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It’s time to look at day two of the Sweet 16. The big dogs in Gonzaga, Michigan, and Alabama have made it to the 3rd round. Along with cinderella stories in UCLA and Oregon. Where is the public putting their money? Are they tying it to the favorites or rooting for an underdog.
No. 5 Creighton vs. No. 1 Gonzaga (-13) – 2:10 p.m. ET
The Gonzaga Bulldogs are a juggernaut, and the public agrees as 71% of the bets are on Gonzaga’s spread. Gonzaga is favored at -13, and for a good reason. The Bulldogs have an average scoring margin of 23.7 points per game this year. They have the best offense in the country, according to Kenpom, with a 126.4 Adjusted Efficiency, to go along with their Effective FG%, which is 61%. Not only are they impressive on offense, but the Zags also have the 7th best defense with an 89.1 Adjusted Efficiency, and they held teams to 47.3 Effective FG%. Creighton’s offense has been betraying them as of late. The Bluejays have shot 43.9% from the field in their last 8 games. Gonzaga is going to look to blow Creighton away with their fast-paced offense. The Bulldogs finished 4th in the nation for adjusted tempo compared to the Bluejays, who finished 143rd. If Creighton wants to keep up with Gonzaga, they will need to get back to their 55.4% Effective FG%. I don’t see that happening, and I’m following the public.
The pick: Gonzaga -13
No. 4 Florida State vs. No. 1 Michigan (-2.5) – 5 p.m. ET
The Wolverines are the favorite here as they are lying -2.5 points, and the total is set at 143.5 points. The public is hoping for points in this game as 61% are on the over. In their last four games, Michigan has scored 78.7ppg, and Florida State has scored 71ppg. These are two teams with great offenses battling for a chance to make the Elite Eight. Michigan’s Adjusted Efficiency this year was 118.6, 8th in the nation, and they shot 55.2% for their Effective FG% 18th in the nation. There’s nothing worse than having an over, and in the last minute, it turns into a free throw competition, and you just need some free throws to seal your win. You don’t need to worry about Michigan’s free throws as they shot 78% from the charity stripe. Florida State has an impressive offense as well, with 115.6 Adjusted Efficiency 14th in the nation. The Seminoles will be looking to make this a high-paced game as they finished 89th in the nation for Adjusted Tempo. A higher pace equals more points. On the defensive side of the ball, both Florida State and Michigan are bad at defending the three. Michigan allowed 32.7% from deep 112th in the nation, and Florida State allowed 32.6% 105th. There will be 3’s raining all day as Michigan shot 38.5% from deep 11th in the nation, and Florida State shot 38.2% 16th in the nation. The combination of both team’s inability to defend the 3, being great at shooting from deep, both excellent offenses, and Florida State wanting to play a high tempo offense makes me want to follow the public.
The pick: Over 143.5 points
No. 11 UCLA vs. No. 2 Alabama (-6.5) – 7:15 p.m. ET
Alabama is the favorite as the line is -6.5. The public is backing Alabama as 66% of the bets are on the Crimson Tides spread. Alabama is a fantastic defensive team as they have 87.3 Adjusted Efficiency, 3rd in the nation. The Crimson Tide play incredibly fast as their adjusted tempo finished 11th in the nation. Alabama played a very weak schedule as their most challenging game this season was against Arkansas, where they went 1-1. In their last game against the Razorbacks, they lost 66-81. Alabama’s strength of schedule finished 39th in the nation compared to UCLA who’s strength of schedule finished 23rd. UCLA finished with a 116.1 Adjusted Efficiency 12th in the nation, and they shoot great from three 34.7% from deep 28th in the nation. UCLA was supposed to lose against Michigan State, and they have made it all of the way to the Sweet Sixteen. I’m fading the public as I see them keeping this close, and even though they might not win this game, they will cover the spread.
The pick: UCLA +6.5