March Madness Sweet 16 Preview: Picks, Storylines, and Key Matchups for the Weekend

March 25, 2021by Lobo Grande0
BasketballBest BetsCollege BasketballFeatured

March Madness Sweet 16 Preview: Picks, Storylines, and Key Matchups for the Weekend

NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 Preview: Sweet 16 Map

970x90 BetMGM Sportsbook - Article - Risk-Free Bet $600

Is anyone else going crazy without college basketball or is it just me? It’s very tough going from four straight days of action to basically nothing at all. Did I bet on the women’s tournament last night? It’s possible. Anyway, we’re onto the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament and have a great weekend of action ahead of us. Let’s preview this thing!

The Current Odds

Here’s a look at the most current odds for who will win the whole thing, according to FanDuel:

NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen: NCAA Tournament Winner 2020-2021 - Odds from FanDuel

Listen, it’s tough to pick against Gonzaga right now. I get it. BUT how many times have we seen these amazing teams not come through and win the six straight games. No matter how good you are, it’s not an easy feat.

That being said, there’s some value here with us having such a heavy favorite on the board. Personally, my strategy is to pick someone on the other side of the bracket. They wouldn’t have to face the Zags until the title game, and I think there are some solid options.

Baylor is of course a team I’d bet on with confidence right now. Not necessarily confident they’ll win the whole thing, but at +400, I think that’s good value for a team that could go toe-to-toe with anyone. Houston is also an interesting one at 9/1, but I’m really talking myself into a small gamble on Loyola Chicago.

If you take a look at their path, it isn’t that crazy. Of course, there are no easy games in the NCAA Tournament, but they were underseeded in my opinion in the first place, and now get a Sweet Sixteen date with Oregon State where they are favored by seven. If they can win that game, their odds should drop to somewhere around the 10-12/1 range. Worth a shot at 16/1 right now.

This Weekends’ Matchups

The party starts on Saturday afternoon and rolls into late Sunday evening. Sadly, gone are the days of overlapping games and little black score squares on the top rights of our screens, but we should be in store for some better competition, at least one would think.

Looking at the spreads for Saturday’s games, the lowest one is currently sitting at 6.5. There are only two games that have spreads under 3, both on Sunday. I can’t remember a time there were so many lopsided spreads in the second weekend.

Anyway, that means some crazy stuff will probably go down, so buckle up. A few games I’m looking at are:

Oregon State Beavers @ Loyola Ramblers: Loyola -7 (-109)

I touched on them a bit earlier so most likely not a surprise, but I like the Ramblers here giving 7. They are the best defensive team in the country based on opponents' points per game. Yes, you read that correctly.

They proved that they could play their style of basketball against anyone they want when they whooped up on Illinois last weekend. Oregon State has had a nice run, but I think it ends early on Saturday when they run into this defensive force. Selfishly, I want to see Loyola Chicago and Houston both win their games and face off in the Elite 8. The #1 and #2 defense sound like basketball nerd heaven to me. Sign me up!

William Hill RF500 - 728x90

UCLA Bruins @ Alabama Crimson Tide: Alabama -6.5 (-115)

Alabama is weirdly still underrated. I’m not sure if it’s because people don’t take them seriously because they think it’s a football school, or they just haven’t watched them? I’m not really sure. But Alabama is absolutely for real, and they are hot hot hot right now.

Coming off a win against Maryland where they scored 96 points, their offense is clicking coming into this matchup, and I don’t see UCLA slowing them down. No knock on UCLA, who made ACU look like a JV team in round two, I just think Alabama is really a 1-seed disguised as a 2-seed and have a chance to make a run here. If they were on the other side of the bracket, I’d be rolling with them to win it all. I might place a small bet on that anyway.

Games I Have Circled

I will of course be glued to my TV watching basketball all weekend, but there are always a few games you’re looking forward to more than others. For me, this weekend I’m looking at:

Syracuse Orange @ Houston Cougars

Buddy Boeheim and Syracuse have been must-watch TV as of late. They annoy you with their zone and bomb threes on the other end. If you haven’t had a chance to watch Boeheim, I suggest you do it this weekend. He’ll have a very tough test against one of the countries best defensive teams, and I’m curious to see if he can rise to the occasion and will Syracuse to a win.

Florida State Seminoles @ Michigan Wolverines

This has the potential to be the best game of the weekend. With just a 2.5-point spread, this 1-seed vs. 4-seed matchup should be one worth watching. Florida State has looked great so far in Indy, cruising to two easy victories. Michigan had a tough test against LSU in their last game but managed to take care of business like they always seem to do. I have Michigan on upset watch here, and I wouldn’t be shocked if this one came down to the last few possessions.

Oregon Ducks @ USC Trojans

Not a game I necessarily thought I’d be writing about, but I’m not mad about it. The Pac-12 has shown up with something to prove in this tournament. And I’m excited to see these conference rivals clash in an unexpected matchup by many. This game also features a potential top-5 pick with Evan Mobley of USC. He’s an enjoyable player to watch given his high basketball IQ and massive wingspan.

I’ll be back this weekend with a few smart money picks for the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.

970x90 - PointsBet: March Madness - Bet $20, Get $150 in Free Bets

Leave a Reply

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