ncaa tournament second round picks
Photo Credit: Craig Dudek

The 2021 NCAA Tournament is off to wild start featuring a number of surprises throughout the first round. Teams like Oral Roberts and Abilene-Christian headlined several surprises and will look to keep the magic going en route to the Sweet 16.

With a memorable three days of March Madness in the books, let’s turn our attention ahead and take a look at some NCAA Tournament second round betting predictions.

Before we get into the picks, let’s first take a closer look at the current market prices for Sunday’s second round action.

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NCAA Tournament Second Round Sunday Lines

All lines courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook:

No. 8 Loyola Chicago:  +7.0 // O133 // +255

No. 1 Illinois:                -7.0 // U133 // -315  

No. 9 Wisconsin:             +6.5 // O137 // +230

No. 1 Baylor:                   -6.5 // U137 // -286

No. 11 Syracuse:           +3.5 // O147 // +140

No. 3 West Virginia:      -3.5 // U147 // -167

No. 6 Texas Tech:            -1.0 // O140.5 // -114

No. 3 Arkansas:             +1.0 // U140.5 // -105

No. 15 Oral Roberts:   +8.5 // O148 // +330 

No. 7 Florida:               -8.5 // U148 // -420

No. 13 North Texas:       +6.5 // O126.5 // +235

No. 5 Villanova:             -6.5 // U126.5 // -295

No. 12 Oregon State:  +6.0 // O141.5 // +215

No. 4 Oklahoma State: -6.0 // U141.5 // -265

No. 10 Rutgers:              +8.5 // O132 // +360

No. 2 Houston:               -8.5 // U132 // -420

NCAA Tournament Second Round Picks and Predictions

No. 11 Syracuse (+3.5) vs. No. 3 West Virginia (Midwest Region)

No. 11 Syracuse proved some of the doubters wrong with its huge round-one victory over No. 6 San Diego State Friday night. The Orange won 78-62 behind 30 points from guard Buddy Boeheim and certainly carry a great deal of momentum heading into the Round of 32.

San Diego State started to find on-court success late in the game, closing the margin of victory, but Syracuse dictated control and tempo of the game throughout. Quite simply, it was Syracuse’s game for the majority of 40 minutes.

While West Virginia also possesses momentum coming off an opening round victory, the Mountaineers, much the way they have all season, performed inconsistently in their victory over Morehead State.

While I believe West Virginia is the superior team in this matchup, questions about this team’s consistency and focus are fair. The Orange came into the tournament hot and continued to play well in its opener. Boeheim, in particular, is playing like a man possessed and can take over a game.

There’s a real good chance the Orange emerge victorious and thus cover +3.5.

Pick: Syracuse +3.5

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No. 3 Arkansas (+1.0) vs. No. 6 Texas Tech (South Region)

Yes, the lower seed in this matchup is actually favored after Texas Tech’s impressive showing against Utah State in the first round. However, Arkansas is just too talented of a team and has proven that all season long.

Sure, Arkansas was only up by three at halftime against No. 14 Colgate, but they used two dominant stretches to breeze past a solid No. 14 Colgate team that built a double-digit lead early.

Props to the Razorbacks for gaining steam when it mattered and winning by 17.

That late-game momentum should carry over to Sunday’s matchup. While Texas Tech is additionally a talented team, the Red Raiders have consistently failed to step up against some of the top programs in the country. They suffered losses to Houston, Kansas, Oklahoma State, Baylor, West Virginia, and Texas — all Top 25 teams — this season. You have to wonder if that inconsistency shows again in this matchup.

Pick: Arkansas +1.0

william hill


No. 15 Oral Roberts (+8.5) vs. No. 7 Florida (South Region)

“The” Oral Roberts University, as Kevin Harlan says.

Oral Roberts is coming off a massive upset win over No. 2 Ohio State and will be hyped up entering this matchup to notch another crucial victory and advance to the Sweet 16. The Golden Eagles will take on Florida, who just defeated Virginia Tech on Friday afternoon in what was the first game of the day.

Florida will likely win this game. The Gators are the more talented program and it’s extremely unusual to see a No. 15 seed win each of its first two NCAA Tournament games. Actually, it’s occurred just once. No. 15 Florida Gulf Coast defeated No. 2 Georgetown and then No. 7 San Diego State back in 2013 to advance to the Sweet 16.

However, I do believe Oral Roberts will make it close. The one thing that stuck out in its win Friday was that they looked like a team that belonged. The athleticism and skill matched up, thus it wasn’t an upset born from fluke shots or circumstances.

Meanwhile, Florida didn’t look too hot on Friday, needing overtime to defeat a Hokies squad that didn’t play for nearly two weeks at the end of the regular season (due to COVID-19 issues). Va Tech then lost to North Carolina (an NCAA Tournament 8-seed) in its first-round ACC Tournament game.

Pick: Oral Roberts (+8.5)

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Ryan Honey is a staff writer and host of the Wide Right Podcast.