2017 NCAA Tournament Free Picks – Elite 8 (Saturday)
We managed to go 1-1 with yesterday’s Sweet 16 picks, getting an outright win with Kentucky, but Butler, unfortunately, lost by 12 points. The Elite 8 kicks off today, and we will have the Final Four set at the end of Sunday evening. Check back here for more picks culminating with the National Title game.
February 2020 Safest Betting Sites
Oregon (3) versus Kansas (1) -7 Total: 156
Oregon advances to face the toughest foe in the tournament so far, the Kansas Jayhawks. The Ducks have fought through two tightly contested games to move forward to the Elite 8. They rallied against Rhode Island in the Round of 32, before beating Michigan 69-68 in the Sweet 16.
On the other side, Kansas has been dominant in each of their performances in the tournament. They dominated Michigan State and then walloped Purdue by a score of 99-66. Neither game was close. In three tournament games, the Jayhawks have scored a whopping 288 points.
Kansas opened as -6 favorite. Over 70 percent of wagers have come in on the Jayhawks so far, which has shifted the odds to -6.5 and -7, depending on your sportsbook.
My first inclination is to fade the public here. The Jayhawks are getting lopsided action, and they’re the best team in the tournament, but 7 points are still quite a bit for an Oregon team that easily the best competition they have faced. They can also score in their own right.
Yes, it almost seems like suicide to bet against the Jayhawks right now, especially with the game less than an hour away from campus, but this matchup is better than you think. Oregon has a four-guard lineup that matches up well with Kansas. I like this one to stay close down to the wire.
Pick: Oregon +7
Xavier (11) versus Gonzaga (1) -8 Total: 145.5
Gonzaga hasn’t exactly shot the lights on in this year’s tournament. However, their superior rim protection and their versatile lineup have done the job of limiting opponent scoring. They have the best defensive rating in the nation. The Bulldogs played a close game with West Virginia to advance to the Elite 8, ultimately winning 61-58.
Xavier is this year’s Cinderella in the making. They’re the highest seed to be left in the tournament as an #11 seed. They narrowly beat Arizona in the Sweet 16 to advance but blew out Florida St in the Round of 32.
Bettors have been all over Xavier since they opened as a +8 dog. Nearly 75 percent of all wagers have come in on the Musketeers so far. The line moved to -8.5 at some spots, but most books are still sitting at -8.
Gonzaga was seen by many as the weakest number one seed in the tournament, which allowed us to buy-low on them a bit in the early round games.
Xavier must be taken seriously at this point. They’ve beaten several top caliber teams, and they have nothing to lose going forward. They’ve shot the ball extremely well in this tournament, and if Gonzaga stumbles offensively – the Musketeers have an excellent shot of keeping this one within single digits or winning the game outright.
Pick: Xavier +8