College Basketball
NCAA Tournament 2021: Why Kansas is the single best bet for Day 4
College Basketball

NCAA Tournament 2021: Why Kansas is the single best bet for Day 4

Updated Jul. 20, 2021 7:53 p.m. ET

By Sam Panayotovich
FOX Sports Betting Analyst

Bill Self as an underdog? Count me in.

The 3-seed Kansas Jayhawks dropped 93 points on pesky Eastern Washington to open their 2021 NCAA Tournament on Saturday, but more people are talking about how the Jayhawks trailed at the half – like that matters. It’s funny how people ignore a team that hit 12 3-pointers and shot 81% at the free-throw line just because of how 20 minutes.

You know what, though? We'll let them. For us, the Jayhawks are the best bet on the board Monday.


KU doesn’t have an NBA superstar on the roster. Instead, this is a balanced bunch that is really grooving at the moment. The Jayhawks have won nine of their past 10 games and head into Monday night’s matchup with USC as a small underdog, at +1 on the point spread (meaning a wager on Kansas wins if the Jayhawks beat the Trojans outright, or you get your bet back if they lose by one).

The key to this game is in the paint. The Jayhawks must flex their muscles under the rim and win the Windex war on the glass. I absolutely love the matchup with junior David McCormack against 7-foot freshman Evan Mobley. McCormack is a big, physical dude who is going to make life difficult for Mobley on both ends of the floor.

I also trust sure-handed senior Marcus Garrett to make the right decisions with the rock in the big moments. Garrett was the calming presence Saturday when the game was hanging in the balance, and I expect much of the same against USC. 

It isn't often that you get Kansas as an underdog in the NCAA Tournament. The Trojans are good, but the Jayhawks are playing better ball. It should be a close game at the half. Then Bill Self will make the proper second-half adjustments, and KU will pull away.

Rock. Chalk. Jayhawk (+1).

Sammy P's overall record this tournament: 6-2-1

Sam Panayotovich is a sports betting analyst for FOX Sports and NESN. He previously worked for WGN Radio, NBC Sports and VSiN. He'll probably pick against your favorite team. Follow him on Twitter @spshoot.

Play the FOX Super 6 Tourney Challenge all tournament long for your chance to win thousands of dollars every round! Just download the FOX Super 6 app for free and make your picks at the beginning of each round.


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