Basketball

Bleacher Fan’s Full Guide To Betting The Sweet 16

If you happened to tail Bleacher Fan’s picks in the first round, then you already know, we fucking killed it. We went 18-8-2 in the 28 games we picked. Seriously, go take a look. Check the dates, the scores all you want. No bullshit here. No pricetag. Just straight quality winners all for free to the Bleacher Fan Faithful. All we ask in return is your continued trust and faith. Take away the two pushes’ and overall that’s a 69.2% winning percentage. We made a $100 bettor at standard -110 odds $910! So yeah, you’re welcome. If you weren’t one of the smart, lucky ones who did happen to tail Bleacher Fan then hopefully you’ve learned your lesson and listen up on our Sweet 16 picks. So let’s get to it.

Michigan – Oregon

Line: Michigan -1

Keep this plane rolling… too soon? Michigan finally looks like the team everyone thought they would be at the beginning of the year. Derrick Walton finally has gotten his head out of his ass and looks like the star he was supposed to become. It’s unfortunate it took a near death experience for the team to come out of its slumber. Nevertheless here we are.  John Belien has these kids playing smart, quick, high intensity, defensive-minded basketball. They look unbeatable, as if they have nothing to lose. Oregon, though here in the sweet 16, hasn’t exactly dominated in their two outings. Oregon had to hit a last second three to give them the victory over URI. A solid win, but they didn’t exactly turn heads with the performance. March is all about momentum and there is no team in the nation with more momentum than the Michigan Wolverines. Pick: Michigan -1

 

West Virginia – Gonzaga

Line: Gonzaga -3

West Virginia has looked great so far. The Mountaineers press is what we like here. Gonzaga struggled against Northwesters press and defense, which isn’t as good as West Virginia’s. They caused 13 turnovers in the second round game against Gonzaga. West Virginia could very well make it 16-18. That amount of turnovers Gonzaga won’t overcome. Javon Carter is another key, he is a strong dominant defender and scorer, the lifeblood of the West Virginia team. when he’s firing on all cylinders, so is the team. Well, He’s been on fire through the first two rounds and we see it continuing here against the Zags. Pick: West Virginia +3

 

Purdue – Kansas

Line: Kansas -5

Purdue has the advantage on the inside. Caleb Swanigan is the best big man in the country and sorry but 5th year senior Langdon Lucas probably can’t stop him. But does a dominant inside work if Kansas can control the fast break and perimeter game. Frank Mason and Josh Jackson are on a tear, snapping necks and cashing checks, they’re still picking up the pieces from Michigan State the other day. If Kansas can limit turnovers and control the pace of the game, I see them running away with it. If Isaac Haas or Caleb Swanigan can be a force on the defensive perimeter for Purdue then that gives them a much better shot at controlling the pace and ultimately the game. In the end, we think Kansas’ experience carries them through and covers as Josh Jackson and Frank Mason continue their dominant farewell tour. Pick: Kansas -5

 

Xavier – Arizona

Line: Arizona -7.5

Simply put Xavier is the worst team left in the tournament. Arizona is one of the best and they’ve been playing like it. Xavier is 8-7 ATS on the road or neutral site. Arizona is 11-2 in those same situations. Lauri Markkanen is going to have a clear dominant mismatch. Alonzo Trier is probably the most underrated player in the country right now and will be a huge mismatch with Xavier missing point guard Edmond Sumner. Arizona has the physicality and Sean Miller has the coaching to end Xavier’s run. Arizona is quietly one of the favorites left to cut down the nets. Expect Xavier to hold on for a little while, but Zona eventually busts this one open. Pick: Arizona -7.5

 

Kentucky – UCLA

Line: UCLA -1

This game is set to be the best of the tournament so far. Definitely the most star power and talent between any two teams we’ve seen to this point. Both teams have looked solid so far. Kentucky has had a slightly more challenging road going through Witchita State in one of the best games so far of this year’s tournament. Lonzo Ball and D’Aaron Fox is the key matchup in this one. Ball is probably the best overall player in the nation, most definitely in the tournament. While Fox is one of the nation’s premier defensive point guards. relying on his quickness and length. Fox’s defense and ability to limit Lonzo Ball will ultimately decide this game. Lonzo doesn’t need to score to win though. Fox will have to limit his ability to distribute as well. Bam will have to be able to control TJ Leaf down low. In the end, we think  Lonzo Ball, the best player on the floor will give UCLA the edge in a game we expect to be the best game of the tournament. Pick: UCLA -1

 

Wisconsin – Florida

Line: Florida -2

This is another game similar to Michigan in terms of momentum. Wisconsin is the most talented 8 seed in the tournament. They should have probably been a 5 or 6 seed. They have looked great through the first two games, including upsetting the number one overall seed and defending champion Vilanova Wildcats in their second round game. With senior leader Nigel Hayes, who won a championship two ears ago, Wisconsin is poised to continue their run against a Florida team that is probably less talented than them. So basically what you’re telling me is Wisconsin has ALL the momentum, is more talented, has proven championship experience AND you’re getting 2 points?! Yeah, give me the fucking Badgers and the points. Pick: Wisconsin +2

 

Butler – UNC

Line: UNC-7.5

Butler has basically cruised thus far, winning by 9 and 12, however, they played Winthrop and Middle Tennessee State. The easiest path by far of any of the sweet 16 teams, so let’s not get cocky over there Butler. Many people are hesitant with this spread after UNC blew a 17 point lead to Arkansas, but I think it’s very favorable. Butler won’t be able to overcome this, the Tar Heels are first in the NCAA with 43.6 rebounds per game while Butler is only 313th at 32.3.  That difference is absurd, 11.3 per game, UNC will be playing with a vengeance after letting their foot off the gas. UNC will get offensive boards led by Isiah Hicks and Kennedy Meeks and beat up the smaller Butler team. Justin Jackson and Joel Berry should be able to make enough big shots for them to cruise to a 10-14 point victory. Pick: UNC-7.5 

 

South Carolina – Baylor

Line: Baylor -3.5

This is a surprising matchup to many, obviously with Sout Carolina and their huge upset over Duke. Also too many thought SMU would play in this game, not Baylor, but they were ousted in the first round by USC. Regardless this game is set to be a close one. The two stars in this game are Sindarius Thornwell for South Carolina and Jonathan Motley for Baylor. Thornwell was the SEC player of the year averaging over 21 points and 7 rebounds per game. He combining for 53 total points in their first two games and has put South Carolina back on the map. Motley for Baylor is a long athletic forward who can shoot the 3 and is a near 20-10 player. Baylor utilizes their length with a zone that can cause problems for teams. South Carolina is streaky as you saw in the Duke game, they only shoot 41.8 percent from the field. This will play into Baylor’s hands, remember they were a top five team for a while. Pick: Baylor -3.5

 

Those are our picks. We like them a lot and judging by our record so far in this tournament, you should too. Unless you’re one of those “I don’t care about making money” people. Then kindly continue on with your life. Good luck to all of the Bleacher Fan Faithful who tails along. Let’s get that paper!

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