Arkansas Razorbacks March Madness Odds: Should You Back Them?
Dan Kilbridge | 6 mins
One by one, the dominos fell for the Razorbacks. A No. 3 seed and a blowout win over Colgate. Surviving a scare to beat Texas Tech by two. Another two-point win over upset-minded Oral Roberts. And just like that, Arkansas was on to its first Elite Eight appearance in 25 years to continue a dream season and overdue March run in the 2021 NCAA Tournament.
Now it’s time to see if the Razorbacks can keep this momentum going, perhaps taking it even deeper in the dance in the coming weeks. Arkansas earned a No. 4 seed in the South region and will play No. 13 Vermont in the first round, with the Razorbacks listed as a -5 favorite.
And the timing couldn’t be any better with online sports betting in Arkansas having gone live throughout the state this month, giving fans the chance to legally bet on the Razorbacks as they gear up for another shot at the school’s first Final Four appearance since 1995.
Arkansas bettors are also coming on board at an ideal time to place their wagers on the Razorbacks. Despite last year’s success, and a 14-2 record in their last 16 regular season games, it seems very few are talking about Arkansas as a serious Final Four contender at March Madness. The Razorbacks are somehow still flying under the radar and getting good value on college basketball betting boards.
Arkansas is listed all the way down at 18th in terms of national championship futures, with oddsmakers listing the Razorbacks at +8000 on betting apps. They’re also going off at +1400 to make the Final Four, behind other teams with similar or worse resumes such as Illinois (+1200), Houston (+500) and Tennessee (+330) on the college basketball futures market.
The bottom line is this NCAA Tournament looks as wide open as any in recent memory. And the Razorbacks are well positioned to take advantage.
Arkansas Razorbacks March Madness Odds
|To Make Final Four||+1400 ➜|
|To Win NCAA Tournament||+8000 ➜|
Odds via DraftKings and accurate as of publication.
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Arkansas Building Toward March Madness
Arkansas’ odds to win it all were significantly shorter before the bracket was unveiled, dropping from +5000 to +8000 despite the Razorbacks receiving a No. 4 seed – exactly in line with what most bracketologists predicted. Now they’ll take on Vermont in the opener and potentially face No. 5 Connecticut or No. 12 New Mexico State, at which point it’s all about moving on by any means necessary. Experience is big in those situations and Arkansas has it thanks to last year’s Elite Eight run.
The committee didn’t do Arkansas any favors by putting the Razorbacks in the South region. That sent them on a potential collision course for a Sweet 16 matchup with No. 1 overall seed Gonzaga, which is why the title odds dropped following Selection Sunday.
Arkansas wasn’t able to improve its seeding with a deep SEC Tournament run, falling to Texas A&M in the semifinals. But there are quality wins all over the resume and you won’t find many teams more battle-tested than Arkansas going into the dance.
That 14-2 stretch which began in early January includes four wins over ranked opponents. The Razorbacks also answered the call on the biggest stage yet last month in an 80-76 win over then No. 1-ranked Auburn. They later picked off No. 13 Tennessee and No. 6 Kentucky, squeaking past the Wildcats with a 75-73 home victory.
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Arkansas Gets It Done In Crunch Time
Arkansas has been in a lot of close games this year and continues to rise to the occasion, going 2-0 in overtime and recently surviving a 77-76 win over LSU. Some will point to those margins and argue the Razorbacks are overrated on betting sites, but learning to win in crunch time is never a bad thing. We’ve seen a lack of strong regular-season competition bite talented Gonzaga teams on more than one occasion, but the Razorbacks have no such worries.
One key theme in those wins over Auburn and Kentucky was the play of JD Notae. The senior guard had 28 points in the upset win over Auburn, and he stepped it up even more with 30 points and eight assists in the win over Kentucky. Notae takes a ton of shots, but opponents don’t have an answer when he’s feeling it on a given night. However, Arkansas can still win when that’s not the case – Notae was just 3 of 12 from the floor with 12 points in an early-March win over LSU, but fellow senior guard Stanley Umude picked him up with 23 points and five rebounds in 39 minutes.
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Why Not The Razorbacks?
In terms of NCAA Tournament intangibles, the Razorbacks have everything you’re looking for. This is a guard-oriented team and the better backcourts tend to have the advantage this time of year. There’s strong senior leadership from Notae, Umude, and senior guard Au’Diese Toney, with Umude and Toney fitting in very well having transferred to Arkansas ahead of the season. For Notae and others, last year’s experience in those four March Madness games should pay dividends.
Speaking of last season, the Razorbacks’ run didn’t make any lasting impression outside of Arkansas. That’s the nature of the 24-hour sports news cycle. But consider the fact that Arkansas was on a roll until it met up with Baylor, a game in which they trailed by just four points late in the second half. When it was all over and Baylor was cutting down the nets, it was Arkansas that proved to be the Bears’ toughest opponent – Baylor beat its other five opponents by double digits, including a 16-point win over Gonzaga in the National Championship.
Now the Razorbacks are on a roll again and hoping for even bigger things this month. We wouldn’t bet against it.
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