Michigan basketball March Madness odds, best bets, and season recap
March Madness is one 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 third-ranked Michigan Wolverines.
Michigan basketball schedule – The season so far
Heading into Sunday’s date with Ohio State, Michigan has lost only one game this season. Some of that has to do with the fact that there have been multiple postponements. It can also be attributed to the fact that the Wolverines’ schedule is stacked at the back end. They still have to play the Buckeyes, Iowa, Illinois, and Michigan State twice. Still, 15-1 is 15-1; and in the Big Ten, 10-1 is 10-1 no matter how you slice it. This team is the real deal. Top 25 wins have come against Northwestern, Minnesota, and Wisconsin twice. However, head coach Juwan Howard’s squad also got blown out by Minnesota when it faced the Golden Gophers on the road (75-57 on Jan. 16).
The Wolverines boast one of the best frontcourts in the nation with center Hunter Dickinson and forward Isaiah Livers. Add in 6’9’’ Franz Wagner, one of the best rebounding guards there is, and Michigan can be dominant on the glass. Dickinson, Livers, and Wagner are all averaging at least 6.1 rebounds and 1.0 blocks per game. Austin Davis is a factor down low, as well.
Those four are a big reason why the Wolverines are allowing only 64.9 points per game. They are second in the nation in opponents’ shooting percentage at 37.7, trailing only Houston.
Sportsbook betting odds for Michigan to win the NCAA Tournament
Regardless of the sportsbook you use, Michigan is currently a third favorite to win it all, trailing Gonzaga and Baylor. At FanDuel, the Wolverines are +700 (Gonzaga is +270 and Baylor is +300). DraftKings has them at +650 (Baylor is +250 and the Zags are +275). UM is right around even money (+100) to reach the Final Four.
Odds are also available for the Big Ten Tournament, in which Michigan is a +250 favorite. In one of the deepest and quite simply one of the best conferences in the country, three other teams are +450 or better (Ohio State, Illinois, and Iowa).
Best Illinois March Madness bets
At short even-money odds, I would avoid a Final Four bet like the plague. A No. 1 seed gets a virtual bye in the first round against a No. 16 (unless you are Virginia in 2018, of course), but you still have to beat three quality opponents in order to reach college basketball’s promised land. I like a National Championship play at +700 much better. Sure there is a chance the Wolverines would have to go through both Gonzaga and Baylor, but assuming they are a No. 1 seed they wouldn’t have to face them until the semifinals and championship. By that point there is a realistic possibility that at least one if not both will have been upset. And it’s not like Michigan wouldn’t have a chance against the top two teams, anyway.
However, the best bet in my opinion is a Big Ten title at +250. UM has a healthy lead in the conference’s loss column and therefore should be seeded first in the tournament. Thus, Howard’s crew will avoid any serious contender until at least the semis. It would in all likelihood avoid Illinois until the championship. With that kind of draw, the Wolverines would have good value.
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!Last updated: Tue 23rd February 2021