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March 22, 2022

Shander: Best Sweet 16 March Madness bets, including Villanova vs. Michigan

Already filled with upsets and historic victories, the NCAA Tournament hits the halfway point with plenty of drama in hand. Villanova is still alive and takes on a dangerous Michigan team, but that’s far from the only action – especially from a wagering standpoint. When betting the Sweet 16 or Elite Eight, it’s important to look at the recent tournament games more than anything season-long, even if it’s an ATS record.

This is built off gut and the eye test, combined with numbers at the book which could be a little off, like the Miami or St. Peter’s lines. We will start with Nova then hit the rest of the Sweet 16.

Let’s get to work and cash some tickets!


Villanova -5.5 vs. Michigan

The Wolverines are coming off a huge upset win over Tennessee and have all the momentum in this game. The good thing about Nova is they can kill momentum by slowing down the pace and maximizing the clock on offense. Colin Gillespie is still the best three-point shooter in the tournament, and the Wolverines won’t be able to speed up the game. Nova wants to keep this total in the 110s, which would destroy Michigan’s rhythm and kill any momentum from the previous round. Nova is a great play with the points or a ML piece in a parlay.

Gonzaga -8.5 vs. Arkansas

Here come the Razorbacks… kind of. They are just the latest team going up against this year’s “Duke” (most hateable) squad in Gonzaga. While the public wants to see the Zags upset, they aren’t betting like it. Gonzaga needed second halves to get away from Georgia State then Memphis, but Arkansas didn’t cover either of their games against double-digit seeds. If you’ve been burned the previous two games betting on Gonzaga, this is the one to take. Zags will easily cover anything less than 10 points.

Duke +1.5 vs Texas Tech

Yes, Duke is the betting underdog in this matchup despite being the higher seed in the tournament. The lack of faith in Duke has me liking them even more, especially if anyone is taking TT because Duke is 1-1 ATS so far. Duke had a brutal beat in the first round that squandered a cover but bounced right back last round. Each of these games may be the last one for Coach K, and the Blue Devils seem to thrive off it, especially later in games. Duke -105 ML is better than laying 110/115 on the +1.5 points – you won’t need them.

Houston +2.5 vs. Arizona

This is one where you want to take the points, as Houston is one of the best teams in the tournament regardless of seed. KemPom has Houston as one of the top teams in the country, their only crime was playing in that smaller conference. Arizona is still not fully healthy and is prime for the upset here, as Houston has favorable matchups all over the floor. The back court matchups might prove too much for the Cats, but at the very least it will be enough for Houston to stay in this game. Even if it comes down to the wire, that hook will save anyone betting on Houston. Take the Cougars with the points.

Purdue -12.5 vs. Saint Peter’s

It’s midnight for Cinderella and that slipper won’t fit. This is a trap as you will hear all week this line is too big to not jump on St. Peter’s – especially with the Jekyll and Hide performances out of Purdue this year. The Boilermakers are in a great spot to truly open their offense and pacing, with Jaden Ivey becoming one of the top prospects to come out of college. Purdue has looked sloppy at times, especially earlier in games, but they are simply too talented to lose this game. It was fun while it lasted for St. Pete’s, but this is the problem with early round upsets, as these teams can’t keep up the long trek to the finals. Take Purdue. Purdue is also a great live bet if they happen to get down in the first half.

UNC +115 vs. UCLA

The Tar Heels are on a roll right now and have some huge wins under their belt. It started with ruining Coach K’s final home game at Duke and has grown into one the lone team to upset a No. 1 seed. Hubert Davis is a fantastic coach and is showing signs of truly understanding his role on the bench during the tournament. His kids are prepared and no moment seems too big for them. I don’t need to know anything about UCLA outside of them struggling their way to this game. Take the Tar Heels ML. UNC is hitting 90+ points in each of their games = over 142.5.

Kansas -7.5 vs Providence

Hats off to the Friars. They weren’t supposed to get out of the first round and certainly not advance this far when the committee first announced the bracket. These teams are super dangerous as they come out of bigger conferences and are battle tested – unlike a St. Peter’s. The problem is Kansas presents way too many problems on the floor to solve. As impressive as it was for Providence to hold off South Dakota State and a scrappy Richmond team, they can’t afford to be in any tight game with the Jayhawks. Kansas just beat Creighton by seven and should be in the 8-to-10-point margin of victory against Providence.

Miami -2.5 vs Iowa State

The Canes actually opened up as a one-point underdog but were destroyed at that number, moving them to the betting favorite. Iowa State doesn’t do much except play good defense, they want to keep games to a slower pacing. Miami is just fine with that, as both of their wins – including beating Auburn – have gone under the point total. The best bet in this game is under 133.5, but Miami winning, and covering is also a fine play. Books like DraftKings will let you Same Game Parlay the two, which is another way to attack the value in this game. Miami should start this game like they were fired out of a cannon, enough to build a lead over the Cyclones and eventually cover this one possession line. Same Game Parlay Miami ML/under 133.5 for a +205 payout.

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