The dust has settled after the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament as we move onto the Sweet 16. For most college basketball fans, busted brackets are already a reality, but that doesn’t mean you have to bow out of the action.
Saturday and Sunday feature a total of eight Sweet 16 matchups between some of the biggest names in college basketball. Let’s take a deeper dive into three games with odds, analysis, and betting picks.
Best Sweet 16 Bets and Picks
With the first two rounds in the books, the National Championship pretenders are long gone. The Sweet 16 is for the best of the best in March Madness. Up to this point, the underdogs have been the story of the NCAA Tournament, going 23-13 against the spread as a group. However, it’s worth noting that the dogs only went 8-8 ATS in the round of 32. There is no clear-cut method to betting this NCAA Tournament, but that is par for the course.
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But don’t forget about the odds-on favorite to win it all — Gonzaga. The Bulldogs are 2-0 against the spread after winning their first two games by a combined 59 points. They are the biggest favorite of the weekend for good reason.
Oral Roberts is the lowest seed in the Sweet 16. They went head to head with Ohio State and Florida without backing down in the first two rounds. They are heavy underdogs against Arkansas in the Sweet 16, but they are riding some serious momentum.
2-Seed Houston (-6.5) vs. 11-Seed Syracuse
Houston will play a double-digit seed for the third consecutive round, but this Syracuse team is not a normal 11 seed. The Orange are — forgive the cliché — getting hot at the right time. Their 2-3 zone always seems to give teams problems in the NCAA Tournament. West Virginia was one of the best offensive teams in the country this year, but even they couldn’t overcome the old-school 2-3 zone.
Houston suffered a scare against Rutgers in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The Cougars routed Cleveland State in the first round, but failed to cover against the Scarlet Knights. Of course, 6.5 points is not a monster number by any stretch, but with the way Syracuse is playing, this is going to be a tough spread to cover.
Buddy Boeheim is playing the best basketball of his Syracuse career and Joseph Girard III is stepping up as a solid running mate in the backcourt. The duo is shooting over 50% (20-for-39) from three-point range in the NCAA Tournament. Boeheim alone is 13-for-23 from beyond the arc.
Houston, a team that ranks second in the nation in opponent scoring, is going to have to try and neutralize Boeheim and Girard, or at the very least force them into tough shots.
Houston vs. Syracuse Betting Pick
With all that said, we still think Syracuse has done enough to be the pick here. Boeheim and Girard are stretching defenses out with their shooting gravity and that 2-3 zone is the x-factor for the Orange. Take Syracuse with the points.
Pick: Syracuse +6.5
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1-Seed Gonzaga (-13) vs. 5-Seed Creighton
Gonzaga is on an absolute tear through college basketball now. This isn’t intended as a slight towards Creighton, but they don’t have near enough talent to keep up with the Bulldogs. Gonzaga has three potential first-round picks in Jalen Suggs, Corey Kispert, and Joel Ayayi.
Not to mention, big man Drew Timme is a finalist for the Naismith Player of the Year award as well. Timme went off for 30 points, 13 rebounds, and four assists in the second round win over Arkansas. But it doesn’t stop there for the Bulldogs. In fact, their second unit would probably be a tournament team on their own. Mark Few’s squad is literally that deep.
Creighton is led by Marcus Zegarowski, a two-time All-Big East player. The younger brother of former Syracuse star Michael Carter-Williams is looking to lead his team on a deeper run into the NCAA Tournament, but it’s going to be tough to top Gonzaga.
Only one team has lost to the Bulldogs by single digits this year (West Virginia). Every other win for Gonzaga during this undefeated season has come by double digits.
Gonzaga vs. Creighton Betting Pick
This is the biggest spread of the weekend at Gonzaga -13, but don’t be scared off by that big number. There is simply too much talent for Creighton to contend with here.
Pick: Gonzaga -13
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6-Seed USC (-2) vs. 7-Seed Oregon
The Pac-12, or “Conference of Champions” as Bill Walton would say, is having a tremendous NCAA Tournament. They have the most teams left of any conference (four), but at least one of the Pac-12 teams is going to go down this weekend when USC and Oregon meet on Sunday night.
Both these teams have looked impressive. USC put a beatdown on No. 3 Kansas in the second round. The game was over nearly as soon as it started. The Mobley brothers, Isaiah and Evan, combined for 27 points, 21 rebounds, and nine assists. Those two are giving opposing teams fits. It’s worth noting that Isaiah Mobley did not play in USC’s first meeting with Oregon this year, a game in which the Trojans won 72-58.
Oregon is going to have their hands full with the Mobleys, but they looked like a team on a mission against Iowa. Chris Duarte and LJ Figueroa combined for 44 points in the blowout win. Oregon can go on a run in the blink of an eye.
USC vs. Oregon Betting Pick
We love the way Oregon is playing, but the Mobleys are going to be way too much for the Ducks to deal with. Take the Trojans laying the points.
Pick: USC -2
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