College Basketball Odds, Picks and Predictions for the 2021 Battle 4 Atlantis: Why You Should Bet Syracuse and Loyola Chicago to Win It All

College Basketball Odds, Picks and Predictions for the 2021 Battle 4 Atlantis: Why You Should Bet Syracuse and Loyola Chicago to Win It All article feature image
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Photo by Bryan Bennett/Getty Images. Pictured: Jesse Edwards.

  • Baylor, Syracuse, UConn, Auburn, Michigan State, Loyola Chicago, Arizona State and VCU comprise this season's field of teams in the 2021 Battle 4 Atlantis college basketball tournament.
  • The futures market lists Baylor (+175) as the substantial favorite to take home the tournament championship, but our betting analysts see value elsewhere in the field.
  • Below, find updated college basketball odds for the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament, including our previews for all eight teams, game predictions and betting picks for the first round and beyond.

The Battle 4 Atlantis returns after being canceled last year due to COVID-19. And what a welcome return it will be, as the tournament will once again post one of the best fields of any early-season MTE.

The event, which takes place at the Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island, really is a college basketball fan’s paradise. But for most of us, getting away from your family’s political arguments at Thanksgiving to catch some of the best basketball we will see until March is paradise enough.

This year’s field is highlighted by the defending national champion, Baylor, and strong contenders from the Big Ten, SEC, ACC, Missouri Valley, Pac-12, Big East and Atlantic 10.

It’s a deep field with many opportunities for everyone to improve their resume early in the season. However, I think the bracket is less than ideal for some teams.

Battle 4 Atlantis Futures Odds

Here are the betting odds for who will take home the title, courtesy of BetRivers:

Team Name Odds to Win
Baylor Bears +175
Syracuse Orange +500
UConn Huskies +500
Auburn Tigers +550
Michigan State Spartans +575
Loyola Chicago Ramblers +1150
Arizona State Sun Devils +4000
VCU Rams +6000


Baylor Bears

The defending national champs are winning games by an average of 34 points to start the season.

While it’s impressive, it’s not a number I expect to stay intact this week in the Bahamas.

They did eliminate a lot of doubt after beating their first top-100 opponent over the weekend in Stanford, winning by a margin of 38 points. But things will get more challenging for a Bears team that has yet to play a game outside of Waco.

Five players average double-digit points for the Bears so far this season, while the team is shooting better than 50% from the field. But it’s more than just offense for Baylor, which currently ranks sixth in defensive efficiency, per KenPom, and second in the country in steal percentage.

The Bears are the favorite in Atlantis for a reason and it’s going to be hard for anyone to stop them.


Syracuse Orange

If we’re going to have an upset win in this tournament, it will be courtesy of Boeheim and Sons Inc. The Cuse are coming off of a tough loss at home to Colgate, but this feels like a perfect spot to bounce back.

Buddy Boeheim leads the Orange in points and minutes while also shooting 38.1% from outside the arc. Expect him to touch the ball on nearly every Syracuse possession.

As a team, the Orange have been one of the best 3-point shooting squads in the country, ranking eighth, per KenPom.

The Orange benefit significantly from playing VCU to start the tournament, but an intense matchup awaits them as their next opponent is likely Baylor.

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UConn Huskies

Dan Hurley’s team has had one of the easiest schedules in college basketball to start the season, but don’t let that undermine them. The Huskies are one of the better teams in the country with one of the best players in Adama Sanogo.

Sanogo averages 20 points and seven rebounds per contest while shooting better than 75% from the floor. He’s had some issues with turnovers and fouls, but I think both will improve going forward.

The Huskies have a tough matchup to start against Auburn, but I think their experience as a team and edge defensively will help them prevail over the Tigers.


Auburn Tigers

The Tigers enter the Battle 4 Atlantis, having yet to play a team inside the top 150, per KenPom. But they have a top-ranked freshman in the country in Jabari Smith, who is averaging 16 points per contest.

Their first game will be against a team in a similar situation in UConn. The Huskies have yet to play anyone inside the top 250, too.

Auburn has been great offensively, but it truly has been one of the best teams in the country so far on defense, ranking fifth in defensive FG% and fourth in turnover percentage.

Once again, this game will be massive in deciding which of these teams is truly great and which has benefited from playing inferior competition to start the season.


Michigan State Spartans

The Spartans are once again loaded with talent and will not only compete to win the Big Ten, but have the potential for a postseason push.

The Spartans’ most significant advantage is their defense, where they rank fourth nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency. They also rank eighth, per KenPom, in both 2-point shooting defense and block percentage.

Michigan State has also proved its ability to play well away from home, beating Butler on the road.

The Spartans have an elite seven-footer at forward in Marcus Bingham Jr., who leads the team in blocks and rebounds, while Gabe Brown is State’s best player offensively, averaging 14 points a game.

The Spartans have had a weakness holding onto the ball, as they rank 204th in the country in offensive turnover percentage, per KenPom. But I think they can improve their ball security, and I expect them to be a solid contender to win this MTE.


Loyola Chicago Ramblers

The Ramblers have been amazing to start the season, entering with a 4-0 record and winning by 10 points or more in every game.

They have been one of the best shooting teams in the country, ranking inside the top 25 in adjusted offensive efficiency, 3-point percentage and 2-point percentage. They’re also first overall in effective FG% and are also among the national leaders in assist rate.

Tate Hall, Ryan Schwieger and Aher Uguak have been the most dangerous of the sharpshooters.

However, there are some significant issues for the Ramblers. Most importantly, they have achieved these tremendous statistical numbers playing against four teams outside the top 200, per KenPom.

They have yet to play a game on the road or at a neutral site, so traveling to the Bahamas will undoubtedly be a factor for them. And finally, the biggest issue, they play the second-highest ranked team, per KenPom, in the bracket as their first game is against Michigan State.

Even if the Ramblers get past the Spartans, it only gets more difficult from there. This event will give us a good idea of just how good the Ramblers are, but I’m in no rush to bet on them in this gauntlet of an event.


Arizona State Sun Devils

If Arizona State and UConn both lose their first game and win their first game in the loser’s bracket, the Hurley brothers will meet the day after Thanksgiving. Sure, many things need to fall into place, but who doesn’t love a good storyline.

Unfortunately, Bobby’s Sun Devils haven’t had the same success as his brother’s Huskies to start the season.

They’ve lost two games already to UC Riverside and San Diego State, dropping both by a combined three points. The Sun Devils are still trying to figure things out after losing three of their best players, Remy Martin, Alonzo Verge Jr. and Jaelen House, all to the transfer portal.

And to make matters worse, Marcus Bagley suffered a knee injury and is questionable for Wednesday’s game against Baylor.

However, one bright spot for the Sun Devils has been Kimani Lawrence, as he’s averaging a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds per game.

It’s a tall task for Arizona State in its first game against Baylor, but I fully expect it to make some noise in the loser’s bracket, especially if Bagley returns to the floor.

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VCU Rams

The Rams have struggled offensively to start the season, failing to score more than 60 points in any of their first four games. They have posted losses to Chattanooga and Wagner, which both came on the Rams’ home court.

VCU is also missing two crucial players because of injuries.

However, the Rams have been effective on defense. If this team has a shot at beating Syracuse and advancing to the semis, it will be by continuing their dominance on defense.

So far, they have limited opponents to a 21% shooting percentage from 3. If that continues, this could be a battle for the Orange.


Best Bets

This MTE is one of the most competitive of the year. Many of these teams have looked great on paper but have yet to prove themselves against solid competition.

Baylor is the clear favorite here and for a good reason, I think the Bears will make it to the championship. I see little to no value in them at +125, though.

Therefore, I will be taking flyers on the two most experienced teams in the tournament that I think have value and plenty of hedge opportunity if either make it to the finals.

Picks: Syracuse +800 (1.3 units) | Loyola Chicago +1200 (0.9 units)

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