The 2021 Final Four presents a somewhat familiar mix of storylines as the remaining teams left in the 2021 NCAA Tournament compete Saturday at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Gonzaga (30-0), the top overall seed looking to make history with an undefeated season, rolled largely untested through the West Region. Baylor (26-2), the second overall seed, has had just one game decided by single figures. Houston takes on the role of the quality club getting hot at the right time as the second-seeded Cougars (28-3) came out of the Midwest Region. And UCLA (22-9), a traditional power, has taken on the underdog roll as the No. 11-seeded Bruins went from the First Four to the Final Four by winning the East Region.
William Hill Sportsbook's latest Gonzaga vs. UCLA odds list the Bulldogs as 14-point favorites and the total at 146.5 for that 8:34 p.m. ET tip. Elsewhere in the 2021 Final Four odds from William Hill, the Bears have a five-point edge against the Cougars, with the over-under set at 135 in that 5:14 p.m. ET start. Both games will be televised by CBS. Before finalizing any 2021 Final Four picks, make sure you see the March Madness college basketball predictions and parlay picks from SportsLine senior analyst Larry Hartstein.
A former lead writer for Covers and The Linemakers, Hartstein combines a vast network of Vegas sources with an analytical approach. This season, Hartstein has emerged as SportsLine's top overall college basketball analyst, posting a record of 216-165 heading into the Final Four for a massive profit of more than $3,400 on his college basketball picks.
In the Elite Eight, Hartstein told SportsLine members to back Baylor (-8) over surging third-seeded Arkansas. He predicted the Bears would break out of a shooting funk that led to a close call against Villanova and was proven correct as they connected on 8-of-15 from 3-point range to create distance and cover the number in its 81-72 victory. Anyone who has followed Hartstein is way up.
Now, Hartstein has locked in four confident best bets for Saturday's Final Four of the NCAA Tournament 2021. If you parlay his picks, you could be looking at a payout of around 12-1. You can see them only at SportsLine.
Top 2021 NCAA Tournament Final Four expert picks
One of Hartstein's top 2021 Final Four picks is backing the under 135 points in the first game Saturday between Baylor and Houston.
The Cougars have relied on their defense and rebounding to reach the Final Four and both have served them well at critical times. For instance, in their 63-60 win over No. 10-seeded Rutgers in the second round, they trailed 50-40 midway through the second half. They allowed just 10 points the rest of the way and held the Scarlet Knights scoreless over the final 2:04 to seal the victory.
Houston, which leads the country in field-goal defense at 37.3 percent, also limited what had been a red-hot Syracuse club to just 28 percent shooting in its 62-46 victory in the Sweet 16.
Baylor can also smother opponents on the defensive end. The 72 points it allowed to Arkansas was an NCAA Tournament high and the Bears were in control most of the way. They also boast the top 3-point shooting defense in the country at 41.1 percent.
The Bears similarly showed their ability to clamp down when they forced Villanova into a second-half drought that produced just 21 points in their Sweet 16 victory.
How to make 2021 NCAA Tournament Final Four parlays
Hartstein has also identified a critical X-factor in each matchup that has him all over the two spreads. You can see his best bets only at SportsLine.
So which NCAA Tournament picks should you make on Saturday for a shot at a 12-1 return? And which critical X-factors do you need to know about? Visit SportsLine now to see Larry Hartstein's Final Four picks, all from the handicapper on a massive college basketball picks run, and find out.