is a real possibility.
March Madness team-by-team guides
Be sure to check out the rest of our March Madness team guides, providing everything you need to know ahead of the huge college basketball tournament!
- Gonzaga Bulldogs
- Baylor Bears
- Villanova Wildcats
- Alabama Crimson Tide
- Michigan Wolverines
- Texas Longhorns