North Texas vs Villanova March Madness Odds, Picks and Predictions March 21

Updated: March 20, 2021

Jared Hochman

Mar 20, 2021 – 12:03 PM ET

It’s that time of the year, when Cinderella stories are the highlight of everyone’s March Madness picks. The North Texas Mean Green made big waves in the first day of tournament action, knocking off fourth-seeded Purdue.

They’ll look to continue the March Madness and get into the Sweet 16 with another upset victory against No. 5 Villanova, whom many expected to be upset but were able to quiet – but not silence – the naysayers.

Opening as 7-point college basketball betting underdogs, can the Mean Green displace another higher seed? Find out our thoughts below in our North Texas vs. Villanova picks and predictions for Sunday, March 21, with tip-off scheduled for 8:45 p.m. ET.

North Texas vs Villanova odds

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The line opened at Villanova -7, with the total at 127.5. Early action favored the Mean Green and the Under, shifting the spread to -6.5 and the Over/Under to 126.5. Check back later for a full report from Patrick!

Check out the full line movement for this game

North Texas Mean Green vs Villanova Wildcats betting preview


North Texas: Rubin Jones G (Out).
Villanova: Collin Gillespie G (Out), Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree F (Out).
Find our latest NCAA basketball injury reports.

Betting trend to know

The Under is 4-0 in Wildcats’ last four games vs. teams above a .600 win percentage. Find more NCAA betting trends for Villanova vs. North Texas.

Against the spread (ATS) pick

We picked the Mean Green to cover in their Round of 64 matchup against Purdue, while also noting they were very capable of winning outright, and fans of the Cinderella squad were not disappointed.

North Texas defied the March Madness odds and became the second double-digit seed in the South Region to post an upset, knocking off No. 4 Purdue 78-69 in overtime. The game went exactly as the Mean Green wanted to script it: Strong defense from start to finish, efficient three-point shooting and a big night from two-time Conference USA Player of the Year Javion Hamlet.

The 13th-seeded Mean Green held Purdue to just 36 percent shooting from the floor (including just 31 percent from behind the arc) and neutralized the size advantage the Boilermakers held. Forward Trevion Williams posted just 14 points and 7-foot-3 Zach Edey failed to score at all. If it wasn’t for a guard Jaden Ivey putting up season-high 26 points, North Texas would have likely won this game in regulation.

Villanova, on the other hand, had to silence its doubters on Friday. The Wildcats were stumbling into the Big Dance, going 5-5 SU in their last 10 and losing two straight after the season-ending injury of star PG Collin Gillespie, but rebounded to dump trendy upset pick Winthrop 73-63.

Jay Wright’s squad won by clamping down in their half-court defense, which Winthrop could not figure out. The Eagles preferred to get out in transition and run an up-tempo pace, but Villanova nullified that by committing just six turnovers—and four of them were off charges. Winthrop finished shooting just 36.2 percent from the field, which was the lowest mark an opponent put up against ‘Nova all season.

The Wildcats didn’t look great offensively themselves, however, posting multiple lengthy scoring droughts and only shooting 32 percent (8 of 25) from beyond the arc. The ability to generally keep things slow, capitalize on points off turnovers (17-4 advantage for the game) and exploit their size advantage, with leading scorer Jeremiah Robinson-Earl and Jermaine Samuels, was the recipe for beating the No. 12 seed…but doesn’t that sound familiar to No. 13 North Texas’ first-round opponent?

North Texas is 42nd in the nation in KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency,  and is much happier playing a methodical game. The Mean Green have already shown that size isn’t an issue and with a bona fide go-to scorer in Hamlet, they will take advantage of any scoring droughts ‘Nova put up.

Villanova seems like a better matchup for North Texas than Purdue was, with no real game-breaking guard on its roster, so we’re going to continue the Cinderella story and back the Mean Green again with the points.

PREDICTION: North Texas +6.5 (-110)

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Over/Under Pick

North Texas’ win over Purdue finished Over, snapping a three-game Under streak, but keep in mind that the game needed an extra period—and when regulation ended it was Under the 125 total.

Even with the result, the Under has still hit in 10 of North Texas’ last 13 games, while Villanova’s victory finished eight points below the total, making ‘Nova 2-5 O/U in its last seven games.

Again, Villanova loves to play slow, as it is 331st in adjusted tempo and averages 18.5 seconds per possession, and North Texas is even slower, with 19.2 seconds per possession and sitting 350th in the country in adjusted tempo.

Under also seems to be the trend in the South Region, as it cashed in five of the eight first-round games—but would be 7 of 8 games after 40 minutes.

It’s hard to predict games going to overtime – even during March Madness – so we’re going to go with what seems like the right play and back the Under here again.

PREDICTION: Under 126.5 (-110)

Covers March Madness betting analysis

Team total pick

Another fun trend from the South Region’s opening round action is that the favorites did not post strong opening halves, going 0-8 O/U on Friday.

Villanova finished with 34 points going into the break against Winthrop, which was just below its total of 34.5. The Wildcats attempted 32 shots in that half – well above their season average – as they got caught up early in trying to run with the Eagles’ up-tempo pace.

Just like North Texas’ win against Purdue, in which the Boilermakers mustered just 24 first-half points, this game will start out slow and remain slow. That means fewer shots for ‘Nova, fewer turnovers to turn into points and a lot more effort required overall for the Wildcats to put the ball in the hoop.

Let’s keep riding the favorites not hitting their offensive goals in the first 20 minutes and bet on ‘Nova having another low-scoring first half.

 PREDICTION: Villanova first half team total Under 31.5 (-126)

North Texas vs Villanova betting card

  • North Texas +6.5 (-110)
  • Under 126.5 (-110)
  • Villanova first half team total Under 31.5 (-126)

March Madness parlays

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Use our March Madness parlay calculator to create your own parlays and see their potential payouts.

Where can I bet on March Madness odds?

March Madness is one of the most popular times of the year for sports bettors, which of course makes it one of the busiest times of the year for online sportsbooks. Every betting site will offer March Madness odds but the top sites are safe and secure, offer a wide range of banking options, and give you a ton of markets for each game. Check out the best March Madness betting sites in your region.

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