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Betting Against the Spread: Best Bets for NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 Games


We are down to 16 teams in this year’s NCAA Tournament and the fun has really just begun. Let's be honest, this is exactly what the Selection Committee wanted when the members set up the field. They get their upsets in the first round or so, but when you get down to it, the power names are still around. I'm going to give you my thoughts on each game that's left even if I don't have a lean on it.

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Record: 5-1 (first round only)

Thursday, March 24

Miami vs. Villanova (7:10 p.m. ET, CBS)

College Football Top 25: Miami

Villanova is playing some good basketball right now and the Wildcats finally got the monkey off their back by making it into the second weekend. The problem was that they really didn't play anyone of note, beating UNC Asheville and Iowa. The Hawkeyes moved on after an awful no-call on Adam Woodbury against Temple. Now the Cats get Miami, who I really like because of the Hurricanes’ veteran players, solid inside play and good coaching. Jim Larranaga is 1000x better then Jay Wright and with extra time to prepare, I like the Canes in this one. They could have folded up shop after Wichita State came back, but they didn't. Nova is just 17-17 ATS all year long. SELECTION: Miami +4.5

Texas A&M vs. Oklahoma (7:37 p.m. ET, TBS)

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Two old friends face off in this one. Buddy Hield put the Sooners on his back last round to lead them past VCU. They also were buoyed by a home crowd in Oklahoma City. This game features a ton of veteran guards and just enough inside play to make either team dangerous. I've never been a big believer in the Aggies this season. That said, I don't know how much I love OU either. LEAN: Oklahoma ML (just a lean though)

Maryland vs. Kansas (9:40 p.m. ET, CBS)

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I said it in my preview article for this game, but I'll say it here too: Maryland is damn good. The Terrapins were picked to be atop the polls in the preseason and they are finally coming together. If Jake Layman can keep it up, then Maryland wins this one outright. Go read my article for the full preview. SELECTION: Maryland +6.5

Duke vs. Oregon (10:07 p.m. ET, TBS)

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As a guy who enjoys Duke fans’ misery and pain, I hate to say it, but it may not come this round. We all tried to find the most vulnerable No. 1 seed and many thought it was Virginia when Michigan State was still around. Oregon is athletic, no doubt, and the Ducks are deep, which Duke isn't. The Blue Devils outlasted UNC Wilmington, which tried to outrun them in the first round and then the team out of the ACC beat Yale. With the extra time to prepare, I'll take Coach K over Dana Altman, who is no slouch either. SELECTION: Duke +3

Friday, March 25

Iowa State vs. Virginia (7:10 p.m. ET, CBS)

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That big sigh of relief came from Charlottesville when the Cavaliers didn't have to see Michigan State in its way. Now they've got an Iowa State team that represents the best chance for the Hoos not to make it to the Final Four. I'll admit that I've tried to fade the Cyclones at every turn this Tournament, but they've come through each time. Iowa State plays just seven or eight guys, but that group is really good. Georges Niang could present some problems for Virginia, which struggles at times with shooters with size. The problem will be finding someone to slow Malcolm Brogdon down. I don't really love anything in this game. LEAN: Iowa State +5 (not a huge lean though)

Wisconsin vs. Notre Dame (7:27 p.m. ET, TBS)

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Raise your hand if you had this matchup on your bracket. Wisconsin just turns it on in the postseason no matter how good the Badgers were in conference play. Notre Dame got very lucky that Stephen F. Austin played so poorly in the end. I really don't have a good feel in this one either although when in doubt, lean ACC in this Tournament as the conference continues to roll. LEAN: Notre Dame -1

Gonzaga vs. Syracuse (9:40 p.m. ET, CBS)

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Right up front, I'll admit I'm a Syracuse alum and I couldn't be more stunned at how well the Orange have played these last two games. The defense has been on point and they are getting offense from Trevor Cooney, which has been like getting blood from a stone. Gonzaga wasn't the favorite this year and it's seemingly made a difference. The big question will be if the Zags’ guards can get the offense going against the 2-3 zone as the Orange will try and pack the middle to stop Domantas Sabonis. I'm only going to go lean status here as I haven’t been able to get a grip on my Orange all year long. LEAN: Syracuse +4.5

Indiana vs. North Carolina (9:57 p.m. ET, TBS)

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The final game of the Sweet 16 is the best one and the one that will most likely feature the most NBA players. There's no doubt that the Tar Heels are the most talented team in the country when they want to be. They steamrolled Providence last time out and if Marcus Paige keeps this up, they'll be cutting down the nets. Indiana crushed Chattanooga and then beat Kentucky to get here and that's no slouch either. The Hoosiers have been underdogs just six times all year going 4-2 ATS. North Carolina, on the other hand, is 16-17 ATS as a favorite and 16-19 ATS overall. I'm going to side with Indiana in this one and hope that the sometimes sketchy Heels show up. SELECTION: Indiana +6

— Written by Matt Josephs, who is a part of the Athlon Sports Contributor Network. Follow him on Twitter @MidMajorMatt.