2021 NCAA Tournament Elite 8 betting trends: Oregon State, Baylor taking heavy leans Monday over Houston, Arkansas, respectively

The first two spots in the 2021 NCAA Tournament Final Four will be earned Monday night from Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis as No. 12 Oregon State faces No. 2 Houston in the first game (7:15 p.m. ET) for the Midwest Region title, while No. 3 Arkansas takes on No. 1 Baylor in the late matchup (9:57 p.m. ET) for the South Region crown. Both are shown by CBS. Bettors at William Hill Sportsbook are all over the underdog Beavers but also nearly as heavy on the favored Bears.

Oregon State, which wouldn’t even be in the Big Dance had it not staged a shocking run to the Pac-12 Tournament, is currently a 7.5-point underdog – which is right where Coach Wayne Tinkle’s club wants to be. The Beavers are 13-1 against the spread in their past 14 games and were underdogs in all but one. They have been at least +6 in all three NCAA Tournament games and covered each by double digits.

A total of 84 percent of all money wagered at William Hill on the Oregon State-Houston spread is on the Beavers and 65 percent of all tickets sold are on them. That heavy action has dropped the spread from an open of Cougars -8.5. The total has dropped from 131 to 129 – both are very good defensive teams. The Cougars lead the nation with a 37.0 field goal percentage defensive mark and are second in allowing 57.5 points per game.

Monday will be the 1,000th game in the head coaching career of Houston’s Kelvin Sampson. It’s the first meeting between Oregon State and Houston since March 18, 2009, during the CBI first round in Corvallis.

In the nightcap, Baylor is a 7.5-point favorite over its former fellow Southwest Conference member Arkansas, up from an open of -7 as 71 percent of all money wagered and 71 percent of all tickets sold are on the Bears. They remain the +300 second favorites to win the national title behind unbeaten Gonzaga (+130), which plays USC on Tuesday. Baylor has not reached a Final Four in the modern era.

BU is 1-1 vs. Arkansas in the Scott Drew era – a loss in Dallas in 2008 and a win in North Little Rock in 2009. The Bears have won 21 straight non-conference games (by an average margin of 22.3 points). 

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