Four Underdogs with Big Chances to Make the Elite 8

South Carolina Gamecocks players celebrating

Kevin Stott

Wednesday, March 22, 2017 12:56 PM GMT

The Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament started innocently enough but surviving the first weekend was even too much for the mighty ACC and defending champs Villanova, creating a wide open field now where even one of the longshots could win four straight games. Let’s make some Sweet Sixteen picks, looking at four very live underdogs still dancing in March Madness.

West Virginia vs. Gonzaga

The thought here with this first West Regional Sweet Sixteen matchup is that if West Virginia is going to be in it, they’ll probably win it outright. This is a tough matchup for Gonzaga (22-9 ATS) despite the friendly California site as playing in the Big 12 has hardened the Mountaineers more that the Zags schedule, who with Wooden Award-candidate Nigel Williams-Goss have had a dream season despite the BYU burp.

But the Trends are scary for the underdog here and show West Virginia is 1-9-1 ATS L11 on a neutral site as an Underdog, 0-4 ATS L4 March Madness games with Gonzaga 8-3 ATS L11 vs. the Big 12. West Virginia match up fairly well against the top seed in this battle between two solid Head Coaches in Bob Huggins and Mark Few.

 

Free NCAAB Pick: West Virginia Moneyline +150Best Line offered: at WagerWeb

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Xavier vs. Arizona

The logic here is simple: Why not back the best ATS team in March Madness since 1993 ATS—Xavier at 23-4-1 (85.2%)—and try to squeeze 8 points out the line, even if it means waiting or buying a hook (half-point)? Xavier is suddenly the Big Dance’s biggest underdog now, with a potential AZ-GONZ-FLA-NC path from hell, but 400/1 is insane for what we have seen and Trevon Bluiett (18.5 ppg) and upstart Xavier can beat all of these teams. Asking a team to go 4-0 down the biggest stretch without their best player—PG Edmond Sumner—is a lot, but covering, or maybe even winning here is not although history has taught us this where the Musketeers (17-4 ATS L21 Neutral Site) usually buy the Buick. Still, back the swordsmen and make it +8 if possible.

 

Free NCAAB Pick: Xavier +7½ -108Best Line offered: at 5Dimes

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North Carolina vs. Butler

Overall NCAA Tournament favorite North Carolina meets perennial underdogs Butler in this exciting South Regional Sweet Sixteen matchup. And if you don’t think the hardwood-smart Bulldogs can win this Tournament, remember that Butler (47.9% FG) beat defending national champs two times this season, dominating the Wildcats in both Indianapolis and Philadelphia. And Joel Berry II and the ACC’s Tar Heels were really lucky to escape with a win against Arkansas in the Round of 32. Getting Kelan Martin (16.0 ppg), Andrew Chrabascz (11.1 ppg) and Butler at 50/1with a potential KENT-KAN-GONZ path to follow an upset here seems worth the Futures wager as well as grabbing the passel fill o' points here.

 

Free NCAAB Pick: Butler +7½Best Line offered: at 5Dimes

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South Carolina vs. Baylor

South Carolina is the second-biggest odds underdog with 16 strange teams left, but nobody could ask for a better opponent in this round than Baylor which doesn’t have a great amount of late-round tourney experience. The Bears (7-9 ATS in NCAA Tournament L20 years) are athletic, but so are the Gamecocks (3-9 ATS L12 overall) and the SEC representatives, who beat Marquette and Duke to get here, could win this outright. The Trends for this first Sweet Sixteen Eastern Regional from MSG Friday show South Carolina 7-3-1 ATS L10 neutral site games and the Underdog 6-0 ATS L6 meetings, but best buy the half up to 4 to try to be safe.

 

Free NCAAB Pick: South Carolina +3½ -105Best Line offered: at 5Dimes

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