The only Big 5 representative in the 2021 NCAA Tournament enters with a ton of questions. Star Villanova guard Collin Gillespie suffered a knee injury toward the end of the regular season will not play late Friday night (9:57 p.m ET, TNT) in a first round game against Winthrop. The Wildcats (16-6) are looking for an identity as they fell from a top-5 ranking in the nation to a 5 seed in the Big Dance.
This is still Jay Wright on the bench, and this is a very talented squad that won the Big East regular season. Hot shooting can still take them far.
Still backing Nova? There are many ways to put some money on the three-time tournament champs. Let’s go through the options.
10. National Championship Futures
Villanova’s strong start and wins against quality opponents saw them high on the futures board before 2021 started. However, a prolonged coronavirus stoppage and string of road losses dropped them down the rankings.
Best Villanova futures
9. Point Spreads
Despite many prognosticators that believe Villanova could suffer an upset, they are favored by points over 12th-seeded Winthrop. The Wildcats enter the tournament 11-10-1 against the spread, which included many games where they entered as double-digit favorites and either lost or won by a few.
This might be a good spot for late money. If the public thinks the Eagles can follow the 12-5 seed upset trend, that could move down the number and make it tantalizing for Wildcat backers.
8. Game Over/Under
The total for the final first round game on Friday is . The Wildcats enter 12-10 for Overs, with some high-scoring games in and out of conference. Winthrop accumulated an 11-12-1 record for Overs this year.
The total hangs most on Villanova’s ability to hit outside shots. The offense has been lacking since Gillespie went down but the Cats should have an advantage with their athletic frontcourt. If they can solve the Eagles’ defense, they can score in bunches and likely advance.
Best Villanova versus Winthrop prices
7. Single-Game Parlays
PointsBet offers the best prices and options for bettors looking to make a single-game parlay. Bet the moneyline, total, player props, and even get some money back if only one leg misses. Sign up for PointsBet to get started.
6. In-Play Wagering
Villanova versus Winthrop will tip off around 10 p.m. ET, pending the conclusion of the session’s first game. Staying up to watch? Might as well get prepped on our guide for live betting. There’s always an opportunity to get some skin in the game while the action is on-going.
5. Pick the Final Four
Wright has brought three different Villanova squads to the Final Four. Can he make it four? It’s a tough draw in the South bracket but the Cats are as much as +1300 at FanDuel to get to the last weekend.
4. Game Props
Have a hunch for one of the in-game options? Think the Cats defense can keep the Eagles grounded in the second half like they have done so often to teams?
Before tipoff, take a look across the top sportsbooks and see what the oddsmakers have for team totals, both half and final. See if there’s a scoring total that could be a giveaway. Make the call and hold on tight.
3. Special Props
The Cats may not go all the way this year but there are still some cool ways to put money on a special bet including Villanova. DraftKings Sportsbook has prices on a team from Pennsylvania winning or even a 5-seed cutting down the nets. BetMGM has the Big East at 12-1 to win it all.
2. FanDuel Bracket Madness
Want to win a million dollars?
Even if Nova falls in the first or second round, that wager on the Cats could earn a cool million in FanDuel’s Bracket Madness.
Players get an entry to the contest with each bet on the Big Dance, one per day. Bet each day to maximize the number of entries. Someone will win the million once the champ is crowned. Go to FanDuel now to sign up.
1. DraftKings March Mania Survivor Pool
Think Villanova can get by Winthrop but not much farther? Take them for Day 1 of the Survivor Pool on DraftKings. Pick one team per day and advance with each win. Can you make it to the title game?
If there is sole survivor, he or she will win $1 million!
There are also prizes of $10K for upset picks you make in the first and second round. Sign up for the DraftKings Survivor Pool by going here.