2017 NCAA Tournament Free Picks – Sweet 16 (Friday)

We won one game and pushed another yesterday, with Gonzaga pushing -3 and Oregon winning the game outright. Let’s hope we can do better today. Tonight’s slate begins at 7:09 EST with Butler and North Carolina. All the games will be televised on CBS and TBS.

As always, all our odds will be quoted from BetOnline (Full Review) and are accurate at the time of posting. However, be sure to line shop for the best price before placing your bet.

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Butler (4) versus North Carolina (1) -7 Total: 153

This game has the highest spread on Friday as the Bulldogs take on the Tar Heels. It’s a familiar spot for North Carolina, but it’s Butler’s first Sweet 16 appearance since the 2011 tournament.

UNC’s road to this point hasn’t been easy. North Carolina destroyed Texas Southern to begin the tournament but faced a substantial deficit against Arkansas before scoring 12 straight points to end the game to overcome a 65-60 deficit with three minutes left.

Butler started off their tournament strong, defeating 13th-seeded Winthrop by a score of 76-64. Middle Tennessee gave the Bulldogs a bit more of a challenge. The contest was close for much of the game, but they pulled away late to win 74-65.

This game has seen little line movement. The odds opened with the Tar Heels as a -7 favorite, and most sportsbooks have not moved off that number. Betting action has been mostly even between the sides, with UNC getting slightly more bets.

Seven points are just too many. I don’t think Butler wins this game outright, but they surely have a chance to do so. However, them hanging around late makes plenty of sense, especially when the trouble they had with a team like Arkansas.

This is easily my favorite bet on the evening.

Pick: Butler +7

UCLA (3) versus Kentucky (2) +1.5 Total: 167

This is probably going to be the most-watched game in the Sweet 16 as UCLA takes on Kentucky. The Bruins defeated the Wildcats back in December, will they be able to beat them again or will UK take the victory when the stakes are higher.

UCLA breezed through the early rounds of the tournament, dominating Kent State in the Round of 64 by a score of 97-80, and making quick work of Cincinnati in the Round of 32. The Wildcats will be their first real test this tournament.

The Wildcats took care of Northern Kentucky in the first round but fought a hard to win a close game against Wichita State in the Round of 32. They won the game narrowly, by a score of 65-62.

Bettors are liking the Bruins in this one. It was Kentucky that was originally a -1.5 favorite when the odds opened. Over 60 percent of wagers have come on UCLA which caused the odds to shift to Bruins -1.5.

I’m going against the public in this spot, and I wouldn’t be shocked to see some smart money come in late and move this spread closer to pick. UCLA is a team that relies on three-pointers more than others, and I think that the Wildcats may rule the offensive boards in this one.

Pick: Kentucky +1.5

Joseph Falchetti

Joseph Falchetti - Editor-in-Chief / Sports Writer & Analyst

Joe is the author of the blog, most picks, and the majority of excellent content on SafestBettingSites. He's been mentioned on Forbes.com as a gaming analyst and his articles have been linked by larger publications, such as the New York Times.

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