After an exciting Round of 32, March Madness is on to the Sweet 16. Kentucky, Baylor, and Tennessee have been knocked out of the tournament, and Arizona barely held on.
In this round, many title hopefuls will face their toughest tests yet. Below, I go over four games that I like for my Sweet 16 best bets.
Please note that all March Madness odds are current as of Monday, March 21, at 6 p.m. ET.
March Madness Sweet 16 Best Bets: Duke vs Texas Tech
Duke and Texas Tech appear to be evenly matched. For starters, they’re both top-3 seeds that played in strong conferences and lost their conference championship games.
Basketball Betting Play of the Day
Slam home your basketball bets with BetMGM’s welcome offer: New BetMGM Sportsbook customers can bet $10 to win $200 in free bets.
Make a $10 moneyline bet on any game. If either team makes a three-point basket, you’ll win!
🏀 NBA Bet $10, Win $200: .
Read Anthony Cervino’s hands-on BetMGM Sportsbook review to learn more.
🤔 Want a different BetMGM welcome offer? New users can instead get up to $1,000 risk-free with code GAMEDAY. 👇
The difference, however, is that TTU played in a much tougher conference, facing teams like Baylor, Texas, Kansas, Iowa State, and TCU. Duke, on the other hand, played in a conference where no one really challenged them.
When you account for tempo and opponents, the Red Raiders have the best adjusted defensive efficiency in the country, while the Blue Devils have the fourth-best adjusted offensive efficiency.
It’ll be close, but Texas Tech’s superior defense will prevail.
Duke vs Texas Tech Pick: Texas Tech 70, Duke 66
Best Bet: Texas Tech Moneyline (-114) at BetRivers, would bet up to -2
Wager: 2 Units
Getting Texas Tech at only -114 to beat Duke outright is a steal in my opinion. The Red Raiders have beaten Baylor (twice), Texas (twice), and Kansas, whereas the Blue Devils benefitted greatly from a cupcake schedule.
Texas Tech is well-prepared for this game and should win by multiple possessions, so consider taking them on an alternate spread bet as well to get better odds.
March Madness Sweet 16 Best Bets: Arizona vs Houston
According to KenPom, Houston and Arizona are the No. 2 and No. 3 teams in the country, behind only Gonzaga.
Their playing styles, however, could not be more different. Houston is a slow-tempo team with a strong defense, while Arizona is an up-tempo team with an explosive offense that can turn the switch on at any time.
WANT MORE MARCH MADNESS WEEK 16 BET TIPS?
Similar to Duke and Texas Tech, these two teams played wildly different schedules during the regular season as well. The Cougars come from the less imposing AAC, while the Wildcats play in the more powerful Pac-12.
After a close game against TCU where Arizona struggled against a formidable defense, I believe that Houston’s elite defense will finally put a dagger into the Wildcats’ 33-3 record.
Arizona vs Houston Pick: Houston 69, Arizona 65
Best Bet: Houston +2 (-105) at PointsBet, would bet up to Pick ‘Em
Wager: 1 Unit
I believe that Houston beats Arizona, so the question is should I take the spread or the moneyline?
For a slower-paced team with an outstanding defense, I believe that the spread has more value. After all, we could easily see a one-possession game where Houston either narrowly wins or loses by only one possession.
The Wildcats are going to give the Cougars a run for their money, but I have a hard time seeing how Houston doesn’t win after its convincing win over Illinois during the last round.
March Madness Sweet 16 Best Bets: UCLA vs North Carolina
UCLA vs UNC isn’t just a battle between which team has the sickest light blue uniform in college basketball (that battle has already been won by Columbia University).
No, what this game really comes down to is if the Tar Heels have unperformed for much of the season, or if they have been overperforming during the tournament.
- See how Kevin’s algorithms predict the rest of the NCAA Tournament with his March Madness Simulation.
During the regular season, North Carolina had a 24-9 record despite playing in the weakest of the top six college basketball conferences. UNC got off to a mediocre 12-6 start before finally turning things around, winning 14 of its last 17 games.
UCLA, on the other hand, has beaten two of the best teams in the country in Arizona and Villanova. Last year, the Bruins reached the Final Four with virtually the same roster.
UCLA is also incredibly well-rounded, ranking in the top 15 for both adjusted offense and adjusted defense on KenPom. The Bruins should easily beat the Tar Heels when they square off on Friday night.
UCLA vs North Carolina Pick: UCLA 75, North Carolina 68
Best Bet: UCLA -2 (-110) at Caesars, would bet up to -4
Wager: 2 Units
If we did a Cher and turned back time to a week ago, UCLA would be favored by at least five points against North Carolina. In my opinion, UNC upsetting Baylor in overtime after blowing a huge lead is not enough to make them only two-point underdogs.
The Bruins are clearly the better team and taking them as a one-possession favorite against the Tar Heels is one of my favorite Sweet 16 bets, making this our CBB bet of the day.
March Madness Sweet 16 Best Bets: Miami (FL) vs Iowa State
There’s a good chance that I will be dizzy on Friday night after the matchup between the Cyclones and the Hurricanes.
Both Iowa State and Miami are Cinderella teams with two impressive upsets during the tournament. Miami toppled USC and Auburn, while Iowa State took down LSU and Wisconsin.
Both teams are fluky, but Iowa State should be the favorite here. While the Hurricanes had the most impressive upset of the two against Auburn, the Cyclones played better during the regular season.
Miami’s strength is its offense, but ISU quietly has the fifth-best adjusted defensive efficiency in the country, making the Cyclones a good bet to sweep away the Hurricanes.
Miami (FL) vs Iowa State Pick: Iowa State 70, Miami 66
Best Bet: Iowa State +2.5 (-106) at BetRivers
Wager: 1 Unit
I have a hard time figuring out who will win between these two teams, which is why getting Iowa State as a 2.5-point underdog is a great bet to make.
Iowa State’s issue this year has been against AP Top 25 teams like Baylor, Kansas, Texas, or Texas Tech. Against teams outside of the Top 25 like Miami, however, the Cyclones almost always win.
With its strong defense coming in as a slight underdog on a neutral court, Iowa State is worth a wager here.