Sweet 16 and Beyond: Predictions With Analysis
By Mike Quinn, (@misterquinnbets), Predictem.com
After a wild first full day of the Tourney last Thursday, things settled down a bit and we now find ourselves about to enter the second weekend of the annual battle for college hoops immortality.I have found the Sweet 16 and Elite 8 games to not only be more compelling, but also bring far more value to the table as a bettor.Solid, well-rounded teams now find themselves as dogs against what is perceived to be stronger opponents and all of that adds up to more opportunity to cash at the window. Speaking of opportunities, if you’re betting games at -110 odds you’re overpaying! Dump your expensive bookie TODAY and start laying only -105 at the web’s best sportsbook: 5Dimes! They will save you TONS of money!
To no ones surprise, Kentucky has found their way to the Sweet 16 and they now face a battle with Bob Huggins and the Mountaineers of West Virginia.Kentucky enters this game as a 13 point favorite.This was a matchup that I was hoping to see.West Virginias full court press style and strong guard play could be the key to toppling the mighty Wildcats.West Virginia also rebounds the ball very well, which is another method to slow down Caliparis undefeated squad.In my opinion, this might be a tougher test for Kentucky than whomever they may face in the Elite 8.With Kentuckys lines being inflated throughout the tournament and pressure beginning to mount more and more as they get closer to the Final Four, there is certainly value on the dog in this game.
On the other side of the Midwest bracket is a very evenly matched game between Notre Dame and Wichita State.This game opened at a Pick’em and quickly moved to the Shockers being a 1-point favorite.Both of these teams do a lot of the same things well.An important point to consider hereWichita State just won their Super Bowl with a beating of Kansas.Kansas had dodged them for years and the Shockers took full advantage of their opportunity over the weekend.After coming home to a heros welcome, they now need to refocus against a very disciplined and upperclassmen-led squad from South Bend.I think the Shockers will have a bit of a letdown and the Fightin Irish have a great chance to advance against an opponent that shouldnt make them feel too uncomfortable.
The West will be settled in Los Angeles this weekend with what could be the premier matchup of the Sweet 16 Wisconsin versus North Carolina.Bo Ryans Badgers bring senior leadership and experience coupled with discipline to the table, while the Tar Heels bring athleticism and Marcus Paige.The key in this game to me is the ability of the bigs on North Carolina to cover Kaminsky on the perimeter.That is where he might hurt teams the most and UNC has the guys to slow his attack down.Paige is the type of player that can take over at any point and drop 25+.I like the way North Carolina has played over the last two or so weeks and grabbing 5.5 here with the dog should be the right move.The big question mark is how healthy is Meeks and will he be able to go.
Arizona comes into their matchup with Xavier laying 11 and torching teams along their path to the Sweet 16.I dont see anything Xavier will be able to do to change that on Thursday night.The Wildcat bigs should have a field day as they are just too athletic for Xavier.X hasnt really been pressed too hard in this tourney so far and there is nothing they can simulate to prepare for Sean Millers team.They have had a nice run and a good season, but all will come to an end this week.No value on either squad here, but laying the big number would be a lean.
A battle of ACC schools in the arena of an ACC school is a dream come true for the conference.North Carolina State toppled Villanova and now moves on to face the Cardinals of Louisville, who were able to keep Northern Iowa at arms length Sunday to secure their spot in the Sweet 16.The Wolfpack enter this matchup as 2.5 point underdogs.The line is very fair.NC State is probably the most unpredictable team left in the Tourney and depending on who shows up, they could win this game with ease; however, Louisvilles style could pose problems for them and the Wolfpack might not show as they need to against a young, overrated Pitino team.
Tom Izzo has his Michigan State Spartans back in the Sweet 16 and they now find themselves in the role of the hunted as a 2 point favorite against a very good and well balanced Oklahoma Sooner team.I thought from the beginning of the tournament that Oklahoma could win this region and I see no reason to change my mind.This is one of those classic cases of the wrong team is favored and there is a ton of value on Krugers Sooners.Dont forget to sprinkle a little on the Money Line as well.There is nothing that Michigan State will do that makes Oklahoma uncomfortable and the Sooners should be able to run their stuff with success.
In what might be the most anticipated matchup in the Sweet 16, Duke and Utah will faceoff on Friday night with the Blue Devils as 5 point favorites.Ive been a huge fan of this Utes team and I think the public will be shocked when they win outright, but it will be no surprise to sharp bettors that have followed this team all season long.They are strong at every position and should be able to slow down Okafor in the paint.Utah can score in a variety of ways which makes them very difficult to defend.Just as with Oklahoma, take the Utes on the spread and sprinkle a little on the Money Line.
UCLA has gone from barely making the field to now about to faceoff in the Sweet 16 against Gonzaga as an 8.5 point dog.The Bulldogs are a question mark in this Tourney.No one is really sure how good this team really is just yet.Not sure if well get our answer on Friday night.This is a strange matchup from a betting perspective and I think it would be best to leave this game alone and take notes on both teams to prep for the Elite 8.
The Sweet 16 and potential Elite 8 matchups bring great entertainment and betting value.With some strong edges to be had in a few of the games on Thursday and Friday, a bettor should have plenty of solid action this week.Good luck and keep cashing!
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