NCAA Tournament Odds: Texas Tech, Villanova Lead Sweet 16 Best Bets

Villanova's efficiency should be too much vs. Michigan


It’s onto the Sweet 16 in this year’s NCAA Tournament.

When the field shortens from 64 to 16 teams, it gets much tougher to find bets with big edges. The lines tighten up quite a bit and professional bettors tend to balance out both ends of the ledger. For example, I spoke to one wise guy who laid Kansas -7 and another who took Providence +7.5.

I wouldn’t bet that game with your money.

After winning 7 of 10 bets across opening weekend, my betting card is noticeably shorter in the Sweet 16. That’s because I can easily make a case for both sides in most of these matchups. And I refuse to fire a wager on a tightly-lined college basketball game if I don’t love the handicap.

Here are my three best bets for this round of the NCAA Tournament:

Texas Tech -115 vs. Duke (Thursday)
Texas Tech is a defensive juggernaut that ranks No. 1 in the country in efficiency, according to Ken Pomeroy. The Red Raiders make life hell on opposing offenses because they’re stout against twos (44%) and threes (31%) and they body up all the way out to the perimeter. Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski has lots of talent, sure, but only one upperclassman plays big minutes and experience becomes more and more crucial the further you go in the Big Dance. I’m betting against Duke’s young studs being able to drill contested shots all night long. And I’m way too ready for Mike Krzyzewski’s career to come to a close in San Francisco.

Villanova -5 vs. Michigan (Thursday)
Jay Wright’s ball club boasts one of the most well-rounded and efficient offensive attacks we’ve seen in decades. Villanova is on pace to be college basketball’s best free-throw shooting time of all-time (83%) and the Wildcats rarely make mistakes. They limit turnovers, make smart decisions and knock down open shots. It’s a beautiful thing to watch when this offense finds its rhythm. The Wolverines get full credit for making it this far in the NCAA Tournament, but come on. Everything that Michigan does well, Villanova does it better. And this has a chance to be a coaching clinic for Wright against Juwan Howard.

Villanova +250 to make Final Four
The best price in the American betting market is +250 at BetMGM and FanDuel. Villanova is a 5-point favorite over Michigan, which implies almost a 70% chance of probability. Odds are very good that the Wildcats advance to face the winner of Arizona-Houston. Both of those teams are solid, but only one can advance. Villanova would likely be a 1-point underdog against Arizona and a small favorite against Houston. So if Nova does its job and beats Michigan, you’re in the regional final with a +250 ticket in your back pocket on a coin-flip game. Not too shabby.

Sam’s Sweet 16 best bets
Texas Tech -115
Villanova -5
Villanova +250 to make Final Four

RECORD: (103-101, +8.7)

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