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Quick Hit Sweet 16 Betting Previews

The Sweet 16 matchups are set and the opening spreads are out. Below is a quick-hit betting preview for every matchup to get you started on your handicapping.  

South

Kansas -7 vs Maryland

Kansas has won 14 of its last 15 games and the Jayhawks are 10-3-2 against the spread in those games (two pushes due to no line) so they are absolutely on fire here. They're also 8-1 against the spread in their last nine games on a neutral court and that's ultimately what I think will be a problem for Maryland. The Terps are just more comfortable on their home floor this season and they score about seven fewer ppg on a neutral court than they do compared to their season average. Melo Trimble is a great player for Maryland but I don't think he will be enough for them.  

Villanova -4.5 vs. Miami

I think this will be one of the best matchups we'll see in the Sweet 16. Nova absolutely dominated Iowa in what was probably the most impressive beat down in the Round of 32. These two teams match up really well statistically but I think there will be two big keys here: Villanova is the much hotter 3-point shooting team right now, hitting over 46 percent in each of their first two games, and they are aggressive with steals which they turn into points in a hurry.

MidWest

Gonzaga -4.5 v Syracuse

Some might be surprised to see 10-seed Syracuse here but the Orange really got the best draw of any team left in the Sweet 16. They beat an unravelling Dayton team in their opening matchup and then got to play 15-seed Middle Tennessee in the next round after its upset over Michigan State. Gonzaga is a team I had identified as this year's Cinderella in an article I wrote last week and they are well coached, so I'm not shocked to see the Bulldogs here. 

Virginia -5 v Iowa State

The nation's best defense in Virginia plays the third-highest scoring team left in the tournament in Iowa State, which scores 82.1 ppg this season. The Cyclones surprised a few people by making it to the second weekend, but they're going to have to make every chance they get to beat Virginia, which allows fewer than 60 points per game. I'm a little surprised this line isn't higher as Virginia has been undervalued all season.  

WEST

Oregon -2 v Duke

These two teams play a similar style but Oregon is the hotter squad after winning the Pac 12 tournament and claiming the No. 1 seed in the West. We can expect this one to be a high-scoring contest — both teams average around 80 points per game but Duke's defense has completely fallen apart lately and that's why Oregon is slightly favored here. Duke is averaging almost 80 points against over its last five games and the Blue Devils will have to clean that up if they want to advance to the Elite 8.

Oklahoma -1.5 v Texas A&M

Two former conference rivals go at it here and they are similar in a few ways. Oklahoma is a little better on offense with a little more talent and A&M is a little better on defense and also a little more physical. I think Buddy Hield will be the difference maker here and the senior will likely be the player of the year for college hoops. Also a factor will be if A&M can get over an emotional letdown after their win over UNI, where they came back from 12 points down with 44 seconds to go.

EAST

Notre Dame -1 v Wisconsin

Both of these teams scraped out wins in their Round of 32 games on late-moment shots so they are both a little lucky to be here. Notre Dame won but failed to cover by a half-point as a 1.5-point fave and that's kind of been their NCAA story over the years. The Irish have the lowest ATS winning percentage of any team in the tournament in the last 20 years (lower than 40 percent) and they are also the biggest UNDER team in the last 20 years. 

North Carolina -5.5 v Indiana

These are the top two scoring teams left in the tournament and both average over 82 points per game so it could end up being one of those games where the last team with the ball wins. That said, oddsmakers often inflate totals a bit too much for UNC games and 14 of their last 19 games went UNDER the total. You've got the Big Ten regular season champ against the top team in the top conference in the country so this is set up to be an incredible game. Indiana is the much better 3-point shooting team this season (41.4% vs. 31.5%) so that gives them a good shot here.

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