March Madness Sweet 16 Best Bets

Last Updated: Mar 21, 2023

The second weekend of the NCAA Tournament is here, which means there’s more madness to unfold.

Your bracket is almost certainly busted, but there’s still more tournament ahead. It starts with the Sweet 16, with four games each night over Thursday and Friday.

The best part about betting on the tournament is there’s always a chance to turn things around.

With that in mind, here’s a look at the best bets for the Sweet 16.

All bets are current as of noon ET on Tuesday, March 21, and are courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook except where otherwise referenced.

March Madness Sweet 16 Best Bets

Traditionally, top seeds are in peril in the regional semifinals, which means favorites Houston and Alabama should look out.

Before reading about Pat’s CBB Round 2 Best Bets, track our top March Madness odds for every game:

A No. 1 seed has been bounced in the Sweet 16 in two of the past three seasons, including in 2022, when the Cougars and Arkansas each scored upsets in that round.

As always, lay points at your own risk since seeds are just a number when you reach the Sweet 16.

Consider using Ken Pomeroy’s rankings to help you assess March Madness odds.

UCLA vs Gonzaga: Over 145.5 Points (-110) • DraftKings Sportsbook

WAGER: 1 Unit

This is a clear matchup of conflicting styles. The Bulldogs rank No. 1 in points per game (87.3), while the Bruins are allowing only 60 points against, the sixth-best ranking in the nation.

But Gonzaga is giving up about 73 points per game, and there have been 150-plus points in each of its first two tournament games. The Bruins are scoring about 74 points per game this season, too, and will need to put up points to keep up with Gonzaga.

UCLA is averaging 58 points-against per game through its two tournament games but hasn’t yet seen an offense like Gonzaga’s. I’ve been saying all tournament the Bruins would miss Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year Jaylen Clark, who is out for the season with a torn Achilles, and it’s because of this matchup.

I think Gonzaga wins a high-scoring affair. But I’m more confident in the points than the winner.

Miami +7.5 (-110) vs Houston • DraftKings Sportsbook

WAGER: 1 Unit

The Hurricanes are flying way below the radar and have all tournament. Apparently, bookmakers and bettors alike have forgotten they were the co-ACC champs and have won 11 of their past 13 games based on the fact they were only a 1.5-point favorite vs Drake then an underdog in the second round against Indiana.

Read more NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 betting tips:

Miami averaged about 80 points per game through the regular season, and Houston can lock down teams, but I’m still anxious about the status of All-American guard Marcus Sasser. Sasser shined in Houston’s second-round win over Auburn but is still nursing a groin strain, which is a tough injury to recover from in short order.

Miami showed an ability to grind out its victory over Drake in the first round, and I think it can win the game outright. But I wouldn’t lay eight-plus points in any tournament game at this point, especially against a team I really like in Miami.

Kansas State Moneyline (+110) • DraftKings Sportsbook

Wager: 1 Unit

The Wildcats, like the Hurricanes, are being extraordinarily overlooked. K-State scored an upset win over Kentucky and has the third-longest odds to win the East region despite being the best remaining seed.

Michigan State is seeking its 11th Final Four in school history but ranks 208th in the nation in scoring offense. Its two best players, forward Joey Hauser and guard Tyson Walker, have produced, which means you can bet on the Wildcats to try and limit those players from scoring.

Kansas State’s best player, Keyontae Johnson, expended energy trying to defend Kentucky star Oscar Tshiebwe, but the Wildcats showcased their depth with scoring from Desi Sills and Nae’Qwan Tomlin. Plus, if Johnson isn’t scoring while defending Hauser, Markquis Nowell has scored 20-plus points in four of the Wildcats’ past seven games.

Look for K-State to claim a tight win over MSU in a game that may be decided in overtime.


Pat Pickens

Pat Pickens is a seasoned sportswriter who has covered pro sports since 2013 for various websites, including The New York Times,, Bleacher Report,, USA Today, the Associated Press and many others. His debut book, titled "The Whalers" about the history of the NHL's Hartford Whalers, was released in October 2021.

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