The March Madness futures market is a busy place leading up to the opening tip of the NCAA Tournament. Online sportsbooks all over the country are offering a wider variety of betting options for the NCAA Tournament, and one of them involves making Elite Eight betting picks.
Ordinarily, the most popular pre-tournament markets are on the region winner (to reach the Final Four) and the national champion (Final Four winner). But now, betting sites are responding to public interest by adding markets for earlier rounds including the Sweet 16 and the Elite Eight.
Here, we are exploring the odds offered by several betting sites to focus on Elite Eight predictions for the 2021 NCAA tournament.
Best Sportsbooks For 2021 March Madness
Most online sportsbooks will offer similar markets, but that doesn't mean all sites are the same. Welcome bonuses, promotions, odds, and betting options could all vary depending on where you sign up. Keep in mind the below sportsbooks, which all operate in a number of states and offer a wide range of March Madness betting markets:
|Sportbook||Bonus Offer||Bet In|
Up To $600 Risk-Free Bet
$50 Free Bet + Up To $1,000 First Deposit Bonus
NJ, CO, WV, IN, VA, MI, IA: Up To $500 Risk-Free
Illinois Only: Up To $300 Risk-Free
$5 No Deposit + First Purchase 100% Match Up To $25
For more information about wagering on March Madness, visit our NCAA Tournament betting bonuses page!
2021 March Madness Picks | Elite Eight Predictions For NCAA Tournament
The second week of the tournament features the Sweet 16 and the Elite Eight, the latter of which will take place on Monday and Tuesday, March 29 and 30. Picking teams to reach this point is the equivalent of selecting 'yes' to the question: can this team win three games?
The betting odds aren't as juicy when you compare them to Final Four or championship lines, but they do pay higher than betting on the Sweet 16 and targeting Elite Eight teams can be a lucrative practice if you select the right teams. Plus, these wagers provide a rooting interest for several rounds of the event, which is part of the fun during the tournament.
Below are a few teams from varying regions that are good Elite Eight bets when we combine what we think will happen with the betting lines being offered.
- Illinois Fighting Illini (-165 at BetMGM)
The odds aren't great, but this is a pretty safe bet. Illinois is the hottest team in the country right now, and they are the pick to win this tournament on many brackets among the public and the experts. It's safe to say an Elite Eight trip is likely.
The biggest roadblock will come in the Sweet 16 against Oklahoma State or Tennessee, but Illinois is too versatile and consistent on both ends for either of those teams. Despite the uninspiring line, the Illini will be there when it's down to eight.
- Iowa Hawkeyes (+100 at DraftKings)
There are some questions about Iowa from a health perspective, so most of us aren't as high on the Hawkeyes as we were a few months back. With that said, we think they can handle this draw and reach the Elite Eight to face Gonzaga.
Both Oregon and Kansas present challenges for Iowa, so it's understandable to lay off them winning three games to reach the Elite Eight. But assuming Joe Wieskamp is well enough to play his normal minutes, Luka Garza and Iowa are too much to handle on offense.
- Alabama Crimson Tide (+150 at BetMGM)
Alabama will be challenged by No. 7 UCONN in the second round (as we see it), but ultimately they will advance to face Texas in what will be an extremely exciting Sweet 16 matchup. But because of the Tide's defensive prowess and its ability to win in different ways, we'll give the No. 2 seed a leg up in reaching the Elite Eight.
- Florida State (+350 at BetMGM)
Florida State shouldn't have trouble in the opening round, and we like them to get by Colorado or Georgetown in the second. We also think Michigan could suffer an upset and that FSU could meet LSU in the Sweet 16. Even if the top-seeded Wolverines are there, we like the +350 odds for the Seminoles to make the Elite Eight.
- West Virginia Mountaineers (+350 at DraftKings)
West Virginia is at the bottom in Illinois' bracket in the No. 3 seed, and we think the Mountaineers meet the Illini in the Elite Eight. At +350, we certainly think it's worth a flier.
Bob Huggins' team is one of the few that will be able to match the tenacity that the Houston Cougars play with, and West Virginia is perfectly capable of winning an ugly game in the Sweet 16. The defense isn't what it used to be, but WVU's offense is also better than it has been in a long time.
- LSU Tigers (+750 At BetMGM)
So, this one is for those of you looking to fade Michigan after the injury to Isaiah Livers. The LSU Tigers are a red-hot group that was one basket away from an SEC title run this past week, and that offense is more than potent enough to give the Wolverines some problems.
Even if LSU did get that far, there's still a potential matchup with Florida State or Colorado, so we're beginning to see why this line is so high. But at +750 with an offense this strong, the Tigers could be primed to outscore a few teams and surge into an unexpected position in the bracket.
2021 March Madness Printable Bracket
The NCAA Tournament is synonymous with the bracket, and this time of year, millions of people are competing with friends, family, and co-workers to pick the most games correctly on the way to the Final Four.
While it's possible to fill out your bracket online (and we'd normally recommend saving the paper), there's something about holding it in your hand and going through a few drafts while doing your research and figuring out which teams to pick for a deep run. It's the one time of year when nobody is wrong and everybody is right as we wait for games to tip off.
If you're looking to manually fill in your picks, click on the above photo to get your printable March Madness bracket and prepare for the NCAA Tournament!
Title Photo Credit: Associated Press