Take Oklahoma -1.5 With Your NCAA Tournament Picks vs. Texas A&M

Jason Lake

Tuesday, March 22, 2016 12:35 PM UTC

Tuesday, Mar. 22, 2016 12:35 PM UTC

The NCAA Basketball odds say it should be a very close Sweet Sixteen matchup this Thursday night between the No. 3 Texas A&M Aggies and the No. 2 Oklahoma Sooners.

Jason's 2015-16 record as of Mar. 21: 24-16 ATS, 1-4 Totals

You won't find too many Texas A&M Aggies fans who are unhappy their team failed to beat the spread during the second round of March Madness. They're probably still on Cloud Nine after the No. 3 Aggies made the greatest last-minute comeback in the history of Division I basketball, erasing a 12-point deficit against the No. 11 Northern Iowa Panthers (+7) in regulation before winning 92-88 in overtime.

The No. 2 Oklahoma Sooners weren't in nearly as much danger against the No. 10 VCU Rams during their second-round matchup. But after going into the dressing room up 13 at the half, Oklahoma still had to come from behind to beat VCU 85-81 as a 6-point chalk. This sets up what should be an amazing Sweet Sixteen tilt Thursday night (7:37 p.m. ET, TBS) between the Sooners and the Aggies. Oklahoma is laying two points on the NCAA Tournament odds board as we go to press, with a total of 145 points for those who like totals.


Riding Into the Sunset
Now that we're no longer dealing with obvious fade and follow candidates, we're going to need even more guidance from the hoop scientists to help us find where the betting value lies. Here's what they're projecting, lovingly converted to kayfabe point spreads by our crack staff here at the home office:

FiveThirtyEight (Elo): Oklahoma –3.5 to –4
Sports-Reference (SRS): Oklahoma –1.37

This game is taking place at the Pond in Anaheim, so no home-court advantage for the Sooners this time. We've got a fairly significant difference of opinion here; S-R thinks Oklahoma (27-7 SU, 12-20 ATS) is just a shade better than Texas A&M (28-8 SU, 16-13-2 ATS) on a neutral court, based on their respective performances thus far. Ken Pomeroy's efficiency charts, which hew more closely to FiveThirtyEight's math, think a bit more highly of the Sooners at No. 7 overall (No. 14 offense, No. 18 defense) and a bit less of the Aggies at No. 18 (No. 32 offense, No. 11 defense).

So apparently we're supposed to consider the Sooners for our official NCAA Tournament pick. That awful ATS record doesn't do a lot for us, but there isn't anything particular in this matchup that makes us want to bet the total. We'll bit the bullet, though, and recommend OU for a suitably small wager. The Aggies might not have any emotional juice left in the tank after that crazy comeback win. Our consensus reports show over two-third of early bettors taking Oklahoma, so that's encouraging. And the Sooners are available at –1.5 at select locations for this NCAA Tournament game as we go to press. Let's get these wagons in a circle.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Oklahoma -1.5
Best Line Offered: at The Greek

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