With two of the Sweet 16 games being at the United Center in Chicago, right next to our Stadium offices, we’ll be bringing you content all day long on our social media accounts. Alexis Downie and Ben Wittenstein will be providing the coverage, so of course, they had to write up the best ways to bet the games.
Favorite Play Against the Spread
Ben: Miami -2.5. I was initially thinking Providence first-half spread, but after attending Jim Larranaga’s media availability, I’m ready to run through a wall for him, so the least I can do is run through the sportsbook wall to bet on his team. They face an Iowa State team that’s about as different from their style as you can be.
Miami’s offense is going to need to come full-force in Chicago, and guys like Kameron McGusty and Isaiah Wong will need to play some of their best basketball. It also wouldn’t hurt for hometown kid Charlie Moore to instill some Chicago magic. Ultimately, I think the offense will win out for the veteran Hurricanes.
Alexis: I gotta agree on Miami -2.5. The Hurricanes have covered the spread 57% of the time this season. That’s pretty good. You can attribute that to their high-powered offense and their ability to force turnovers. As for the Cyclones, they rely on their impressive defensive efficiency. I see Miami coming out hot, and like Ben said, Jim Larranaga was absolutely inspiring in his media availability — I’m in.
Favorite Totals Play
Ben: Providence-Kansas First-Half Under 66.5. There’s nothing like betting a first-half under of the first game at a new site. The rims are new, the environment is different, and the stakes are higher. Plus, Providence has been playing at one of the slowest paces in the nation since the tournament began. It should take a bit for these teams to feel each other out, so I’ll go with a lower-scoring half.
Alexis: Providence-Kansas Over 141.5. For a Providence team that is known to play well defensively, they’ve been impressive at putting up points in the tournament. They’re coming off a performance where they ousted Richmond by 28 points (Jayhawks have averaged 78 points per game this season). The production needs to come from across the board, but I see this being a high-scoring affair.
Best Plus-Odds Bet
Ben: Iowa State-Miami Total Under 130.5 Alt. Line +122. I’m not a big “Alt. Line Guy” but something like this seems enticing, as this game will most likely be ugly. Iowa State’s defense will take some time for Miami to figure out, while Iowa State’s offense isn’t anything to write home about. Let’s go a little crazy with the alternate lines and get some positive juice for it.
Alexis: Half Time/Final Winner = Providence/Kansas +500. Despite the slowness of Providence, I see them controlling the first half. They controlled the first half in their last two games, and this one will have double the pressure. If they can keep their composure and stick to their game plan, they’ll hang on. But, the second half will be all Jayhawks.
Best Bet to Make Final Four
Ben: Providence +600. This team is simply lucky. They lead the nation in KenPom’s Luck Index, so might as well put a little sprinkle on them to make the Final Four. Sure, the luck will run out at some point, but who’s to say it won’t continue against Kansas? I also don’t want to bet Kansas to make the Final Four at -190, and if Providence can get past Kansas, they should easily beat either Iowa State or Miami.
Alexis: Kansas -190. Who doesn’t love a favorite? Yes, I’m aware the line isn’t great, but I stand by it. This puts me at peace because I’ve picked entirely too many upsets this tournament that were wrong. Maybe I’m off here, but I think the experienced Kansas team makes it.