The 2021 March Madness first-round betting action wraps up Saturday night with the VCU vs. Oregon showdown at Indiana Farmers Coliseum in Indianapolis, so I bring you the best betting pick and tips along with the latest odds update on BetMGM Sportsbook.
The No. 7 Oregon Ducks opened as 5.5-point favorites with a total of 137.5 points, while the No. 10 VCU Rams are listed as +195 moneyline dogs. These two schools meet each other for the second time, and back in 2014, the Rams defeated the Ducks 77-63 as 5-point favorites in the non-conference clash at the neutral site.
VCU failed short in the Atlantic 10 championship game
The VCU Rams are coming off a 74-65 loss to the St. Bonaventure Bonnies in the Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament championship game this past Sunday. They got outrebounded by the Bonnies and surrendered 13 offensive rebounds that made all the difference, as both teams played tough defense for all 40 minutes.
The Rams lean on their stout D and use nine players in their rotation to keep their aggressiveness at a high level. VCU yields only 89.7 points per 100 possessions (11th in the nation) on 40.5% shooting from the field (36th) and 30.5% from beyond the arc (30th).
On the other side of the ball, the Rams tally 105.5 points per 100 possessions (118th). They make 45.1% of their field goals (109th) and only 32.9% of their triples (217th). Sophomore guard Nah’Shon Hyland leads the way with 19.5 points and 4.7 rebounds per game, while junior guard Vince Williams adds 10.6 points and 5.2 boards per contest.
Oregon collapsed in the Pac-12 semis
The Oregon Ducks put an end to a six-game winning streak in the Pac-12 Championship Tournament semifinals, suffering a heavy 75-64 defeat to the Oregon State Beavers as firm 8.5-point favorites. They played lousy defense and couldn’t catch the rhythm on the offensive end while trailing by double-digits for most of the game.
Oregon hasn’t impressed defensively thus far. The Ducks are yielding 96.8 points per 100 possessions (75th in the nation) on 43.5% shooting from the field (182nd) and 33.6% from beyond the 3-point line (170th).
However, the Ducks’ prolific offense is scoring 114.6 points per 100 possessions (15th). Oregon ranks 43rd in field goal percentage (47.2%) and 23rd in 3-point percentage (37.9%). Five guts average points in double figures, and senior forward Eugene Omoruyi (16.7 PPG, 5.2 RPG) and senior guard Chris Duarte (16.7 PPG, 4.7 RPG) lead the way for this Oregon team.
- 6-0 ATS in the last six games against Pac-12 Conference
If you like to follow the betting trends, go grab the Ducks immediately. Oregon is 6-1 ATS in its last seven games overall and a ridiculous 16-1 ATS in its previous 17 games played in March.
Anyway, I’m backing the Rams as 8-point underdogs at slightly lower wages. They have enough depth to pressure the ball for the entire clash. VCU has been terrific defensively so far this season, and I believe they have enough firepower to cope with the Ducks who are an excellent offensive team with some great depth, too.
Pick: Take VCU Rams +8.0 at -160
The under is 9-4 in VCU’s last 13 outings. On the other side, the Ducks’ last seven games went in the over. Oregon doesn’t play at a fast pace, and, in fact, the Rams average 2.6 possessions per 40 minutes more than the Ducks.
The betting trends are not helping a lot, so I’m going with the under because of VCU’s terrific defense. The Rams will bring their best D, knowing that’s the only way they’ll stand a chance of upsetting the Ducks.
Pick: Go under 137.5 points at -110