Skip to content

NCAA Tournament by the odds: Vegas picks and preview of Sunday’s games

NCAA Tournament by the odds: Vegas picks and preview of Sunday's games

Adam Sanogo


UConn’s Adama Sanogo shoots against Creighton during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 11, 2023, in Omaha, Neb. Sonogo was named to The Associated Press All-Big East team in voting announced on Tuesday, March 7, 2023.

Two down, two to go.

No. 2 seed UCLA and No. 8 seed Arkansas became the first teams ever to book a trip to the NCAA Tournament in Las Vegas with 32 wins in the round of 16 on Saturday. No. 3 seed Gonzaga, no. 4th seed Connecticut, no. 5th seed St. Mary’s and no. No. 6 seed TCU looks to join them on Sunday.

UConn and St. Mary face off for first place at 3:10 PM on TNT, and the Huskies are currently 3.5 point favorites. Gonzaga and TCU do the honors of saying goodbye to the nation’s busiest betting weekend when they tip off at 6:40pm on TBS with the Zags currently 4.5 point favorites.

The second weekend of the tournament is typically quieter in the city with betting dropping off, but that won’t be the case this year. With four fanbases coming to town, if not four powerful fanbases, money will be flying before Thursday night’s event at T-Mobile Arena.

Let’s take one last chance to increase our tournament bankrolls before then.

Below, read the selection of all eight Sunday matches of the round of 16. The choices are listed in rough order of trust and labeled with one of three separate trust categories. The lines are currently the best available in Las Vegas. The record in picking each tournament game so far is 17-25-2 (8-5-1 on games, 5-10-1 on bench, 4-10 on hitting).

3rd seed Kansas State -2.5 vs. no. No. 6 seed Kentucky Last season’s National Player of the Year, Oscar Tshiebwe came out on top in Kentucky’s 61-53 tournament-opening win over Providence as a 4-point favorite. The big man grabbed 25 rebounds including double-digit rebounds on offense and defense. Kansas State isn’t a strong rebounding team to begin with, and now it has to contend with arguably the nation’s best team on the glass. Kentucky has been a bit of a disappointment this year, but has the talent around Tshiebwe to reach a level few teams in the nation can match – certainly not Kansas State. Game: Kentucky -2.5.

No. 3 seed Gonzaga -4.5 vs. no. 6 seed TCU The Horned Frogs would have had a real chance of crushing the Bulldogs at full strength, but they are increasingly looking like they are understrength. With big man Eddie Lampkin already gone, TCU is also dealing with an injury to star running back Mike Miles, who came off a 72-70 win over Arizona State as a 4.5-point favorite. It is a big problem in what numbers to be a game up and down. When healthy, TCU can outrun just about every team in the nation in transition — except maybe Gonzaga. Lean: Gonzaga -4.5.

3rd seed Xavier -5 vs. 11th seed Pittsburgh Playing three games in five days is a challenge even for the best teams. Pittsburgh is not one of the best teams. The Panthers are on a strong offensive run, but the Musketeers can more than match their firepower. In many ways, Xavier just looks like an upgraded version of Pittsburgh with sharp shooting and size leading the way. Lean: Xavier -5.

No. 9 seed Florida Atlantic -15 vs. 16 seed Fairleigh Dickinson Florida Atlantic -12 may have had one of the worst opening lines of the tournament on Friday night, but the odds are starting to get closer to where they belong. The Owls’ experienced backcourt won’t be fazed by the Knights’ pressure the same way the Boilermakers were in a historic 63-58 rout of Fairleigh Dickinson as 23-point underdogs. Unlike their last two appearances, the Knights have struggled defensively for years. Florida Atlantic should be able to take advantage. Lean: Florida Atlantic -15.

4th seed Connecticut -3.5 vs. 5th seed St. Mary’s UConn looks like the best team in the nation when center Adam Sanogo unlocks them, as it did in the second half of Friday’s 87-63 pasting of Iona as a 9.5-point favorite. But they’ve also looked downright ordinary against purposeful, fundamentally sound opponents all year, and the Gaels might fit the profile better than any team in the country. It will all come down to what wins between brute force and machine execution in Albany, NY Lean: UConn -3.5.

No. 3 seed Marquette -2.5 vs. no. 7 seed Michigan State The Spartans are bigger, stronger, more experienced and stingier defensively. In other words, this matchup should be ideal for coach Tom Izzo, who implements his preferred dirty style to success. However, there are no bargains in the state of Michigan. While matchup factors may play in the Spartans’ favor, it’s hard to make a difference shorter than this based on each team’s statistical profile to this point in the season. Guess: Michigan State +2.5.

3rd seed Baylor -1.5 vs. no. No. 6 seed Creighton The old football cliché “the team with the last ball will win” could apply here. With both sides offensively explosive and evenly matched, it’s hard to see either side backing down. I change my mind every minute on who to pick, but BetMGM makes it a little easier from a betting perspective with an off-market line of Baylor -1.5. The Bears may be just-so-slightly better, but they’re extremely close. Odds: Creighton +1.5.

4th seed Indiana -2 vs. 5th seed Miami The Hurricanes grabbed some late before a 63-56 win over Drake as a 2.5-point favorite on Friday. The same trend could emerge again today. Indiana deserves to be favored, which is why some of the starting prices like the pick’em and even Miami -1 are wrong, but the line is a little overcorrected. Miami’s advantage on the perimeter is as obvious as Indiana’s inside. Not much room with Indiana -1.5 fair price but only one way to go with the pick. Guess: Miami +2.

Case Keefer can be reached at 702-948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at Keefer can be reached at 702-948-2790 or

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to our Magazine, and enjoy exclusive fresh news 24/7