NCAA March Madness betting: $451K on Alabama among biggest Sweet 16 bets

Sam Cooper
·4-min read

As we inch closer to the Sweet 16 this weekend, more monster bets have come in at BetMGM. And the biggest one is on the Alabama Crimson Tide.

Wednesday morning, BetMGM reported receiving a $451,000 bet on Alabama to cover the six-point spread on Sunday against UCLA. The bet would win $410,000.

Alabama, the No. 2 seed in the East Region, didn’t cover the spread in its opening-round win over Iona, but did so without any drama in the Round of 32 against Maryland. The Tide were a six-point favorite in that one and ended up blowing out the Terps, 96-77. The Tide shot 53% from the field in the game, including knocking down 16 3-pointers. One bettor cashed in heavily on that performance, winning $300,000 after putting down $330,000 on Alabama -5.

UCLA, meanwhile, has won three straight games to reach this point, covering the spread in all three. The Bruins, the No. 11 seed, won outright as underdogs in the First Four against Michigan State and the first round against BYU. UCLA then beat Abilene Christian by 20 as a 5.5-point underdog.

Another monster bet on Oregon

The second-biggest bet at BetMGM came in on Oregon in its matchup with Pac-12 foe USC on Sunday night. The Ducks, fresh off an impressive upset win over Iowa, are three-point underdogs against USC, which just trounced Kansas in the Round of 32.

Oregon lost to USC during the regular season, but this bettor is confident enough in Dana Altman’s squad to wager $367,200 on the Ducks +3. The bet would win $306,000.

In the last round, one BetMGM customer won $150,000 on Oregon’s 95-80 win over Iowa. Oregon entered that game as five-point underdogs.

Can Loyola Chicago keep it rolling?

Another bettor is heavily backing Loyola Chicago.

The Ramblers have covered the spread in five consecutive games, including the Round 1 victory over Georgia Tech and Sunday’s big-time upset over Illinois. Illinois was the No. 1 seed in the Midwest Region, but Loyola Chicago put up an incredible performance, winning 71-58 as seven-point underdogs.

In the Sweet 16, Loyola will square off against Oregon State, the region’s No. 12 seed. Oregon State has been one of the best ATS teams in the country this season. The Beavers have covered the spread in 21 of their 31 games (21-9-1), including 12 of their last 13. That run includes OSU’s run through the Pac-12 tournament, a first-round upset over Tennessee (as 8.5-point underdogs) and a second-round upset over Oklahoma State (as six-point underdogs).

Can the Beavers do it again? One bettor is skeptical, and has wagered $306,000 on Loyola Chicago -6. The bet would win $255,000.

Loyola Chicago center Cameron Krutwig (25) reacts to a basket against the Illinois during the second half of a men's college basketball game in the second round of the NCAA tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Sunday, March 21, 2021. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Loyola Chicago center Cameron Krutwig (25) reacts to a basket against the Illinois during the second half of a men's college basketball game in the second round of the NCAA tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Sunday, March 21, 2021. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Big bets against Gonzaga, Michigan

Arguably the most high-profile Sweet 16 matchup is in the East Region, where No. 1 seed Michigan will meet No. 4 seed Florida State.

The Wolverines, after a hard-fought win over LSU, are slight favorites. One bettor, however, is backing the Seminoles and wagered $222,200 on FSU +3. The bet would win $202,000.

Based on the trends, it could prove to be a shrewd move. Under Leonard Hamilton, Florida State is 5-1 against the spread as an underdog in NCAA tournament play.

The fifth six-figure Sweet 16 bet BetMGM has received came in against mighty Gonzaga, the NCAA tournament’s No. 1 overall seed. Gonzaga was a 33-point favorite in Round 1 and a 15.5-point favorite in Round 2. The Bulldogs covered in both games.

In the Sweet 16, Gonzaga is again a double-digit favorite, this time against Creighton. One bettor is backing the Blue Jays and bet $112,200 on Creighton +13.5. The bet would win $102,000.

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