Sweet 16 Odds: March Madness Thursday Night Betting Guide

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Written By Derek Wagner | Last Updated
sweet 16 odds

March Madness odds roll on as bettors sink their teeth into Sweet 16 bets, and we have four excellent matchups tipping off Thursday night. Below, I’ll outline my thoughts on tonight’s college basketball schedule and dig into my best bets for these Sweet 16 odds. Residents in North Carolina can also register for North Carolina sportsbook promos. These offers dish out up to $2,700 in bonus bets when you sign up today.

No. 6 Clemson Vs. No. 2 Arizona

  • Related: Eli’s Sweet 16 Regression Candidates Include Arizona Odds

First up on our Sweet 16 odds are the Clemson Tigers, who are two wins away from a Final Four appearance and cashing a longshot Final Four ticket made by a member of TheLines.com staff.

This is a tough matchup for Arizona, as the Wildcats rank ninth in the nation in near proximity attempts per 100 possessions (per Haslametrics), but Clemson defends those interior shots really well. The Tigers rank third in near-proximity FG% defense. Thus, Arizona doesn’t have the massive edge here as they had against Dayton in the second round. The Wildcats were 15 of 21 on shots at the rim against the undersized and undermanned Flyers. This is a tougher matchup for them, specifically if Hall can avoid foul trouble.

Arizona is 84th in free throw rate – attempting more than 23 per game. Clemson really struggles to defend without fouling, committing more than 16 per game. They committed 20 against New Mexico and 21 against Baylor. The Tigers were very fortunate to have escaped against Baylor with that win since Baylor shot only 61% from the line.

Tempo Is Key

Dictating tempo will be key in this matchup. Arizona is 16th in adjusted tempo whereas Clemson wants to slow the game down as they rank 257th in adjusted tempo. If you can limit possessions for the Wildcats like Clemson is capable of, this one should be tight. Arizona wants to play these games in the high 80s whereas Clemson would much rather play this in the low 70s. Tommy Lloyd’s squad has struggled in games like this, losing twice Washington state who slowed the pace down and once to Oregon, who was also was able to dictate tempo.

I bet Clemson + 7.5 on Monday evening. The best available number is currently Clemson .

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No. 4 Alabama Vs. No. 1 North Carolina

Tide Defensive Woes to Continue?

Alabama has been a putrid defense all season long, ranking 101st in adjusted defensive efficiency. Its glaring weaknesses are that they don’t force turnovers, ranking 277th in turnover percentage, and the Tide allows a lot of second-chance points, 12.9 per contest, which ranks in the third percentile (per CBB analytics).

Bama also failed to defend the rim well this season since it lost Charles Bediako and Noah Clowney. The Tide ranked in the 100th percentile in field goal percentage at the rim a season ago, compared to this year where they rank in the 55th percentile.

Since Nate Oats’ squad crashes the offensive boards, they are also vulnerable in transition, where Alabama allowed 10 fast-break points per contest, putting them in the 35th percentile (per CBB analytics). Its transition defense was particularly an issue in the loss to Tennesse earlier this month and in their loss to Auburn in February, where the Tigers leaked out for an eye-popping 26 transition points.

Tar Heels to Thrive In Transition & On Neutral Court?

Enter North Carolina, who ranks 41st in adjusted tempo and thrives in transition with RJ Davis pacing their attack. If UNC is able to keep Alabama off the glass with Bacot, they should be able to leak out for a plethora of fastbreak buckets. On the flip side, the Tar Heels transition defense is fantastic, allowing a mere 5.6 fastbreak points per game (per CBB analytics). They should be able to stifle the up-tempo Bama offense and limit transition points.

Alabama has also been quite lackluster on the road this season. According to Haslametric, the Tide ranks 349th in the away-from-home metric. The big culprit here being its three-point shooting doesn’t travel well. On the season, Oats’ squad shot 39.2% from deep at home, compared to a measly 34.2% on the road and in neutral settings. This could certainly come into play against a Tar Heel defense that holds opponents to only 31.7% from the perimeter; however, TheLines.com’s lead college basketball writer Eli Hershkovich also noted in his UNC betting preview that the Tar Heels allow a lot of open looks from outside.

It’s worth noting that the Tide haven’t fared well against top-20 offenses this season, sporting a straight-up record of just 3-7. In those games, they’re also 3-7 ATS, with one of those covers coming by the hook on Jan. 24th against Auburn.

I bet UNC Sunday evening at -3.5. The best available line is currently UNC .

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No. 5 San diego state vs. No. 1 uconn

Jumping in front of the freight train that is the UConn Huskies is simply unappealing at this point. Especially with the game being played in Boston, just 90 minutes away from the UConn campus. As a result, we can expect the Huskies are going to have a large turnout for this one to make it feel like a home game.

Perhaps the Huskies scuffle out of the gate like they did against Providence and against St. John’s when Rick Pitino’s squad held a 27-22 lead in the first half, at which point I would jump on UConn in live betting.

I have concerns that the height of this UConn team will simply be too much for the Aztecs for the full 40 minutes, especially if Donovan Clingan can limit star big man Jaedon LeDee.

It’s worth noting that during last year’s run to the championship, Dan Hurley’s Huskies won all six of their tournament games by double digits and have followed that up this year by winning their first two games over Stetson and Northwestern by a combined 56 points. Betting San Diego State at a pre-game number is terrifying.

Haslametrics projects a final score of 73.6 – 63.7, favoring UConn on a neutral. If we expect this to be more of a home court environment, Haslametrics projects a final score of 75.2 – 62.1 on a home court for UConn. The answer may be somewhere in between those projections.

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No. 3 Illinois vs. NO. 2 Iowa State

I wrote up a separate post with an in-depth breakdown of this late-night tip-off to round out Thurdsay’s Sweet 16 odds. Here is my Illinois vs. Iowa State betting guide.

Best of luck betting on Sweet 16 odds and Elite 8 odds this weekend!

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