2021 Final Four Betting Picks: Props, Exotics, Parlays for Gonzaga vs. UCLA & Houston vs. Baylor
Brett Wilhelm/NCAA Photos via Getty Images. Pictured: The Gonzaga Bulldogs.
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- Check out each Houston vs. Baylor and Gonzaga vs. UCLA pick complete with a full betting breakdown below.
The Final Four has been an absolute graveyard for double-digit seeds.
Those true Cinderellas have lost by an average of 13 points per game in the national semifinals with only VCU staying within single digits in 2011 (8 vs. Butler).
And this year’s party crasher just enjoyed historic foul-shooting luck against Alabama and Michigan (17-of-36 Opp. FT) last weekend to punch its ticket.
That’s why I’m building my Final Four card by fading UCLA in a variety of ways. Stick for the anti-Bruin bets, stay for a double-result parlay going off at +750.
Just don’t tell Bill Walton what I think of the Conference of Champions.
2021 Final Four Prop Picks
Johnny Juzang Under 18.5 Points (-115)
It makes sense that this total is three points above Juzang’s season average given the absolute heater he’s been on lately.
The Kentucky transfer is averaging 21.6 points per game in the Big Dance and has only hit serious foul trouble (a point prop killer) once.
But this play is predicated on Gonzaga’s ability to take away an opponent’s top option, as it’s done all season long. It held USC’s Evan Mobley, Creighton’s Marcus Zegarowski, Virginia’s Sam Hauser and BYU’s Alex Barcello all to 20 points or fewer, and it did it to the Cougars’ leading scorer three times over.
KenPom’s fifth-ranked defense will figure out a way to give Juzang fits in this one.
Drew Timme Over 19.5 Points (-115)
As Santana Moss once said, “Big-time players make big plays in big games.”
Timme may not be knocking down game-winners in crunch time, but he’s been making all the critical plays to allow the Zags to run away from teams this season.
If you isolate his performances against ranked opponents and the last three teams GU has faced in this tournament (OU, Creighton, USC), Timme is averaging 23 points per game. The offense is currently running through him and he’s shooting 65% across his last three games.
I’ll gladly ride the hot hand here, as I expect another big performance on the main stage from Timme.
Tyger Campbell Under 4.5 Assists (+100)
Campbell has hit five assists or more in 60% of his games this season but he’ll be drawing some unfavorable defensive matchups in this one.
Gonzaga’s length on the perimeter, particularly with Jalen Suggs, is likely to give the diminutive Campbell issues in this one.
Gonzaga is also one of the best teams in the country at limiting opponents’ assists (27th). When you factor in the plus money being offered by DraftKings, this became a must-bet for me in this one.
Marcus Sasser Over 12.5 Points (-115)
Baylor’s defense, ranked 28th according to KenPom, excels at limiting top scoring options.
Moses Moody (11 points) and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (8 points) recently felt the Bears’ wrath, falling considerably short of their projected point totals.
I foresee similar sledding for Houston’s top offensive option, Quentin Grimes, in this one. That should, however, open up some opportunities for Marcus Sasser and DeJon Jarreau.
Sasser is averaging 13.5 points per game this season and has exceeded 12.5 points in five of his last seven outings.
The 3-point shot, in particular, will keep this prop alive all night. Sasser has attempted eight or more triples in four of his last six games and will be relied upon to bomb away on Saturday night.
Exact Outcome: Houston over Gonzaga (+1200) at FanDuel
I’m on a value Easter Egg Hunt, and FanDuel offering an exact matchup and outcome at +1200 caught my attention.
Having scoured the market, no US-based sportsbook is offering Houston at better than +800 to win the national championship. And at +800, I would rather roll a Houston ML play in the semis into Monday night.
If it were to play Gonzaga, that would roughly equate to a +185 ML victory over Baylor and a +425 ML payout against the Zags.
Rolling a Coogs’ Final Four win over Baylor into a second upset would bring the potential payout to just north of 8:1, which is why the +1200 price on this exotic is teeming with value.
Additionally, this wouldn’t be a Mike Calabrese exotic recommendation without a hedge strategy.
Given the projected Gonzaga-Houston odds (GU-10, GU-515/UH+425), if you were to take Houston to cut down the nets at +800, there would be very little value in hedging with a Gonzaga ML play on Monday night.
But at +1200, with a little shopping around, you could guarantee yourself +200 profits. For the braver lot, buying some points, down to the Gonzaga -4 range could offer much larger payout windows, with a nightmare scenario if Gonzaga were to win by a single possession.
It bears mentioning that Gonzaga has won every game this season by five points or more.
Gonzaga -190 to Win the National Championship at Fox Bet
The Zags have been prohibitively priced since December, which makes this number a gift from the sportsbooks.
Assuming they handle UCLA as a 14-point favorite, the Zags are projected as a -515 ML favorite vs. Houston and a -260 ML favorite vs. Baylor.
Could those figures swing, based upon performances in the Final Four? Absolutely. But barring a major injury or COVID outbreak, you won’t be able to play Gonzaga under -200 anywhere outside of a live bet on Monday night.
Gonzaga 1H + Gonzaga Game & Houston First Half + Baylor Game (+750) at Fox Bet
Gonzaga has dropped the hammer on teams in the first half this season, leading by an average of 14 points at the break. That trend has persisted in the postseason, with the Zags leading opposing teams by 15 points per game at the half during March Madness.
But Gonzaga is just the sweetener in this parlay. The real hurdle is scoring a Houston-Baylor double result.
Houston is my ideal double result team because of how streaky it can be offensively. This volatility was on full display against Oregon State when the Coogs scored just 26 points in the first 19:08 of the second half.
Baylor is also an attractive “slow starter” having spotted halftime leads to Villanova and Oklahoma State in just its last five games.
Game flow involving a hot start from 3-point range for the Coogs followed by a scoring drought from UH is decidedly possible, which is why +750 is too good to pass up in this spot.