It’s time for some Elite Eight action and we’ve got two games with hefty spreads. Should you ride the underdogs or take the favorites for Monday’s matchups? Here are the best bets for today.
Oregon State Beavers vs. Houston Cougars
Monday, March 29, 2021 – 7:15 PM EST at Lucas Oil Stadium
Oregon State is on one of the most historic runs of this decade after being picked last in the Pac-12 to start the season. The Beavers weren’t even an NCAA Tournament team until winning the Pac-12 Tournament, and they have now reached the Elite Eight as a 12 seed.
If you think Oregon State is hot, think again. Houston has won 10 straight games, easily winning their conference tournament, and has reached the Elite Eight playing all double-digit seeds. They’ll take on another double-digit seed to reach the Final Four.
Houston has played some incredible defense this season, holding opponents to a 42.9 percent effective field goal percentage. Teams are shooting just 29 percent from three and 42.6 percent inside. Both of those numbers are top 10 numbers.
On offense, the Cougars are second in the nation in offensive rebounding, and while they don’t shoot at the highest percentage, those second chances have been crucial down the stretch. Houston knocks down 35 percent of three’s and 49.8 percent inside but has limited turnovers to just 16.2 percent this season.
Oregon State defends the three well, holding opponents to 30.4 percent. But they haven’t looked great this season defending inside the arc, and many analysts have proclaimed, using data, that Oregon State is getting a bit lucky that shots aren’t falling against them.
When Does Luck Run Out?
Oregon State has lost some really bad games this season. One was against Portland, who fired their head coach after this season. This team does a lot of great things on offense, but they don’t shoot it at a high rate. They’re knocking down 35 percent from three and just 46.8 percent inside the arc. Either way, Oregon State should struggle to score against a Houston team that can keep any all-star in check with tight man-to-man defense.
The Beavers will likely get to the line more often and are the better foul shooting team, but Houston will likely force more turnovers and win the rebounding battle while shooting at a higher percentage with more high-quality shots.
Give me Houston at the best betting sites.
Arkansas Razorbacks vs. Baylor Bears
Monday, March 29, 2021 - 9:57 PM EST at Lucas Oil Stadium
Arkansas found a way against Oral Roberts to reach the Elite Eight, while Baylor has seemingly had no problems in the Tournament winning three games by double digits.
Baylor has won three straight games in the NCAA Tournament by double digits while not particularly shooting at a high percentage. The offense has been a bit worse for Baylor since their COVID absence, but if they find their stroke any time soon, Baylor could easily win the NCAA Tournament.
Baylor is shooting an effective field goal percentage of 56.6 percent and dominates the offensive glass. However, they don’t get to the line much. The Bears are shooting 40.8 percent from long range, a percentage that has gone down in the tournament. They’re also 53.7 percent from inside and just under 70 percent from the foul line. If games get close, that foul line percentage could be what knocks Baylor out of the tournament, although, again, they don’t get there that often to begin with.
Defensively, Baylor will force a high amount of turnovers. They’re producing turnovers once every four possessions this season which is third in the nation. The Bears will struggle on the defensive glass and allow teams to shoot 33.1 percent from three and 48.3 percent from inside.
If shots continue to rim out for this Baylor team, especially from three, the defense will need to pick it up a little bit more. The turnovers are really important for this team because their effective field goal percentage for opponents is 48.8 percent, 114th in the league.
Arkansas is a tricky match-up for Baylor. They’re a top 10 defense and kind of just do everything right on that end, although teams look to score quickly against Arkansas in terms of length of possession. The Razorbacks turn the ball over 20 percent of the time, which isn’t Baylor but still terrific. They’ve limited opponents to a 47.6 percent effective field goal percentage, and they have done better on the defensive glass than Baylor.
Arkansas hasn’t been great defending the three. Baylor should get high-quality looks in this game from distance. Knowing Baylor hasn’t played their best and has still won games convincingly is enough for me to ride them with my college basketball picks into the next round.
CBB Pick: Baylor -7.5 (-110) via BetOnline
*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.