The first weekend of March Madness featured a lot of upsets and games that were decided in the final seconds. After one No.1 seed and two No.2 seeds failed to reach the Sweet 16, the next round of the 2015 NCAA Tournament is expected to see a few more teams lose to higher-seeded opponents.
After two No.3 seeds were upset in the first few hours of the tournament, the two remaining No.3 seeds are both underdogs to No.7 seeds. Notre Dame opened as a favorite against Wichita State, but the betting line has since swung three points in favor of the Shockers. Michigan State has been favored over Oklahoma all week, having beaten No.2-seeded Virginia in the Round of 32.
Kentucky remains the heavy favorite to win the national championship, and they are considered the most likely team to advance to the Elite Eight. The Wildcats are giving 13.5 points to West Virginia, who last defeated No.4-seeded Maryland. In addition to winning their first 36 games of the season, Kentucky has won 11 of their last 12 contests by at least 13 points.
No.11-seeded UCLA is the only double-digit seed that is left in the tournament. The Bruins advanced beyond the Round of 64 by winning on a controversial goal-tending call, and they topped No.14 UAB in their last game. But things will get tougher in the Sweet 16 when they play Gonzaga. The Bulldogs were one of the most dominant teams last weekend, winning their two games by a combined 29 points.
Gonzaga vs. UCLA could be the highest-scoring affair on the Sweet Sixteen schedule, since it’s been given the largest over/under of the eight games. Louisville vs. NC State has the round’s lowest over/under at 130 points. The Cardinals are favored to move on to the Elite Eight, and they’ve allowed just 108 total points in two tournament games.
Below are the Las Vegas point spreads and over/unders for Thursday and Friday’s Sweet 16 games, as well as picks against the spread for each contest.
No.1 Kentucky (-13.5) vs. No.5 West Virginia, 136.5
Prediction ATS: Kentucky
No.3 Notre Dame (+2) vs. No.7 Wichita State, 137
Prediction ATS: Notre Dame
No.2 Arizona (-10.5) vs. No.6 Xavier, 135.5
Prediction ATS: Arizona
No.1 Wisconsin (-6) vs. No.4 North Carolina, 144
Prediction ATS: North Carolina
No.4 Louisville (-3) vs. No.8 NC State, 130
Prediction ATS: Louisville
No.3 Oklahoma (+2) vs. No.7 Michigan State, 134.5
Prediction ATS: Michigan State
No.2 Gonzaga (-8.5) vs. No.11 UCLA, 145
Prediction ATS: UCLA
No.1 Duke (-5.5) vs. No.5 Utah, 135
Prediction ATS: Duke