The Sweet 16 Betting Preview takes a look at the teams Brian Twinning and I think you should be backing. Thursday and Friday is jam-packed with teams that can make some serious noise this week marching towards the Final Four.
Who should you back this week?
Gonzaga -7.5 vs Florida State
Gonzaga is a legit team that is worthy of their #1 seed. After rolling in their first game and covering the 28.5 points with ease, the Zags failed to cover the 14 against Baylor. FSU on the other hand dismantled Ja Morant and Murray State.
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This contrast has encouraged bettors to head to the window to back the Seminoles at a 62% clip. Even with the volume of bets, the line has moved in favor of the Bulldogs going from -6.5 to -7.5. I’m going with the line movement and back the Zags in this spot -7.5.
Tennessee -1.5 vs Purdue
The collapse of Tennessee on Saturday was jarring for anyone back the Vols. Despite having a 25 point lead, Tennessee needed overtime to eliminate the Hawkeyes. That said, I’m backing the Vols against Purdue. This is far too short. Had the Vols finished what they started, they would have been favored by at least 3-5 against Purdue. Give me that value.
Virginia Tech ML (+280) vs Duke
This has been one of my strongest feelings coming into the tournament and I’m glad it came to fruition. The Blue Devils are a loaded roster but are not an elite team. Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett are elite NBA stars in the making but this team relies on athleticism and transition points.
While Va Tech’s victory against Duke came without Zion, there should be an added sense of confidence most teams won’t have facing them. The Hokies +7 is definitely the safer play but I taking the Hokies on the ML.
Florida State +7 vs Gonzaga
The Seminoles are hot right now and enter the Sweet 16 against a familiar foe. FSU met and beat the Zags in last years West regional at the Staples center behind an 11-man rotation who tired out an undersized and thin Gonzaga team.
Leonard Hamilton employs a similar game plan using his entire bench to keep guys fresh and while the Bulldogs still use a 6-7-man rotation, they return 6 players from last seasons team including Killian Tillie who didn’t get to play last year.
Both teams are battle tested and capable of making it to Minneapolis. The depth and length of FSU will once again cause havoc for Gonzaga and I expect this game to come down to the wire. Take the points with the Seminoles.
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Texas Tech ML (+105) vs Michigan
So, this is extremely hard to pick and might be a little reverse psychology for myself but, I have to lean Tech for the first half of this game which may not reach 100 total points.
Both teams stake claim to elite top 10 defenses which should keep this game close throughout. The deciding factor for my pick is the size and length of point guard Jarrett Culver. Zavier Simpson is an elite on ball defender and will hound Jarrett early and often.
I do think the size difference will allow for one or two jumpers over Zavier which will be the points that give Tech the lead going into half-time. I expect this game to be close throughout the finish and hope my pick propels the (MY) Wolverines to the Elite 8. Go BLUE!
Auburn vs North Carolina -5
The Auburn Tigers completely overwhelmed the Kansas Jayhawks when they exploded for 51 points in the first half of their 2nd round game. Overall, they shot 13-30 from beyond the arc and won the game 89-75. Kansas made a late push but dug itself such a deep hole the lead was just insurmountable.
North Carolina will more than welcome the pace and plethora of shots that Auburn likes to launch from deep as they will attack the glass and push the other way. This is where I think the game might get out of hand. Unless Auburn is making 3’s at around a 55-60% clip, Carolina will gobble up all of the rebounds and push the pace the other way likely scoring some easy buckets.
I feel the Tigers all or nothing 3-point shooting will ultimately be to their detriment in this one, (I would love to see Auburn win), but think UNC pulls away late.
Houston vs Kentucky – Under 135
Kentucky held the NCAA ALL-TIME leader in 3 pointers made to 0-12 from deep in a win against Wofford in the 2nd round. Their first-round opponent Abilene Christian only scratched out 44 against the more athletic and long Wildcats. I expect coach Calipari to utilize his team’s elite length and implement a similar plan against Houston while trying to limit the effectiveness of Corey Davis Jr.
On the other side of the court, the Houston Cougars also sport their own clamp down defense. Houston forced Ohio State to shoot from deep, which they did, and did pretty good, but go away from their big man Kaleb Wesson. The Cougars will probably try and force the Wildcats outside as well, as they can struggle mightily without P.J. Washington. Even if UK gets its best player P.J. back, the layoff and a match-up of gritty and physical teams will limit scoring from both sides.