NCAAM Sweet 16 Underdogs: Dark Horses to Survive and Advance

NCAAM Sweet 16 Underdogs: Dark Horses to Survive and Advance

Every year, the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament brings massive upsets, heart-stopping finishes and brackets being busted. While the stakes couldn’t be higher, and the drama is certainly at a fever pitch from the start of the afternoon window until deep into the night, there are still a number of top teams still alive.

In fact, over half of the Sweet `16 (nine teams to be exact) were expected to get there, based on their seeds being in the top four. What we will look at today are some teams not expected to be playing in the second week of March Madness.

As is always the case, finding value, and playable value at that, is key when it comes to turning a profit betting college basketball games.


NCAAM Sweet 16 Underdogs: Dark Horses to Survive and Advance


East and West

There was no region more decimated with upsets than the East, as the top-seed Purdue became just the second 1 seed in tourney history to get bounced in the opening round. The 2 seed Marquette was sent packing as well in, falling in Round of 32 action. While they were seeded 3 and 4, respectively, nobody expected either Kansas State or Tennessee to advance to Madison Square Garden, as they were both underdogs in their previous games.

The team that offers the most value in this bracket is Michigan State, currently priced at 25/1 at FanDuel. The Spartans did not have a great regular season winning just 19 games. However, since 2010 Tom Izzo has led Sparty to three Final Fours. Yes, the players change, but there is literally not coach left standing amidst the madness of March that we trust more to win games.

In the West, top seed and defending champ Kansas is gone. In this region, there’s two programs that certainly know how to survive and advance and cut down nets in March: UConn and UCLA, not to mention Gonzaga, making its eighth straight Sweet 16 appearance.

The underdog in this portion of the bracket is the Arkansas Razorbacks, a team that, if you are inclined to do so, are 39/1 to win it all on Fan Duel. UCLA has a few key injuries, UCONN’s coach Dan Hurley is somewhat of an unproven commodity in March, and Gonzaga, despite being the top team in the offensive efficiency metric according to KenPom, is 76th in defense, and we don’t have to remind you on the mantra that says defense wins championships. We feel the Razorbacks are worth a play, especially at that price.

College Basketball Pick: | Bet Arkansas to Win Today
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Midwest and South

Among all eight teams still standing in these two regions, there is one that sticks out to use as a live underdog play, and that’s the Miami Hurricanes. Forget about George Mason’s magical Final 4 run orchestrated by current Canes coach Jim Larranaga. There is more recent evidence that he knows how to win in March; just look at last season.

The Canes always have talent, and lately, they’ve been able to capitalize on it. They made the Elite 8 last season and did so with a high offensive efficiency metric (19th last year and 11th this year) and a less-than-stellar defensive metric (107 last year and 108 this year). There is something in the DNA of this program lately that screams March success, and at 50/1 on Barstool and 55/1 on FanDuel they are definitely worth a play.

It amazes us that they are the second longest shot on the board, ahead of only Princeton in this spot, despite being a Power 5 conference team. Yes, Houston is a tough team but they’re not unbeatable and are prone and susceptible to less than ideal shooting nights, especially from beyond the 3-point line. Take a shot on the Canes.

College Basketball Pick: | Bet Miami to Win Today
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