Drexel, Lehigh Open NCAAW Tournament As Title Long Shots At PA Sportsbooks

Posted By Derek Helling on March 20, 2021 - Last Updated on May 31, 2021

BetRivers Sportsbook and DraftKings Sportsbook both have Pennsylvania NCAAW futures on all 64 teams in March Madness 2021. If you just followed the seeding for the tournament, you could pretty accurately guess where PA teams like Drexel and Lehigh fall in the markets.

That’s pretty much the case for every team in the tourney, though. The circumstances of this year’s “Dance” might make teams with long odds a little more attractive for bettors than in previous years.

Where do Drexel, Lehigh sit in Pennsylvania NCAAW futures?

Both teams have identical +30000 odds at both aforementioned PA sportsbooks. The markets at both books are identical right now, as both PA sports betting apps contract with Kambi for their odds. The markets may diverge as the tournament goes on, however.

Drexel is among the first teams to play on Monday, March 22. The Dragons, the 14th seed in the Alamo Region, face third-seeded Georgia at noon ET. Lehigh begins its tourney run at 8 p.m. ET against West Virginia on Sunday, March 21. That’s the 4 vs. 13 seed game in the Hemisfair Region, with the Mountain Hawks as the lower seed.

Thus, these two teams could meet up in the Final Four should both progress that far. It would be a remarkable run if either team appeared in a national semifinal. The path forward from the Round of 64 is daunting for both squads.

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The path for Drexel and Lehigh

Should Lehigh dispatch the Mountaineers, it would face the winner of the 5 seed Georgia Tech vs. No. 12 Stephen F. Austin game. Perhaps waiting in the Sweet 16 would be SEC tournament-champion, South Carolina. A potential Elite Eight opponent is Big Ten tourney champ, Maryland.

Remembering the Alamo, Drexel’s flight is no easier. The Dragons would face either fifth-seeded Missouri State or 12th-seeded UC Davis in the Round of 32 if they win Sunday. Their likely Sweet 16 matchup is betting favorite Stanford. ACC champion Louisville could await them in the Elite Eight.

Of course, to make one of these bets pay off, Drexel or Lehigh would have to win it all. That means staring down the likes of Big 12 powerhouse Baylor, Mercado Region top seed North Carolina State, SEC regular-season champion Texas A&M, or perennial tourney power U Conn in the final.

Is there reason to believe that a flier on one of these teams could pay off this year? Well, if it’s ever going to happen, this just might be the year.

An unpredictable NCAAW tournament

The great thing about single-elimination, bracketed tournaments is that Drexel or Lehigh doesn’t have to be the best team in the entire field. It just has to be better than its opponent in one game in each successive round.

This year’s tourney is unique. All games are happening within a small radius in San Antonio. All teams are in one location. It’s anyone’s guess right now how that will affect Drexel’s and Lehigh’s opponents.

The Dragons come in with a good amount of momentum, having just won the Colonial conference tournament. Keishana Washington is riding the highest of those highs, having hit 30 points in each of Drexel’s last two games. Hannah Nihill had an outstanding tourney for the Dragons as well, giving Drexel a formidable backcourt.

Lehigh also enters March Madness strong with four consecutive victories. The Mountain Hawks’ recent form suggests a more diverse offense, with any player in their rotation able to carry the weight offensively on a given night. That makes them difficult to game-plan for.

The big knock on Drexel’s and Lehigh’s cases is that both only played league games during the regular season. The Round of 64 will be the first time either has seen an opponent of the caliber that GA and WV boast.

That could be said to just add to the unpredictability of this year’s tournament, though. If Drexel and Lehigh can stay hot in the Round of 64, that just might give them the confidence they need to make a bet on Pennsylvania NCAAW futures pay off.

Lead image credit: AP Photo/Eric Gay

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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a freelance journalist who resides in Chicago. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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