March 23, 2021
Your bracket is busted.
It really is. According to SportingNews.com, there are zero perfect brackets still out there after a ridiculous weekend full of upsets that saw teams like Ohio State and Illinois go packing, and underdogs like Oral Roberts and Loyola-Chicago make it to the Round of 16.
Your brackets may be locked everywhere else, but at thanks to Unibet's $24,000 Bettor Bracket contest, you can pick again. And even better — you can pick games against the spread instead of simply taking the winners. The best part? It's free to enter and you could win some serious cash.
So, how does it work? Well, first you need to go over to BettorBracket.com and create an account (if you haven't already). Then it's time to pick the remaining games against the spread. The contest was broken down into three rounds, the first round (field of 64), the second (32) and the third (the Round of 16 through the title game). With the first two rounds in the books, it's time for one last chance at the cash. You can edit your picks any time before the round begins — and you'll be awarded a point for each game you correctly predict against the spread.
Unibet has also been handing out prizes at the end of each round. For the first round (March 19-20), the top 100 finishers earned cash, ranging anywhere from $25 to $3,000 for the top scorer. In the second round (March 21-22), the top 50 won, with prizes again ranging from $25 to $3,000. Now, in the third and final round, (March 27-April 5), only the top 10 will win cash, with a minimum of $100 and again a maximum of $3,000.
Here's more from Unibet:
Now that we know the matchups, we can begin examining some of the third-round games, because after all, we're here to help. When filling out tournament brackets, the biggest difference-maker is usually picking the right upsets — you know, picking that one game that no one else got right — but that's going to be slightly easier when picking against the spread, because the underdog doesn't actually have to win, just cover. Sometimes though, you're better off sticking with the favorite just in case.
So before you head over to BettorBracket.com and fill out your picks in the Round of 16, here's a look at three games we like that could help put you over the edge...
No. 5 Villanova vs. No. 1 Baylor (-6.5), 5:15 P.M., Saturday
Villanova was a very popular team to be upset, outright, twice in this tournament and yet, they've held their own, showing that perhaps their weird, COVID-shortened season was not doing them justice. However, they have drawn perhaps the worst possible matchup in the Round of 16, facing the daunting No. 1-seeded Bears from Baylor.
Baylor boasts an extremely potent offense and was able to thwart a top-20 team in Wisconsin by 10 points in their second round victory. Jeremiah Robinson-Earl and Villanova, coached by tournament staple Jay Wright, have been extremely efficient to start the tourney, but are still short-handed without point guard Collin Gilllespie and have not faced an offense like Baylor's this year. The spread may actually not be giving the Bears enough credit. If they can connect from deep, this one could get out of hand. Take Baylor to cover the spread and advance.
No. 15 Oral Roberts (+11) vs. No. 3 Arkansas, 7:25 P.M., Saturday
Is there a more unlikely story in sports right now than Oral Roberts? The Golden Eagles not only shocked Ohio State in the first round — becoming the first 15-seed to win a tournament game since 2013 — they beat Florida two days later to advance to the round of 16. They're the second No. 15 seed ever to achieve the feat, and the teams they beat were not in any way shape or form weak squads. Which is why it seems like there is really no reason to doubt that the Golden Eagles, who in close, contested and clutch performances took care of teams from the mighty Big 10 and SEC, shouldn't be able to at least keep things close against another SEC squad in the Razorbacks from Arkansas.
Oral Roberts has won seven games in a row at the right time. One upset is a fluke. Two may be something special — and something not to overlook. ORU did not win due to good luck either, as they barely drained one third of their three-point attempts in their first two wins of the tournament. They shot well better than that in the regular season. If they actually hit from deep against Arkansas, watch out. Take Oral Roberts here to cover the double-digit spread running away.
No. 7 Oregon (+2.5) vs. No. 6 USC, 9:45 P.M., Sunday
The last game of the Round of 16 is one between perhaps the most evenly match opponents still in the running, with both of these conference foes clinching their spots in the second weekend after unexpected upset wins. First USC, which made short work of Drake before absolutely pulverizing Kansas, won by a ridiculous 34 points. That win, paired with their ranking being higher than the Ducks has them favored according to Pa.Unibet.com, but not so fast.
Oregon had a "bye" into the second round after COVID ended VCU's tournament hopes early, but they had no rust. Oregon proved it belonged, and is a sleeper pick to play next weekend after they took care of business against a 2-seeded Iowa squad — a team that many saw as a Final 4 threat to Gonzaga in the East Region. The Ducks won that one by 15, and they're being given 2.5 points on Sunday. This is a coin flip at best, and perhaps Oregon will be a bit more motivated after falling to USC in a Pac-12 conference game — their only loss in a stretch of 11 wins — back in February. Take the points, and the Ducks to cover this one.
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