NCAA Tournament: March Madness Betting Odds & Notes (March 21)

The first full day of the 2024 NCAA Tournament has finally arrived. Things will get going at 12:15 p.m. ET and continue until just after midnight. If you’re like us, you’ve been stewing over the March Madness odds ever since the bracket was set on Selection Sunday, but you might still be wondering which teams you should bet on throughout the day on Thursday.

We’re here to help. We’ve pored over the latest March Madness odds available at bet365, and we’ve come up with a few interesting betting nuggets for each matchup. Check them out below and use them to your advantage when you’re making your March Madness picks.

Early games

TeamTeamDate/Time (ET)
(8) Mississippi St.+1130.5 o/u(9) Michigan St.March 21, 12:15 PM
(6) Brigham Young-9.5142 o/u(11) DuquesneMarch 21, 12:40 PM
(3) Creighton-12.5141 o/u(14) AkronMarch 21, 1:30 PM
(2) Arizona-20.5163.5 o/u(15) Long Beach St.March 21, 2:00 PM
(1) North Carolina-24.5133.5 o/u(16) WagnerMarch 21, 2:45 PM
(3) Illinois-11.5147.5 o/u(14) Morehead St.March 21, 3:10 PM
(6) South Carolina-1133 o/u(11) OregonMarch 21, 4:00 PM
(7) Dayton+1136.5 o/u(10) NevadaMarch 21, 4:30 PM

All odds courtesy of

(9) Michigan State vs. (8) Mississippi State – 12:15 p.m. ET

  • Mississippi State has the most dynamic scorer involved in this game in freshman Josh Hubbard, who averaged 17.1 points this season.
  • Michigan State allowed an average of just 65.9 points per game this season, making them the better defensive team in this matchup.
  • Michigan State has the far more experienced team in this matchup, with fifth-year guard Tyson Walker leading the way for the Spartans, which could give them an edge down the stretch.

(11) Duquesne vs. (6) BYU – 12:40 p.m. ET

  • BYU attempted about 32 three-pointers per game this season on average, more than any other team in the 2024 NCAA Tournament.
  • Duquesne allowed opposing teams to score just 66 points per game on average this season, good for 28th-best in the nation in team scoring defence.
  • BYU has seven players on its roster averaging at least nine points per game, making them the stronger offensive team in this matchup.

(14) Akron vs. (3) Creighton – 1:30 p.m. ET

  • Creighton has been one of the best three-point shooting teams in the country this season, averaging more than 10 made threes per game.
  • Creighton was the only team in the country to have three different players average at least 17 points per game this season.
  • Akron finished the season going 3-8 against the spread, which could make Creighton an intriguing pick even though the Bluejays are a -12.5 favourite.

Bet on Akron vs. Creighton

AKR +12.5
CU -12.5

(15) Long Beach State vs. (2) Arizona – 2 p.m. ET

  • Arizona has been one of the top-scoring teams in the country this season, scoring an average of 87.9 points per game.
  • Long Beach State has struggled defensively this season, giving up an average of 75.7 points per game.
  • Long Beach State plays an uptempo style and possesses the ball for just 15.4 seconds at a time on average, which could backfire when they match up against the fast-paced Arizona team.

(16) Wagner vs. (1) North Carolina – 2:45 p.m. ET

  • North Carolina has depended heavily on their potent offence this season, which has averaged 81.5 points per game.
  • Wagner actually had one of the best defensive records in the nation this season, giving up just 62.3 points per game while finishing seventh overall in team scoring defence.
  • Wagner has been playing with just seven healthy players on its roster, which could make it difficult for the Seahawks to keep pace with the Tar Heels.

(14) Morehead State vs. (3) Illinois – 3:10 p.m. ET

  • Morehead State is ranked eighth in the nation in team scoring defence, as the Eagles have allowed opponents to score an average of just 62.8 points per game.
  • Illinois is ranked eighth in the nation in team scoring offence, as the Fighting Illini have averaged 84.4 points per game this season.
  • Illinois will have the best player on the court when these two teams square off in Terrence Shannon Jr., who averaged 23 points per game this season to give him the third-best scoring average in the nation.

(11) Oregon vs. (6) South Carolina – 4 p.m. ET

  • South Carolina has been careful with the ball this season, assembling a very respectable 1.52 assist-to-turnover ratio.
  • Oregon has one of the hottest players in college basketball right now on its side in N’Faly Dante, who is shooting almost 88% from the field over the Ducks’ last five games.
  • Oregon has South Carolina transfer Jermaine Couisnard suiting up for this game, who averaged 15.9 points per game this season and put up a 39-point performance against Arizona this month.

(10) Nevada vs. (7) Dayton – 4:30 p.m. ET

  • Dayton and Nevada both landed in the top 50 in team scoring defence this season, with Dayton giving up just 66.3 points per game and Nevada allowing just 67.1 points per game.
  • Dayton was one of the best three-point shooting teams in the country this season, assembling a three-point shooting percentage just over 40%.
  • Nevada’s defence against the three-point shot ranked 299th in the nation this season, which could give Dayton a slight edge if they’re able to shoot the three at their usual clip.

Late games

TeamTeamDate/Time (ET)
(7) Texas-2.5145 o/u(10) Colorado St.March 21, 6:50 PM
(3) Kentucky-13.5163.5 o/u(14) OaklandMarch 21, 7:10 PM
(5) Gonzaga-6.5150 o/u(12) McNeese St.March 21, 7:25 PM
(2) Iowa St.-16135.5 o/u(15) South Dakota St.March 21, 7:35 PM
(2) Tennessee-21.5129.5 o/u(15) Saint Peter’sMarch 21, 9:20 PM
(6) Texas Tech-5145.5 o/u(11) NC StateMarch 21, 9:40 PM
(4) Kansas-7153 o/u(13) SamfordMarch 21, 9:55 PM
(7) Washington St.+1.5138 o/u(10) DrakeMarch 21, 10:05 PM

All odds courtesy of

(10) Colorado State vs. (7) Texas – 6:50 p.m. ET

  • Colorado State has one of the highest effective field goal percentages of any team in the 2024 NCAA Tournament at 55%.
  • Colorado State has a slightly more experienced team than Texas thanks to fifth-year guard Isaiah Stevens, who leads the Rams in points (16.2 per game) and assists (6.9 per game).
  • Texas has spent most of the season ranked in the top 20 in offensive efficiency despite averaging just 76.5 points per game.

14) Oakland vs. (3) Kentucky – 7:10 p.m. ET

  • Kentucky had the second-highest-scoring team in the country this season, as the Wildcats averaged 89.4 points per game.
  • Kentucky put together the best three-point shooting percentage of any team this season, shooting 41% from three for the year.
  • Kentucky has five players who averaged 10 or more points per game this season, including Antonio Reeves who scored 20 points per game and was one of the top scorers in the country.

(12) McNeese State vs. (5) Gonzaga – 7:25 p.m. ET

  • Gonzaga has a fast-paced offence that averaged more than 14 fast break points per game this season.
  • McNeese State has one of the best three-point shooting teams in the country, shooting over 38% from three for the season.
  • McNeese State had the third-best turnover margin in the country this season at +6.7 turnovers per game, which could present problems for Gonzaga.

Bet on McNeese State vs. Gonzaga

MSU +6.5
GU -6.5

(15) South Dakota State vs. (2) Iowa State – 7:35 p.m. ET

  • Iowa State has given up the fourth-fewest points to its opponents this season, allowing just 61.3 points per game.
  • Iowa State averaged 10.4 steals per game this season, tied for the second-most steals per game.
  • South Dakota State has allowed opposing teams to score more points from three-pointers (over 40%) than any other team in the country this year.

(15) Saint Peter’s vs. (2) Tennessee – 9:20 p.m. ET

  • Saint Peter’s has been one of the best defensive teams in the country this season, giving up just 63.2 points per game.
  • Tennessee averaged just under 80 points per game this season and ran an efficient offence that allowed the Volunteers to average 16.8 assists per game.
  • Tennessee has one of the top scorers in the nation on its side in Dalton Knecht, who averaged 21.1 points per game this season.

(11) NC State vs. (6) Texas Tech – 9:40 p.m. ET

  • Texas Tech has five players who average more than 10 points per game, including top scorer Pop Isaacs (15.9 points per game).
  • NC State has four players who average more than 10 points per game, including top scorer DJ Horne (16.9 points per game).
  • NC State gave up an average of 72.7 points per game as a team this season, making Texas Tech a slightly better team on the defensive side of the ball.

(13) Samford vs. (4) Kansas – 9:55 p.m. ET

  • Kansas will be without its leading scorer Kevin McCullar Jr. (18.3 points per game) for this game and the rest of the NCAA Tournament, if the Jayhawks advance.
  • Kansas may also be without its second-best scorer Hunter Dickinson (18.0 points per game), who sustained a dislocated shoulder in the Jayhawks’ final regular season game.
  • Samford averaged 86 points per game this season, fifth-best in the country.

(10) Drake vs. (7) Washington State – 10:05 p.m. ET

  • Drake is one of the better three-point shooting teams in the country, averaging just under 37% from three this season.
  • Washington State held opposing teams to just 32% from behind the three-point line throughout the season.
  • Washington State finished the season ranked in the top 40 in the nation in both rebounding and blocks, giving them a decided defensive edge over Drake.