March Madness Betting: Best and Worst Sweet 16 Wagers
by George Monroy - 3/26/2014
The NCAA Tournament gave fans three rounds of ridiculously-exciting basketball games, close matchups and more upsets than anyone's bracket was equipped to handle. The short tournament break, however, will allow bettors a chance regroup and start all over after the opening rounds probably threw most people for a loop. With only 16 teams left in the tournament, bettors can focus on finding the best value over the next few days, as opposed to the volume betting opportunities that the first few rounds offered.
The Sweet 16 is set to resume on Thursday with the first four matchups of the tournament and then continue on Friday before the Elite Eight and Final Four over the next few days. Let's take a closer look at some of the good and bad bets left to make in the 2014 NCAA Tournament. All odds come from Sportsbook.ag
Good Bet: UCLA
The Bruins ended the regular season with a 23-12 ATS record and were a very good ATS team all season. The squad has covered five straight postseason games-conference and NCAA Tournaments-on the way to winning the Pac-12 title and advancing to the Sweet 16. UCLA's last three wins, and covers, before the start of the NCAA tournament were against Oregon, Stanford and Arizona.
Florida, on the other hand, has covered only one of its last three spreads, and it ended the regular season with a 17-14 overall ATS record. UCLA might not pull off the upset and advance in the tournament, but the squad has enough talent to keep the game close and cover the spread.
Bad Bet: Arizona
The Wildcats were a solid ATS team during the regular season, but they have managed to cover only one of their last three tournament games-the Pac 12 tournament included. The squad lost to UCLA in its conference championship game as a five-point favorite then headed into round-of-64 game as a 19.5 favorite and won by only nine.
The team did blow out Gonzaga by 23 in the next round, but it has struggled to cover spreads since its starting forward, Brandon Ashley, broke his leg in February. Arizona has a nine-point win over San Diego State earlier in the season that was much closer than the final score indicated, and it was really a back-door cover more than anything else.
Good Bet: Kentucky
Kentucky has not been a great ATS squad throughout the regular season and barely managed to post an above-.500 ATS record for the year. The team, however, has covered five straight spreads since the start of the conference tournaments and managed to beat Wichita State and play a close game against Florida during two of its last three matchups.
The Wildcats look like a team that is finally hitting its stride and will be an underdog once again during its matchup against Louisville on Friday. The last time these two teams played, early in the season, Kentucky managed to pull off a seven-point victory
Bad Bet: Baylor
Baylor ended the regular season with a 15-13-2 ATS record and struggled on the defensive end of the ball. The team was high-scoring, but it simply did not produce enough stops to cover spreads on a regular basis. The Bears have covered both of their tournament spreads, once as a 3.5-point favorite and once as a 3.5-point underdog. The squad, however, will now face a very good Wisconsin team on Thursday as an underdog once again, and it may struggle to score points against the 41st-ranked defense in the nation.
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