NCAA Tournament Picks: Thursday's Sweet 16 Totals With Value

Mark Lathrop

Wednesday, March 23, 2016 10:52 PM UTC

Wednesday, Mar. 23, 2016 10:52 PM UTC

Our NCAA Basketball Handicapper is back with his Sweet 16 value O/U NCAA Basketball picks, as top teams match up in Thursday tournament action.

4 Duke vs. 1 Oregon (Over 74 1st Half)
It took 10 games for the Oregon Ducks (30-6) to finally have a game in which they won by less than 6 points, as the St. Joseph’s Hawks pressed Oregon to the limit in their second round NCAA Tournament game. The Ducks will have a much stiffer test this time around, as they match up with the 4th seeded Duke Blue Devils (25-10) in the Sweet 16. The NCAA Tournament odds portray a closely contested matchup, with the Ducks opening as just 3-point favorites at Bovada. The O/U total ranges from 156.5 to 157 depending on where you currently look.

To be honest, Duke should feel pretty lucky to even be in this game, as they let Yale hang around in their second round matchup and can thank the Bulldogs 4-23 shooting from 3-point range for their uninspiring 71-64 win. To their credit though, Duke still shot 46% from the field and an awesome 47.8% from behind the arc in that game. That shooting is pretty much the norm for the Blue Devils, as they average 46.1% from the field over the season and 38.7% from behind the arc in putting up 81.5 points per game.

Oregon will have to shoot better than they did against St. Joseph’s to hang around with Duke in this spot, and they shouldn’t have trouble doing it. Of course, one of the reasons for this assured improvement is just how bad they shot against the Hawks, coming in almost 7% below their FG% season average. We are looking for an average performance in this game, as the rested and more talented Oregon team should have no trouble scoring their 78.9 points per game against a Duke defense that gives up 75.5 points per game on the road.

Each team came into their 2nd round matchups with three straight totals going Over the consensus line, then both went Under in ugly games that were out of the norm. These teams are too good for that to happen to each again, and one should have a good offensive night at least. As far as the line is concerned, I like the value in the 1st half versus the entire game. The O/U for that is set at 73, which is well below the combined averages scored by each team in their last five games. In fact, defensively Duke has given up 39.6 points per game on average over the last five, so expect Oregon to try to take advantage and start off fast. Take Over 73 points in the 1st half at 5Dimes as one of your Sweet 16 NCAA Tournament picks.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Over 74 1st Half
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle


3 Miami (FL) vs. 2 Villanova (Under 140.5)
The Villanova Wildcats (31-5) got a small monkey off of their back by making it to the Sweet 16 for the first time in seven consecutive tries this last weekend, and now they have a date with the 3rd seeded Miami Hurricanes (27-7). Each team is coming off of impressive wins in the second round, although the Hurricanes had to hold off a comeback attempt by the Wichita State Shockers after being up by 21 points. Villanova has opened as a 4-point favorite in this game, while the O/U total is sitting at 140.5 across the board.

While some experts may look to Villanova’s recent hot shooting and talk you into taking the Over in this game, there are some issues at play here with Miami that leads me to believe taking the Under is the way to go. These are not statistical, but inspirational. Miami has never been to the Elite 8 before and this is a chance to get there. The Hurricanes have a chance to either come out cold shooting and tight, or with great defensive intensity – maybe both. Any one of those things would suppress scoring for a half or two in this game. This line has been moving from 142.5 to 140.5 early over at 5Dimes. Follow the early money and take Under 140.5 in this game as another Thursday NCAA Tournament pick.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Over 140
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

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