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Kam Jones of the Marquette Golden Eagles dribbles the ball against Tae Davis of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during the first half at Fiserv Forum as we look at our NC State-Marquette prediction.
Kam Jones of the Marquette Golden Eagles dribbles the ball against Tae Davis of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during the first half at Fiserv Forum. Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images/AFP.

The underdog NC State Wolfpack look to keep their Cinderella story alive against the favored Marquette Golden Eagles in Friday's Sweet 16 of March Madness, as we offer our NC State vs. Marquette picks and best bet for the NCAA Tournament contest.

The No. 11 NC State Wolfpack, determined to continue their impressive performance, face the No. 2 Marquette Golden Eagles, who are favored by 6.5 points at our best sports betting sites, in a Friday's Sweet 16 clash. The much-awaited game kicks off at 7:09 p.m. ET at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.

As the sole remaining team in the NCAA Tournament seeded outside the top six, the Wolfpack face a challenging task to sustain their hopes against the formidable Golden Eagles in Raleigh. Having secured victories over Western Kentucky and Colorado in the initial rounds, Marquette emerges as one of the favorites in our March Madness odds and Final Four odds.

As part of our March Madness predictions, here are our best NC State vs. Marquette picks and best bets (odds via our best March Madness betting sites; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale).

For more Round 3 betting action, see our Sweet 16 expert picks, and our Sweet 16 player props and best bets.

NC State (11) vs. Marquette (2) game info & odds

  • When: Friday, March 29
  • Tip-off: 7:09 p.m. ET
  • Where: American Airlines Center, Dallas, Tex.
  • How to watch: CBS
  • Favorite: Marquette -6.5 (-110 via bet365)

NC State vs. Marquette prediction

Kam Jones Over 2.5 made 3-pointers ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Best odds: +100 via FanDuel

Only two teams left in the NCAA Tournament rank outside the top 50 in adjusted defensive efficiency, per KenPom. One is Illinois, which ranks first in adjusted offensive efficiency, and the other is NC State. The Wolfpack have had an inspiring run through the ACC Tournament and the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament, but it's clear they're an outlier in a Sweet 16 full of top-tier teams.

Marquette is poised to expose the Wolfpack's defense - which is 75th in adjusted efficiency - behind the play of guards Tyler Kolek and Kam Jones. While Kolek has received much praise for his stellar play throughout March Madness, Jones hasn't gotten nearly the same attention, but he's been just as important.

The 3-point sharpshooter has averaged 23 points per game in the NCAA Tournament thus far and has gone 9-for-20 from behind the arc (45%). That dominance from deep should continue against an NC State defense that allowed ACC opponents to shoot 36.2% from three and average 7.3 made 3-pointers per game. Jones is Marquette's best 3-point shooter and leads the team with 2.6 made threes per game on a team-best 41.4% from behind the arc. He's hit at least three 3-pointers in three straight games and in seven of his last 11.

That's why the even-money odds at FanDuel stand out, especially when his odds are as short as -130 at DraftKings. The -130 odds imply a probability of 56.52% that Jones hits at least three 3-pointers, according to our odds calculator, but our +100 odds would mean a $10 profit on a $10 bet. 

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NC State vs. Marquette spread & Over/Under analysis

Marquette opened as a 6.5-point favorite and there's been minimal line movement. The Golden Eagles are -6 to -6.5 at our best sports betting apps, but they could see some slight movement by tip. NC State is the lowest-seeded team left in the tournament, so it wouldn't be a surprise to see Marquette favored by as many as 7.5. Marquette is 21-14-1 ATS, while NC State is just 18-19-1.

With both these offenses averaging over 76 points per game, the game total opened at 150.5 and has since risen to 151.5. However, the Golden Eagles are just 15-21 betting the Over this season, partly because of their talented defense. But NC State is one of the top Over betting teams in the country at 23-14-1, which is why we could see this total rising to as high as 152.5.

NC State-Marquette prediction made Wednesday at 11:45 a.m. ET.

Here are our best March Madness betting sites:

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