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We went 1-1 yesterday with our fade or follow picks. Houston's defense showed up as the under hit, and Arkansas was so close to covering the spread. The public went 1-1 as I faded the public for both of my picks. We are doing the opposite today as I love what the public is picking. Backing the public is always risky. The books know everything, and they need the public to be wrong so they can keep making the big bucks.
No 6. USC vs. No 1. Gonzaga (-8.5) - 7:15 p.m. ET
The public loves Gonzaga's spread as 66% of bets are on the Bulldogs, and for a good reason. As we've talked about before, Gonzaga is a juggernaut. In their last 5 games, the Bulldogs have won by an average of 20.8 ppg. According to Kenpom, Gonzaga has the best offensive Adjusted Efficiency and the 7th best Adjusted Efficiency on defense. They play at a blistering speed as they finished 6th in Adjusted Tempo. The Bulldogs are looking to be the first team since the 1975 Hoosiers to go undefeated in the regular season and win the national championship. Or will they be more like 2013-2014 Wichita State and 2014-2015 Kentucky and not win the entire dance? USC is Gonzaga's most significant threat so far this season. The Trojans finished the year 14th in the nation in Adjusted Efficiency on offense and 4th in defense. USC's defense only allowed 41.5% from 2, and on the other end, Gonzaga finished with the best 2P%, shooting 63.9%. The Trojans also played a more demanding schedule as they finished 24th in their strength of schedule compared to the Bulldogs, who finished 86th. On paper, USC's spread of +8.5 is too much, but sometimes you can crunch all of the numbers, and it doesn't matter. That is what the public also thinks. I'm following the public with my pick.
The pick: Gonzaga -8.5
No 11. UCLA vs. No 1. Michigan (-6.5) - 9:57 p.m. ET
The public loves Michigan here as 63% of bets are on the Wolverines spread. We will not be looking at the spread. Instead, we will be looking at the over-under, which is set at 135.5 points. The public is rooting for points as 70% of the bets are on the over, and for a good reason. UCLA's overs have gone 3-2 in their last five games. UCLA has scored an average of 88 ppg in its last five, and Michigan has averaged 78 ppg. Michigan is an excellent offensive team as they finished 7th in the nation for Adjusted Efficiency. The Wolverines shoot great from the field as their Effective FG% was 55.1%, 17th in the nation, and 11th in the nation from deep as they shot 38.3%. The Bruins are also a great shooting team as they finished 34th in the nation from deep with 37.2% of their threes going in. I'm not a fan of betting overs, especially in big games. The nerves of advancing through the tournament seem to equal fewer points as the unders have gone 7-3 in the last ten tournament games. It'll level back out as the books want a .500 record and not have one side of the totals be inflated. With overs, you always have the hope of overtime, and the Bruins have gone into extra time twice in their last five games. This is why I'm following the public with this bet.
The pick: Over 135.5 points