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March Madness Sweet 16 Best Bets: UConn vs San Diego State, Alabama vs North Carolina

Evaluating Sweet 16 opening lines
Jay Croucher and Drew Dinsick discuss the opening lines for multiple Sweet 16 matchups, including Illinois vs. Iowa State and Creighton vs. Tennessee.

Vaughn Dalzell breaks down the value in the Sweet 16 of March Madness after a hectic second round.

San Diego State vs UConn (-11.5): O/U 136.0

This is a repeat of the National Championship from a year ago and the spread and total have gone up.

UConn is the best team in the country and has shown what they’re capable of all season. For SDSU, they have 47% of minutes back from last year and are a defensive-oriented team once again, ranking 10th in defensive efficiency.

SDSU snuck by UAB in the first round, when they should have lost, then pummeled Yale in a great matchup for the Aztecs. UConn is not an ideal matchup with multiple NBA prospects, size, athleticism, and rank top 8 in both offensive and defensive efficiency.

One area that the Azetcs could keep this close is three-point shooting. The Huskies offense shot 3-of-22 (13.6%) from deep against Northwestern in the second round and SDSU ranks 23rd in three-point defense on the season (30.8%).

However, UConn has a great three-point defense too (31.3%, 40th) and SDSU struggled from deep against UAB (5-of-18, 27.8%) and turned the ball over 13 times.

I don’t see either team having much success from deep and having played each other in last year’s title game, I expect both teams to make adjustments to slow each other down. I played the Under 136 at -108 odds on DraftKings and would go down to 135.

Pick: Uconn vs San Diego State Under 136 (1u)

Alabama vs North Carolina (-4.5): O/U 173.5

Everyone on Alabama outside of Mark Sears went 3-of-20 from deep against Grand Canyon and UNC’s defense is no joke, so I look at the total here.

Wagner and Michigan State recorded 19 turnovers and 14 offensive rebounds against the Tar Heels, while UNC only turned the ball over five times vs MSU and nine times overall in two games.

Alabama’s Team Total of 85.5 or 84.5, is a high total for an underdog. In 11 losses, Alabam scored 82 or fewer points in seven of those. NC State is the only team to surpass 70 points on UNC dating back to Feb. 24 (10 games).

The Tide is ranked 245th in defensive rebounding percentage, so UNC can get offensive rebounds and second-chance points to take away possessions from Alabama. Neither team forces turnovers and ranks top six in offensive efficiency so there is no surprise the total is set at 173.5 points.

I will play Alabama’s Team Total Under 85.5 at -115 odds on FanDuel down to 84.5 on DraftKings. I like the game total Under 173.5 as well.

Pick: Alabama Team Total Under 85.5 (1u)

Season Record: 87-91 (48.8%) -9.43u

CBB Futures In My Pocket:

1u: Houston to win the National Championship (+700)
1u: Houston to make the Final Four (+140)
1u: UConn to make the Final Four (+110)
1u: Iowa State to make the Final Four (+550)
1u: Houston to make the Elite 8 (-128)
1u: Arizona to miss the Elite 8 (-132)

Bet the Edge is your source for the day in sports betting. Get all of Jay Croucher and Drew Dinsick’s insight weekdays at 6AM ET right here or wherever you get your podcasts.

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UConn Huskies
North Carolina Tar Heels
Alabama Crimson Tide
San Diego State Aztecs
College Basketball VaughnBW.jpg Vaughn Dalzell