After a largely uneventful first round of the NCAA Tournament, the second round was highlighted by several close games and upsets The second weekend of March Madness 2017 could be more eventful if the Sweet 16 betting lines are any indication.
With eight games on the schedule for Thursday and Friday night, five feature point spreads of three points or less. Three favorites are laying less than two points, including two teams on the schedule that are facing a higher seed.
No.7 Michigan is favored in the first game of the Sweet 16, even though they are facing No.3 Oregon. The Ducks lost six fewer games before the NCAA Tournament, but Michigan might be the nation’s hottest team. The Wolverines have won seven straight games, including the Big Ten Championship and Sunday’s upset victory over No.2 Louisville.
No.3 UCLA is also favored over a higher seed, though No.2 Kentucky had a similar regular season to the Bruins. UCLA suffered four losses while playing in the relatively weak Pac-12, while the Wildcats lost five games on their way to winning the SEC.
UCLA vs. Kentucky is the biggest game on the Sweet 16 schedule, featuring arguably the top two programs in college basketball history. The Bruins and Wildcats are two of the most exciting teams left in the field, and Friday’s contest features the third round’s highest over/under.
UCLA and Kentucky play in the South region, which is easily the most star-studded. The winner will likely go on to play No.1 North Carolina in the Elite Eight. The Tar Heels are the biggest favorites in the Sweet 16, taking on No.4 Butler Friday night.
The East region is in stark contrast to the South. The No.1 and No.2 seeds have been eliminated with defending champion Villanova and Duke losing in the Round of 32. The region’s Sweet 16 contests feature the two lowest game totals on the schedule. No.4 Florida is a slight favorite against No.8 Wisconsin after limiting No.5 Virginia to just 39 points in a second-round victory.
Below are the available betting lines for all Sweet 16 games, including the point spreads and over/unders. These are the consensus odds from multiple sportsbooks in Las Vegas, via OddsShark.
Thursday, March 23
No.7 Michigan (-1.5) vs. No.3 Oregon, 147
No.4 West Virginia (+3) vs. No.1 Gonzaga, 147.5
No.4 Purdue (+5) vs. No.1 Kansas, 156.5
No.11 Xavier (+7.5) vs. No.2 Arizona, 144.5
Friday, March 24
No.4 Butler (+7.5) vs. No.1 North Carolina, 153
No.7 South Carolina (+3.5) vs. No.3 Baylor, 137
No.3 UCLA (-1) vs. No.2 Kentucky, 168
No.8 Wisconsin (+1.5) vs. No.4 Florida, 131.5