March Madness Previews, Picks, and Predictions for the Sweet 16

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March Madness Previews, Picks, and Predictions for the Sweet 16
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We break down the March Madness Sweet 16 and give you betting advice on a sample of Sweet 16 games.

(5) Houston vs. (1) Arizona

  • South Region
  • AT&T Center, San Antonio
  • 8:59 p.m. ET, Thursday

This is the last game to be played on Thursday. The NCAA Tournament champion has been ranked in the Top-5 of the BPI rankings in many of the past seasons. Houston is ranked third in that category entering the tournament, but there is so much more to handicapping any game than just one single metric.

Arizona is the vastly better team and only they can defeat themselves in this matchup. Moreover, the public is insanely infatuated with Houston and makes the No.1-seed a contrarian bet, which is very rare to see even in the March Madness games.

The Under Tournament Betting System

The following NCAA betting system has earned a 104-56-3 Under record for 65% winning bets over the past 25 seasons.

The requirements are to bet the Under in a neutral court setting with one of the teams, Houston in this case, coming off three or more double-digit straight-up wins and is now facing an opponent after two consecutive games in which 155 or more points were scored.

Houston is 17-9 Under when facing an opponent with a winning record this season and 26-11-1 Under when playing against a winning record team in the second half in each of the past three seasons.

Arizona is 22-9-1 Under in road games off two no-covers where the team won outright as the favorite.

The First-Half Betting System

This NCAA basketball first-half betting system has produced a 54-20-3 Under record, good for 74% winning bets over the past 25 seasons.

The requirements are to bet the first half total that is between 65.5 and 70 points in game that is being played after game No. 15, featuring two teams that are both averaging between 32 and 36% 3-point shooting and have posted rebound differentials between -6 and +6 on the season.

Betting the first half Under in an NCAA Tournament game has produced a 301-199 Under record for 60% winning bets over the last five seasons.

Betting the first half Under with one of the teams having covered the spread in three or more consecutive games has produced a 96-56 record, good for 63% winning bets over the last five seasons.

I am betting the first-half Under

(15) Saint Peter’s vs. (3) Purdue

  • East Region
  • Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia
  • 7:09 p.m. ET, Friday

The first four days of the NCAA Tournament have been completed and that sound you hear in your hometown are all the resident’s brackets busting simultaneously from the Round of 64 and the Round of 32 games.

The underdogs came through again in those rounds, but now the time has come for many of those Cinderella teams to be greeted with reality.

North Carolina was installed as a 3.5-point favorite and manhandled Marquette on Thursday. The first five games on Thursday all were favorites that covered the spread, but then the underdogs went 7-4 against the spread the remainder of the day.

So, favorites went 9-7 against the spread Thursday. On Friday, the first four games saw the favorite win and cover the spread, but the Madness set in as nine of the next 12 games, the underdog covered the spread. For Friday, underdogs went 9-6-1 against the spread.

The feeling on both days was that the underdogs were winning everything and that was because many of them, like 15-seed Saint Peter’s, defeated No.2-seed Kentucky. Those monumental upsets are what make the NCAA Tournament unlike any other sporting event.

The Sweet 16 Gets Back to Reality

Saint Peter’s is a 15-seed up against a Big Ten Conference giant in Purdue, favored by 12.5 points. This game is scheduled to tip-off at the Wells Frago Center in Philadelphia at 7:09 p.m. ET Friday.

Taking some time to mine sports betting intelligence from my databases, we can see that the bet to make is on Purdue.

First, the public has fallen in love with Saint. Saint Peter’s accounts for 70% of the bets placed so far, and the line has not moved.

That’s because the ‘sharp’ money is on Purdue. This phenomenon alone is reason to consider backing Purdue, who was ranked No.1 in the nation earlier this season.

The Trends and Angles Look is Eye-Opening

Saint Peter’s has won nine consecutive games and covered the spread in all of them. They covered the first two games of this tournament by 42 points and there is a serious amount of regression hanging over them right now.

Purdue coach Matt Painter is an outstanding 92-70 against the spread as a double-digit favorite and is 8-3 against the spread when playing on a neutral court this season.

The Best Bet to Make

I like the Boilermakers in this matchup and can see them winning this game by 20 or more points. My predictive models are looking for Purdue to score 77 or more and have more free throws. In past games in which they met or exceeded these performance measures they have gone on to a 94-5 straight-up record and 63-19-6 against the spread mark, good for 77% winning bets over the past 10 seasons.

When this has occurred in games played in March, Purdue is 11-2 straight-up and 10-3 against the spread, including a 12-1 Over-Under record.

I like Purdue to cover the spread easily.

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John Ryan

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