2021 NCAA Tournament bracket predictions: March Madness picks, odds, lines for national championship game

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Just when we all thought March Madness could not produce any more mayhem, the Final Four delivered a stunning two-game twist on Saturday as Baylor smoked Houston and UCLA — a 14.5 point underdog against undefeated Gonzaga — took the Bulldogs to OT before falling at the final buzzer. Might we be in for one more good one courtesy of the basketball gods?

It’s certainly the game everyone has had circled on their calendar all season. The preseason No. 1 Bulldogs and preseason No. 2 Bears were scheduled to settle the score earlier this season in a 1 vs. 2 neutral court showcase, but that game was called off less than two hours before tip because of concerns related to COVID-19. Since then, the sport has been hurtling towards this bracket finale as both teams have separated themselves as the clear-cut top teams in the sport.

Gary Parrish and Matt Norlander set the stage with storylines and their picks for Gonzaga-Baylor. Listen below:

As fate would have it, the original game? It was scheduled to be held in Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. Now, Monday’s season finale will be held five minutes away in Lucas Oil Stadium in Indy.

Our team of writers has sized up the matchups and come up with picks both straight up and against the spread for the national championship game. You can find all our records for the tournament picking games by clicking here. Odds via William Hill Sportsbook

Who will win and cover every game, and which teams should be on upset alert? Visit SportsLine now to see which team to back in every matchup, all from the model that’s up $2,600 for $100 players.

(1) Gonzaga vs. (1) Baylor

Time: 9:20 p.m. ET | Location: Lucas Oil Stadium 
TV: CBS | Live stream: March Madness Live

The Baylor we have seen this tournament is the midseason Baylor that was destroying every team in its path. That was the Baylor team that led all of college basketball for most of the season in scoring margin, ahead of Gonzaga. But I can’t pick against the Zags — not straight up and not even against the number. This has felt like a team of destiny for awhile, and Suggs’ 3-point bankshot at the buzzer in OT vs. UCLA only validated that for me. Baylor will have its runs, and this will be a real back-and-forth chess match, but I’m taking the best 2-point shooting team in decades to edge the best 3-point shooting team in the country. Prediction: Gonzaga 82, Baylor 77 — Boone





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