A pair of giant slayers look to continue their runs in March Madness this week, starting with the South Carolina Gamecocks who make their first-ever appearance in the Sweet 16 against the Baylor Bears as 3.5-point betting underdogs at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
No. 7 South Carolina pulled off a shocking upset on Sunday by knocking off the tournament favorite Duke Blue Devils 88-81 as 6.5-point underdogs but enter Friday night’s matchup at Madison Square Garden as distant +5000 longshots on the national championship odds.
A +1600 bet to claim its first-ever national championship, No. 3 Baylor is unbeaten straight up in its past three meetings with the Gamecocks, going 2-1 against the spread.
In Friday’s other East Region contest, Wisconsin will be looking to follow up its stunning 65-62 win over the defending national champion Villanova Wildcats when it takes on No. 4 Florida as a 1.5-point underdog.
A solid 9-3 SU in their past 12 dates with SEC opponents, the No. 8 Badgers have reached the Final Four in two of the past three years and sport intriguing +1800 odds to end their 76-year national championship drought. Florida put on a defensive clinic in Saturday’s 65-39 rout of No. 5 Virginia and is undefeated SU in seven straight games when favored by fewer than two points.
In West Region action, No. 11 Xavier looks to continue its unlikely March Madness run on Thursday as 7-point underdogs against No. 2 Arizona.
The Musketeers have covered in six straight contests, but the Wildcats ride a six-game SU and ATS unbeaten streak and enjoy an impressive 30-0 SU run when favored by seven points or more, fueling their rise on the national championship odds to +650.
No. 1 North Carolina enters the Sweet 16 as the last Atlantic Coast Conference squad standing among the nine to qualify for this year’s tournament, and will take on No. 4 Butler as 7-point favorites.
The Tar Heels are an impressive 10-1 SU in their past 11 Sweet 16 appearances, but a middling 6-5 ATS in their past 11 tournament contests when favored by six or more points. The Bulldogs are 7-1 ATS in their past eight games as underdogs, and are unbeaten SU and ATS in two previous meetings with the Tar Heels.
Midwest Region top seed Kansas sits atop the national championship odds at +475, and battles No. 4 Purdue on Thursday as 5-point chalk, while No. 7 Michigan tangles with No. 3 Oregon as a 1.5-point favorite. As well, No. 1 Gonzaga faces No. 4 West Virginia as a 3-point favorite, while No. 3 UCLA battles No. 2 Kentucky as a narrow 1-point favorite.
Thumbnail photo via Bob Donnan/USA TODAY Sports Images
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