Sweet 16 ATS Betting Picks
It just took a long weekend, but the field of 64 teams in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament has shrunk to just 16. Some of the teams that many people thought would still be around (hello Xavier, Kentucky, Michigan State and Arizona) have already gone home. Some of the Cinderellas already flamed out (Middle Tennessee State, Wichita State, Yale) but some of them are still here (Wisconsin, Gonzaga, Syracuse). What does all this mean? There are some exciting games yet to be played. Here is my take on each of the Sweet 16 betting matchups, taking a look at their point spread.
Sweet 16 ATS Betting Picks
Miami (+4.5) vs. Villanova, O/U 142.5
This might be the toughest pick of all eight matchups for me. Villanova is a strong, strong team that came out of a tough Big East schedule and has played fairly well. Miami is a tough team as well, but they had some big losses to elite teams (getting routed at North Carolina) as well as some big wins (the home spanking of Virginia). I think Villanova is a little better in the halfcourt offense, and I think Miami is a little better on the boards, with both teams fairly even on defense. I see Villanova wearing Miami down over the course of the game, so I’m picking Villanova to cover.
Texas A&M (+1.5) vs Oklahoma, O/U 145
I picked UNI to beat Texas A&M in the second round of the tournament, and I was almost right. If the Aggies hadn’t staged a 14-2 run in the last 33 seconds, the Aggies would be home now. Instead, they live to fight another day against Oklahoma. Oklahoma has been an up-and-down team this season, but the Aggies have won more big games in the clutch, especially later in the season. The Aggies are better on the boards than Oklahoma and have an offense that can catch fire. That’s why I’m picking Texas A&M to cover.
Maryland (+7) vs Kansas, O/U 146
Kansas all the way in this one. But can they cover? Maryland has laid some real eggs this season, and I think Kansas’ skill in the transition game and in the halfcourt offense will give the Terrapins some fits. That is why I’m picking Kansas to win and cover.
Duke (+2) vs Oregon, O/U 155
Frankly, I think Duke is getting some of that ACC bias in that line. Oregon is head and shoulders above the rest of the Pac-12, and they have a dynamic offense that should be able to shred its way through the Duke defense. Duke doesn’t have much depth, so any foul trouble will start the bleeding early. I’m picking Oregon to win and cover.
Iowa State (+5.5) vs Virginia, O/U 141
Iowa State has a tremendously explosive offense but an iffy defense. Virginia has a stout defense and a plodding offense. So the difference will be which team can enforce its will. I can see Virginia winning this, but I also see Iowa State popping a bunch of shots late to either cover or pull the upset. I’m picking Iowa State to cover.
Wisconsin (+1) vs Notre Dame, O/U 128
Notre Dame hasn’t been thrashing teams so far in the tournament, and Wisconsin has the energy of that buzzer-beater over Xavier. I like the grit of the Badgers to overcome a Notre Dame defense that has a tendency to give up baskets at the wrong time. Wisconsin to win and cover.
Gonzaga (-4.5) vs Syracuse, O/U 135
Gonzaga hasn’t seen much 2-3 zone this year, at least not like the Orange play it, in conjunction with strong rebounding. Syracuse will squeeze the life out of the Gonzaga offense. I’m picking Syracuse to win and cover.
Indiana (+6) vs North Carolina, O/U 159.5
These two teams combine to average about 140 points a game, so I’m definitely taking the under for starters. I don’t think North Carolina can beat Indiana by this much, because of the tight defense that the Hoosiers play So I’m picking Indiana to cover.