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We discuss if the Owls will stay hot in our Florida Atlantic vs. Tennessee picks.
Johnell Davis #1 and Alijah Martin #15 of the Florida Atlantic Owls celebrate a play against the Fairleigh Dickinson Knights during the second-round game of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament on March 19. Dylan Buell/Getty Images/AFP

The second-lowest-seeded team remaining looks to continue its Cinderella run as the Florida Atlantic Owls face the Tennessee Volunteers with an Elite Eight berth on the line. Read on for our Florida Atlantic vs. Tennessee prediction based on the top NCAAB odds.

Florida Atlantic (33-3, 18-2 C-USA) has the nation's third-longest active winning streak at nine games. The Owls are in the Sweet 16 for the first time in school history, as they had never won an NCAA Tournament game before beating Memphis and Fairleigh Dickinson last weekend. 

Tennessee (25-10, 11-7 SEC) is playing on the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2019 when it lost to Purdue in the Sweet 16. The Volunteers are one of three SEC teams in the Sweet 16 (Alabama and Arkansas are the others) and is looking to avoid the dubious fate of losing to a lower seed for the fifth consecutive time in the NCAA Tournament.

Here is our best Florida Atlantic vs. Tennessee prediction (odds via BetMGM; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale).

Florida Atlantic vs. Tennessee odds

Florida Atlantic vs. Tennessee prediction

Florida Atlantic +5.5 (-105 via BetMGM) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Most Sweet 16 power rankings have Florida Atlantic rated 16th among all teams left in the tournament, even behind No. 15 seed Princeton. However, that's not giving Owls head coach Dusty May any credit for what a superb job he has done this year. 

Many will also point to experience as to why they're leaning towards Tennessee, as just one of FAU's top nine scorers is a senior. However, the Owls still entered the year ranked 24th in minutes continuity from last year's team. Thus, the experience factor is overrated, even if the Owls roster is not littered with seniors. 

Check out our March Madness best bets and expert picks for the Sweet 16

Tennessee is still a modest 3-2 straight up since losing starting point guard Zakai Zeigler to a season-ending knee injury. The Volunteers have 76 assists and 63 turnovers in five games without Zeigler, while the Owls showed extreme poise by committing just seven turnovers in the face of FDU's harassing full-court pressure. 

This is a confident four-star play as Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes has not performed well in a favorite role, going 16-26-1 against the spread as a favorite in the NCAA Tournament. In addition, in the last seven instances of a team seeded eighth or lower facing a non-top-three seed in the Sweet 16, the lower-seeded team is 7-0 ATS and 6-1 SU, per Chris Fallica of FOX Sports.

Tennessee likely swayed many bettors with its dominant 13-point victory over a red-hot Duke team in a standalone game on Saturday afternoon. However, we're going against the grain with a contrarian play on the underdog Owls, who may not yet have fully garnered the respect of bettors, given that they beat a No. 16 seed to earn their Sweet 16 berth. 

Check out our best March Madness odds and Wooden Award odds.

Florida Atlantic vs. Tennessee best odds

BetMGM (-105)


FAU backers have several sportsbooks offering +5.5 at standard juice, but the obvious place to shop is at BetMGM, who saves bettors some money at -105 odds. We'll take all the points we can get in a matchup that KenPom projects to finish 68-64. While FanDuel's +4.5 points may entice bettors at -104 odds, Caesars offers that same 4.5-point wager on the alternate spread for a much more enticing +102.

Florida Atlantic vs. Tennessee odds analysis

Tennessee opened as a consensus 5.5-point favorite, but any line movement has gone toward the underdogs since then. However, that is a case of reverse line movement, as early wagers are 2/1 in favor of the Volunteers.

The consensus opening total of 131.5 has held firm at most sportsbooks, except for FanDuel, which lowered to 131. The early betting splits justify that line freeze, as 51% of all wagers have backed the Under.

Florida Atlantic vs. Tennessee game info

  • Date: Thursday, March 23, 9 p.m. ET
  • TV: TBS
  • Location: Madison Square Garden, New York, NY

Florida Atlantic-Tennessee pick made 3/22/2023 at 6:15 a.m. ET.

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