Pair of NCAA Tourney “Elite 8” Underdog Betting Values

Ross Benjamin

Saturday, March 25, 2017 4:45 PM UTC

Saturday, Mar. 25, 2017 4:45 PM UTC

Ross Benjamin shares his top 2 underdogs for this weekend’s “Elite 8” games. Not only is Ross supremely confident of covering both games, he wouldn’t be shocked in the least if both of these March Madness picks were straight up winners.

Xavier vs. Gonzaga

Saturday 3/25
6:09 PM ET

I’m going to be concentrating on a 1st half wager in this contest. Current March Madness odds at YouWager displays Gonzaga as a 4.5-point 1st half favorite.

There’s no questioning how great a job Chris Mack has done at Xavier. This will be the 4th time in 8 seasons that Xavier has at least reached the “Sweet 16” during Mack’s head coaching tenure, and the Musketeers made the NCAA Tournament in 7 of those 8 years. Nonetheless, this will be the first time the Musketeers have reached March Madness “Elite 8” status during that time frame, and Mack has his team on the cusp of a first ever “Final Four” appearance in school history.

Since the 2014 NCAA Tournament, Xavier is 7-0-1 ATS during the 1st half of games. That to me is a true indicator of coach Mack having his teams well prepared to play in these big games, and right from the opening tip. Furthermore, Xavier has played 15 non-conference games thus far, trailed at the half in just 4 of those contests, and their largest deficit was a mere 2-points.

Gonzaga hasn’t exactly been consistent in terms of putting together a full 40 minutes in any of its first 3 NCAA Tournament games. They’ve gone 1-2 ATS in 1st half action during those previously mentioned contests. As a matter of fact, Gonzaga’s lone 1st half cover came against Northwestern when they led by 18 at intermission, and then had to withstand a furious 2nd half rally to win by just 6.

I’m going with Xavier plus the points for a first half wager, and one of my March Madness picks will reflect that sentiment.

Free NCAAB Pick: Xavier +4.5 (1st Half)Best Line Offered: at YouWager

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Kentucky vs. North Carolina

Sunday 3/26
5:05 PM ET

Sometimes as a handicapper you need to just rely on the old fashion eye test, and especially so when we get this deep into the NCAA Tournament. Both teams looked outstanding during their March Madness “Sweet 16” wins over Butler and UCLA. However, I was extremely impressed with Kentucky’s freshmen guard tandem of De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk more than anything else. Fox has averaged 24.0 points per game in 3 NCAA Tournament contests, and that includes a 39-point explosion against UCLA on Friday. Meanwhile, Monk is averaging 15.7 points during those same 3 contests. It must be noted, Monk scored 47 against North Carolina earlier this season, and had 33-points or more on 4 separate occasions this year.

North Carolina is the best offensive rebounding team in the country hands down, and they rely heavily on that aspect of their game for success. Nevertheless, Kentucky is fully capable of neutralizing the Tar Heels in that area, and they’ll have an edge over North Carolina in the backcourt.

Free NCAAB Pick: Kentucky +2.5Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker

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