#Betting101: Sweet 16 Preview

villanova basketball

Jason Lake

Monday, March 19, 2018 11:58 AM GMT

Monday, Mar. 19, 2018 11:58 AM GMT

The Arizona Wildcats are out. So are the Michigan State Spartans. Who else is there left to fade for our March Madness picks? Maybe anyone who’s playing Villanova.

We told them it was a very bad idea. Despite all their issues, the No. 4 Arizona Wildcats and the No. 3 Michigan State Spartans were the hottest commodities on the March Madness betting market. Arizona (–8.5) fell 89-68 to the No. 13 Buffalo Bulls in the First Round. Michigan State (–14.5) squeaked past the No. 14 Bucknell Bison 82-78, then were eliminated by the No. 11 Syracuse Orange in the Second Round, losing 55-53 as 10-point favorites.

Now that we don’t have the Wildcats or Spartans to kick around, what are we supposed to do for the Sweet 16? We can’t even fade the eminently fadeable No. 1 Xavier Musketeers; they were bounced 75-70 by the No. 9 Florida State Seminoles (+5.5) in the Second Round. We’ll have to take a different tack for our next batch of March Madness picks.

'Nova Heart

The NCAAB odds for who will win the tournament are off the board at press time, as the bookmakers crunch the numbers between rounds. But we do have updated projections from the friendly hoop nerds at FiveThirtyEight. Not surprisingly, they have the No. 1 Villanova Wildcats (32-4 SU, 24-12 ATS) as the most likeliest winner at 22 percent. Villanova has been grossly undervalued in the past – has the betting market finally accepted it as a championship program?

We’ll see how the odds shake out, but let’s be prepared to follow the Wildcats if the price it right. They’ll play the No. 5 West Virginia Mountaineers (26-10 SU, 17-15 ATS) on Friday, tipping off at 7:27 p.m. Eastern on TBS. FiveThirtyEight gives West Virginia a 6 percent chance of winning the Tournament. Ken Pomeroy has Villanova on top of his efficiency stats, with the Mountaineers in 12th.

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It must get awfully heavy for Villanova, having to carry the Big East on its back.
People wonder why Jay Wright gets treated like a king by the league. This is why.

— Jerry Carino (@NJHoopsHaven) March 19, 2018
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If there is any big-name team left worth fading, it’s probably the No. 1 Kansas Jayhawks (29-7 SU, 19-15-1 ATS), or maybe the No. 5 Kentucky Wildcats (26-10 SU, 19-17 ATS). Each team is given an 11 percent chance of winning the tournament, which says more about their brackets than how good they are. Kentucky could reach the Final Four without playing anyone seeded better than the No. 9 Kansas State Wildcats (24-11 SU, 15-17 ATS), who will face UK in the Sweet 16 Thursday at 9:37 p.m. on CBS. Mark that down as a game of interest on your sports betting calendar. And as always, may the sphere be with you.

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