Underdog Value is on Defense with Kansas State and Texas A&M

Charles Stark

Thursday, March 22, 2018 12:46 PM UTC

Thursday, Mar. 22, 2018 12:46 PM UTC

Defensive-minded Kansas State takes on surging Kentucky, while Texas A&M is a small underdog versus Michigan in Sweet 16 action tonight. Will the favorites start to act like favorites, or will we see more upsets?

NCAA Tournament: Thursday's Underdog ValuesNo. 9 Kansas State vs. No. 5 KentuckySouth Region, Tonight, 9:35 ET, Atlanta (CBS)Free NCAAB Pick: Kansas State +5.5Best Line Offered: Intertops

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Kentucky has looked really good in the tournament and they are a solid -5.5 favorite over Kansas State on the college basketball odds board. In this battle of Wildcats versus Wildcats, it comes down to how these two teams match up, so with my NCAAB picks I will take Kansas State plus the points. Kansas State does not go at a very fast clip, averaging just 54.4 attempts per game to rank outside the top 300 teams. Still, they are very efficient shooting at a respectable 47 percent, especially in the interior where they average 54.3 percent on two-point shots. Mainly, though, this will come down to the defenses, and both teams play tough on that side of the ball. Kentucky has been extremely good, allowing opponents to shoot less than 30 percent from distance and 40.5 percent overall, ranking them second and 16th in the country, respectively. However, Kansas State should match this as they allow opponents to shoot 32.7 percent and 42.3 percent in those categories. Ultimately for me, I look for Kansas State to go at a really slow pace and thus keep this game pretty tight.

No. 7 Texas A&M vs. No. 3 MichiganWest Region, Tonight, 7:35 ET, Los Angeles (TBS)Free NCAAB Pick: Texas A&M +2.5Best Line Offered: Intertops

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The college basketball odds board came out with Texas A&M a small +2.5 underdog, and in my NCAAB picks I will take the Aggies plus the points. As far as common opponents are concerned, both teams have faced LSU, Penn State, and North Carolina this season. Texas A&M lost to LSU twice, and Michigan lost in their one matchup. Both teams beat Penn State decently, but Texas A&M throttled North Carolina, while Michigan lost by 15 in November. For me, outside of common opponents, it really comes down to the defense on Texas A&M’s side. The Aggies are allowing opponents to shoot just 40.2 percent overall and 31.9 percent from distance. Although Michigan has played some really good basketball this past month, I think this a very difficult matchup for them on both sides of the ball. Along with being a stout defensive team, Texas A&M is shooting a respectable 46 percent overall and comes in with a lot of confidence after handling the Tar Heels. Michigan has not lost since early February and has looked great over the past two months, but tonight things will get difficult for them and I like for Texas A&M to actually win this game straight up.

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Check out SBR’s college basketball odds page for updated lines. Also, head over to the March Madness Betting Headquarters for vital handicapping information, picks, and a list of the best sports books and live betting options for the tournament season.

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