The headline speaks for itself here. One betting note for every team that plays on Thursday:
Michigan – Hottest Bet
The number: The Wolverines have won seven straight and are 6-1 ATS (against the spread) in those. Three of those wins came as underdogs and they haven’t seen a spread higher than 5 points – a great moneyline wager in addition to the spread.
The explanation: This may sound crazy but a terrifying plane mishap that saw their plane skid off the runway before the Big Ten tournament seems to have this team playing fearless basketball. Michigan is shooting the lights out at 49.1 percent or better in six of its last seven.
Oregon – Ducks Soaring OVER The Total
The number: Eight of the last nine Oregon games have played over the total.
The explanation: Oregon scores almost 80 points per game but lately their defense has had some problems. That’s because the team lost do-everything big man Chris Boucher. Oregon ranked second in the nation in blocks per game (6.5) before the injury and the Ducks are trying to figure things out on the fly. Total might not be high enough in the Sweet 16.
West Virginia – Coldest bet in the tourney
The number: WVU is 2-7-1 against the spread in its last 10 games.
The explanation: This is a lot of dropped cash for a team that went 8-2 straight up in its last 10. That’s not normal. It’s a sign of big expectations from the betting market and inflated numbers for this WVU team. This should be a truer number for WVU in the Sweet 16 against favored Gonzaga.
Gonzaga – Best Bet this season In sweet 16
The number: At 23-10-1 ATS, Gonzaga is the No. 2 bet in the country and the best bet left in the tournament.
The explanation: Gonzaga’s weak schedule and lack of national TV time left many in doubt of how good the Bulldogs were. They just kept covering numbers that probably should have been higher. But March brings a much broader audience and we’re now seeing inflated Gonzaga lines. The Dogs are 2-4-1 ATS in their last seven.
Purdue – Unfamiliar underdog
The number: The Boilermakers have been an underdog only three times this season before their Sweet 16 matchup with Kansas.
The explanation: They won the Big Ten regular-season title. It’s a good team that can score with a lot of different players. They were an underdog in their second game of the season vs Villanova (+2.5), Nov. 30 vs Louisville (+6.5) and were +1.5 against Michigan on Feb. 25. They lost and failed to cover in all three games.
Kansas – Best UNDER bet in tournament play
The number: The OVER/UNDER is 9-27 in Kansas NCAA tournament games going back to 1996. That’s the best UNDER rate of any team left in the tournament (75 percent).
The explanation: Kansas always has an offense that can score in bunches but Bill Self has taken this team on deep tournament runs before and knows you have to toughen up on D when it comes to tourney time. The first two Kansas games have played OVER but the 62 points the Jayhawks allowed against UC Davis were the fewest they’ve given up since Dec. 22.
Xavier – Best NCAA Tournament Bet
The number: Xavier is 19-4-1 ATS in the NCAA tournament going back to 1996.
The explanation: The Musketeers have had great coaching including their current HC Chris Mack. It’s this mid-major’s sixth trip to the Sweet 16 in the last 10 years. They aren’t afraid to take on the bigger schools and usually get good value.
Arizona – Best Moneyline Parlay Addition
The number: Arizona is 30-0 straight up in its last 30 games as a favorite.
The explanation: Arizona doesn’t have the strongest schedule so it’s been easier to beat those teams they’re favored big against. Only three other teams in the Sweet 16 have a weaker schedule this season according to KenPom ratings – Oregon, UCLA and Gonzaga.