bet365 NCAA Tournament March Madness Odds, Preview: (March 24)

Who’s ready for some more college hoops?

March Madness continues on Friday night with day two of the Sweet 16 round. Bettors have four games to handicap and both of the remaining No. 1 seeds – Houston and Alabama – still remaining will be in action.

Let’s take a look at Friday’s slate of games and see what the odds and best bets are for all of the matchups.

TeamTeamDate/Time (ET)
(1) Alabama-7.5 (-110)o137 (-110)(5) San Diego St.March 24, 6:30 PM
(1) Houston-7 (-110)o138 (-110)(5) Miami-FloridaMarch 24, 7:15 PM
(6) Creighton-10 (-110)o139 (-110)(15) PrincetonMarch 24, 9:00 PM
(2) Texas-4 (-110)o149 (-110)(3) XavierMarch 24, 9:45 PM

(5) San Diego State vs (1) Alabama (-7.5, 137 o/u)

Time (ET): 6:30 PM
Odds to win tournament: San Diego State (+2000), Alabama (+375)

Previous tournament games:

Round of 64 – SDSU 63, USC Charleston 57 (Aztecs covered as 5-point favourites, teams played under 142-point total)
Round of 32 – SDSU 75, Furman 52 (Aztecs covered as 5.5-point favourites, teams played under 138-point total)

Round of 64 – Alabama 96, Texas A&M CC 75 (Crimson Tide didn’t cover as 25-point favourites, teams played over 154.5-point total)
Round of 32 – Alabama 73, Maryland 51 (Crimson Tide covered as 8-point favourites, teams played under 144-point total)

Despite the upsets in the first two rounds of the tournament, there are still a pair of one-seeds left. Alabama, the top seed across the entire tournament, is as formidable as it comes, with a top-five defence and top-20 offence to boast of. ‘Bama has cruised to this point, dominating offensively against Texas A&M CC and defensively against Maryland.

San Diego State, meanwhile, is perhaps most recognized for ending Furman’s run after its upset of four-seed Virginia. San Diego State isn’t one to sleep on, though, as it has a top-five KenPom defence to play with, holding opponents to just 32.1% shooting through the first two rounds.

Alabama may very well be the best team remaining in the tournament and San Diego State will have its work cut out to cover the spread in this one.

Betting stat to know: Alabama is holding its opponents to just 41% shooting from two, the lowest in the nation. The Crimson Tide offence can definitely get it done but the defence will be what drives the Tide into the Elite 8.

Best bet: With all due respect to what San Diego State has achieved, take the Tide to cover the 7.5 points for the win.

(5) Miami (FL) vs (1) Houston (-7.5, 138 o/u)

Time (ET): 7:15 PM
Odds to win tournament: Miami (FL) (+5000), Houston (+400)

Previous tournament games:

Round of 64 – Miami (FL) 63, Drake 56 (Hurricanes covered as 2-point favourites, teams played under 146-point total)
Round of 32 – Miami (FL) 85, Indiana 69 (Hurricanes covered as 2-point underdogs, teams played under 145.5-point total)

Round of 64 – Houston 63, Northern KY 52 (Cougars didn’t cover as 18-point favourites, teams played under 121.5-point total)
Round of 32 – Houston 81, Auburn 64 (Cougars covered as 5.5-point favourites, teams went over 131.5-point total)

As it relates to one-seeds left in the tournament, we come to the other one: Houston. Though Alabama may be the prohibitive favourite, Houston isn’t far behind. The Cougars are the top-ranked team according to KenPom and boast a top-10 offence and top-5 defence.

On the other side of the court, the Miami offence was far too much for Indiana to handle. Rebounding on the offensive end of the floor has been dominant, with the ‘Canes pulling down 29 offensive boards in their two tournament wins thus far.

Miami has had success offensively but that could very well change against one of the best defensive teams in the nation. Miami will need a great all-around performance to continue its run.

Betting stat to know: Houston’s defence is holding tournament opponents to 32% from the floor. The Cougars looked almost bored versus Northern Kentucky and dominated from start to finish against Auburn.

Best bet: Like Alabama, Houston is a dominant outfit that doesn’t have the flaws of the eliminated one-seeds. Take Houston to cover the 7.5 points.

Houston -7.5


Bet Now!

(15) Princeton vs (6) Creighton (-10, 140.5 o/u)

Time (ET): 9:00 PM
Odds to win tournament: Princeton (+20000), Creighton (+900)

Previous tournament games:

Round of 64 – Princeton 59, Arizona 55 (Tigers covered as 14.5-point underdogs, teams played under 154-point total)
Round of 32 – Princeton 78, Missouri 63 (Tigers covered as 6.5-point underdogs, teams played over 150-point total)

Round of 64 – Creighton 72, NC State 63 (Bluejays covered as 5.5-point favourites, teams played under 148.5-point total)
Round of 32 – Creighton 85, Baylor 76 (Bluejays covered as 1-point underdogs, teams went over 143-point total)

Creighton is the third favourite to win the entire tournament and part of it has to do with its path going forward. Creighton has quietly played very well so far, limiting the ability of opponents to distribute the ball and get a rhythm on offence.

The Princeton Tigers, meanwhile, are every bit the Cinderella story. They shocked two-seed Arizona in the Round of 64 before repeating their efforts against Missouri just a few days later. The key has been their rebounding, as they dominated Missouri 44-30 in the paint.

Once again, the Tigers will have an uphill battle if they hope to continue their unprecedented run. They are just the fourth 15-seed to make the Sweet 16, after all, and the first Ivy League team to make it this far since 2010.

Betting stat to know: Though Creighton doesn’t have the dominant shooting percentage numbers that other teams do, its defence has been sound. The Bluejays have held each opponent to single-digit totals in assists so far.

Best bet: Creighton’s defence is tougher than most realize and it feels like the rebounding dominance of Princeton will come to an end. For Princeton’s team point total, take under 65.5 to the bank.

(3) Xavier vs (2) Texas (-4, 148.5 o/u)

Time (ET): 9:45 PM
Odds to win tournament: Xavier (+3000), Texas (+1200)

Previous tournament games:

Round of 64 – Xavier 72, Kennesaw St 67 (Musketeers didn’t cover as 12-point favourites, teams played under 152.5-point total)
Round of 32 – Xavier 84, Pitt 73 (Musketeers covered as 5.5-favourites, teams went over 151.5-point total)

Round of 64 – Texas 81, Colgate 61 (Longhorns covered as 13-point favourites, teams played under 150.5-point total)
Round of 32 – Texas 71, Penn State 66 (Longhorns did not cover as 5.5-point favourites, teams went played under 140-point total)

These are two of the more interesting teams in the tournament, both with dangerous offences that don’t necessarily jump off the page at you. Both teams controlled their Round of 32 matchups comfortably to make it to this point.

Texas has been shooting the lights out thus far, which begs the question of whether it can keep control if the shots aren’t falling. Xavier is all about ball distribution, averaging 19 assists per game, tops in the nation.

Betting stat to know: Texas is shooting 52.1% so far in tournament play. If the Longhorns continue shooting the lights out, it’ll be tough for Xavier to pull off a win.

Best bet: In the four games the two teams have played, only one over has been produced. The over/under of 148.5 is relatively high and both teams will likely keep things tight late. Take the under and watch the drama unfold.