Villanova vs. Baylor Sweet 16 Betting Preview: Can Wildcats Continue To Cover As The Road Gets Tougher?

Posted By Katie Kohler on March 23, 2021 - Last Updated on March 26, 2021

Villanova’s season has gone from sour to sweet. 

The Wildcats senior guard Collin Gillespie suffered a season-ending MCL injury, and the team sputtered to three straight losses including a quick exit from the Big East tournament. 

Villanova entered the 2021 NCAA Tournament as a five seed, but they were trending in the wrong direction. 

After two games, both of which they covered the point spread, the Wildcats have shown bettors they still have the ability to shoot the lights out in March and reminded everyone they have one of the most successful NCAA Tournament coaches of all time. 

Villanova (17-6) faces No. 1 Baylor (23-2) on Saturday in the Sweet 16 at 5:15 p.m. at the Hinkle Fieldhouse at Butler University. Pennsylvania sports betting apps opened with the Wildcats as 6.5-point underdogs but by Thursday it moved to Villanova +7.5. The total points line is 140.5.

For NCAA futures markets, Baylor has the third highest handle (14%) at FanDuel Sportsbook to win the National Championship. Villanova accounts for about 3% of the NCAA Championship outright winner handle at FanDuel.

Villanova’s path to the Sweet 16

Round One: Beat No. 12 Winthrop 73-63

Betting bit: At BetMGM, Winthrop (+6.5) got 78% of the point spread handle. Winthrop was one of the most popular public Round One sides.

Round Two: Beat No. 13 North Texas 84-61

Betting bit: The public slightly leaned to Nova (-6). A majority of the money (83%) was on the OVER (127) which cashed.

The Wildcats’ win over the Mean Green gave head coach Jay Wright 30 career coaching wins in the NCAA Tournament. Wright has more NCAA tourney wins than 89.4% of the schools in Division 1 basketball.

Villanova stats from DraftKings

KenPom rating: 15 Overall, 9 Offense, 69 Defense
NET ranking: 17 (5-3 vs. Quad 1)
Leading scorer: Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (16 ppg)
Key stat: Villanova averages just nine turnovers per game.

From FanDuel, Villanova is 14-10 against the spread (ATS) this season.

Baylor’s path to the Sweet 16

First Round: Defeated No. 16 Hartford 79-55
Betting bit: Baylor failed to cover as a huge 25.5-point favorite

Second Round: Defeated No. 9 Wisconsin 76-63
Betting bit: 72% of the money was on Baylor (-6.5)

Baylor stats from DraftKings:

KenPom rating: 4 Overall, 3 Offense, 35 Defense
NET ranking: 2, (9-2 vs. Quad 1)
Leading scorer: Jared Butler (17 ppg)
Key stat: Baylor has the third-highest scoring average (84.2 ppg) in the country

From FanDuel, Baylor is 16-10 ATS this season.

Villanova vs. Baylor updated odds in PA

Villanova vs. Baylor Sweet 16 betting preview

Moneyline: VILL (+225); BAY (-275)
Spread: VILL +6.5 (-110); BAY -6.5 (-110)
Total: 140.5 – Over (-110); Under: (-110)

Win probability prediction from ESPN Basketball Power Index (BPI).

  • Villanova: 31.8%
  • Baylor: 68.2%

Betting splits for Villanova vs. Baylor from DraftKings as of March 26:

  • 69% of the money is on Baylor (-7.5)
  • 80% of the money is on OVER (141)
  • 70% of the money is on Baylor ML (-335)

Betting splits from FanDuel as of March 26:

  • 75% of the money is on Baylor (-7.5)
  • 84% of the money is on Baylor ML
  • 79% of the money is on the OVER (141)

The Wildcats are getting no love at BetRivers. Baylor is the currently the most wagered-on Sweet 16 team. Baylor is getting 75% of the ML handle and 83% of the spread handle at BetRivers.

Villanova Wildcats odds tracker

The loss of Gillespie, the tri-Big East player of the year, was a devastating blow to Villanova. His season-ending injury also had an immediate impact on Villanova’s NCAA Tournament odds. 

 March 1
(Before Gillespie injury)
March 4
(after injury)
March 14
(Start of NCAA Tourney)
March 21
(After Round One win)
March 23
(After Round 2 win)
National Championship +1400+2000+4000+4500+3300
To Make Final Four+200+400+900+800+400
Elite 8Yes (+675)/No (-1115)
To Make Sweet 16Yes (+130)/No (-165)

NCAA Tournament promos at PA sportsbooks

PA sportsbooks continue with their mad rush of NCAA tournament promos for Sweet 16 games. Here’s a rundown on the best of the best.

DraftKings March Madness Promos

  • New Users CBB Choose your Boost: Bet $1 to win $100 on the boost of your choice during the Sweet 16, Elite 8, Final four or National Championship. Following a deposit of $5 or more into your sportsbook account, the landing page from the sportsbook promos page will prompt you to pick your game by selecting “boost this event.”
  • Parlay boost: Get a 20% profit boost on any 3+ leg parlay during the Sweet 16.
  • March Mania profit boost: For all Sweet 16 games, following opt-in, DraftKings is giving all customers a single-use up to 50% profit boost per game. (Max bet $50).

FanDuel March Madness Promos

  • Tournament Parlay Insurance: Place a 3-leg parlay and if one leg loses get a refund in site credit.
  • 30-1 odds for new users: FanDuel is giving new users 30-1 odds on any team to win its Sweet 16 game with the exception of the Loyola Chicago-Oregon State matchup.

Sweet 16 bet boosts:

  • Either Villanova or Syracuse to win boosted from (-105) to +150. Max bet $50.

Fox Bet Sweet 16 March Madness Promos

Free $10 bet: Opt-in every day of March Madness at Fox Bet and get a $10 free to bet when you bet a total of $10+ on the first games of the day.

Villanova Bet Boosts:

  • Villanova to make the Final Four boosted from (+400) to +450
  • Villanova to score 75 or more points boosted from (+200) to +300
  • Villanova to win and both teams to score 60 or more points boosted from (+350) to +400
  • Baylor over 40.5 points in each half boosted from (+500) to +550
  • Baylor to win and both teams to score 80 or more points boosted from (+2000) to +2500

BetMGM March Madness promos

BetMGM Risk-Free First Bet: Every new user will receive a risk-free first bet up to $600 during the tournament.

Buzzer beaters insurance: BetMGM is offering fans a lifeline through its new “Buzzer-Beater Insurance” that will refund up to $20 of a bet that loses due to a shot made in the final five seconds of the game.

Lead image credit: AP Photo/Michael Conroy

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Katie Kohler

Katie Kohler is a Philadelphia-area based award-winning journalist. She covers the Pennsylvania gambling industry with an emphasis on sports betting, online casino/poker and the lottery.

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