NCAA Sweet Sixteen Day One Betting Tips

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I took off the first couple of rounds this year because I had a feeling it was going to be pretty chaotic. I was right.

The public is 20-27-1 against the spread through two runs and there have been a ton of upsets. Unders have been very popular as well with a record of 35-17 thus far.

Alabama and Houston are the two #1 seeds remaining and they are the two biggest favorites to win it all right now at +350 and +400. After that, it is truly a free-for-all with UCLA at +800, Texas and Connecticut at +900, Creighton at +1000, and everyone else at +1100 or higher.

When I look at college basketball, I’m looking at three main factors: three-point shooting, rebounding, and turnovers. Win out of the three and you’re doing pretty well. I might be missing a couple of games here, but this is what the team records look like in those games thus far in the tournament.

Teams with at least +1 rebound: 38-13
Teams with at least +1 made three: 25-20
Teams with at least one less turnover: 28-18

So, yeah, pretty big deal and that’s my main focus here: team stats on both ends. Plus, offensive and defensive efficiency. Let’s tackle day one.

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Michigan State vs. Kansas State Betting Tips:

I think Michigan State is lucky to be here. They were outshot 11-3 from three by Marquette and USC outrebounded and outshot them from deep. The key in both games has been free throw shooting as they are getting to the line 20+ per game.

Kansas State is a flawed team, but they force a ton of turnovers and have a much better defense. They have gotten to the line at nearly the same rate as Michigan State so that advantage should be out here.

This one is kind of close when I look at the stats, but I just don’t think K-State should be the underdog here.

Kansas State +1.5

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Arkansas vs. Connecticut Betting Tips:

Arkansas does not shoot threes very well at all. They’ve gotten away with it thus far, but I think their luck runs out here as Connecticut is making 9+ per game. Throw in the stronger rebounding numbers and this isn’t really even a consideration to me. The second biggest favorite on my board.

Connecticut -4.5

Florida Atlanta vs. Tennessee Betting Tips:

FAU got here with the three-ball, but they also got here with the easiest schedule of anyone. A #8 seed followed by a #16 seed. Tennessee faced a #13 and a #4. Both of those games were close and now they face a really good defensive team. I don’t like their chances.

Tennessee was great at defending at the three this year, allowing under six makes per game. They also outrebounded their opponents by +7 and won the turnover battle. They have one of the very best defenses left in this tournament and I think it shows here.

Tennessee -4.5

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Gonzaga vs. UCLA Betting Tips:

These teams are pretty even across the board until you get to defense and that’s where UCLA has really shined. They are the third-best defense left in this tournament while I have Gonzaga as the third-worst left. Of course, they make up for it offensively, best in the tournament.

That said, it’s pretty hard to trust Gonzaga against the spread. They are 0-2 thus far and 13-19-1 over their last 32 games. That is not a small sample.

UCLA has some injury concerns that shift things and I don’t feel good picking them here. I think they are the better team and will win straight up, but just not sure the stars are aligning for that, and not 100% confident in it.

I do think the total here is set a bit too high. It is six points higher than the next closest game. Unders have dominated the tournament and UCLA will need to slow this down to have a chance.

Gonzaga/UCLA Under 145.5