2018 NCAA March Madness Bracket Expert Picks – Sweet 16
We’re back after a weekend of upsets that saw two No. 1 seeds get knocked out of the tournament. No. 16 UMBC pulled a historic upset over top overall No. 1 seed, Virginia. No. 1 Xavier also got trounced by Florida State. Check our picks for the Sweet 16 below and check back later this week for Elite 8 picks. The odds below are listed from Sportsbetting Sportsbook (75% Up To $1000 Welcome Bonus) but please line shop to find the best price before placing your wager.
(9) Kansas State +5.5 vs. (5) Kentucky Wildcats -5.5 Prediction
After struggling to get by UMBC, Kansas State will take on No. 5 seed Kentucky on Thursday evening. They’re mild underdogs against Kentucky, which has one of the more accessible paths in NCAA Tournament history to the Final Four if they should take care of Kansas State. Bettors have overwhelming favored Kentucky in this matchup, but after opening at -6, the odds have moved to -5.5 at just about every sportsbook online. We suspect more bets will come in on UK as we get closer to tip, but sharps may be favoring Kansas State.
Forward Dean Wade is expected to return to the Kansas State lineup after missing three games with a stress fracture in his foot. He isn’t likely to play a full minute load but will be able to contribute off the bench, but his presence will be significant for Kansas State.
Kansas State’s average performance against UMBC will keep people off them in this matchup, but they’re one of the more underrated teams in the nation. Weber will have an excellent gameplan to go against Calipari, and I think he wins the coaching battle. Kansas State is easily my favorite play from the Sweet 16 round at +5.5.
2018 March Madness Pick: Kansas State +5.5
(11) Loyola Chicago +1 vs. (7) Nevada -1 Prediction
Loyola faces Nevada after two miraculous victories. Against Tennessee, they managed to outrebound them and shoot 50% from the field. Defensively, they were dominant against the Vols, allowing them to get to the line just six times. Nevada rallied late to move onto the Sweet 16, as well. They went on a 32-8 run late to cut the deficit and ended up beating the Bearcats 75-73 to advance.
Betting has been split for the most part, but a few more tickets have come in on Nevada. However, the line has gone the other way since open, with the Wolfpack initially listed as a -2.5 favorite. We’re now at -1 at most sportsbooks.
The Ramblers are being underrated in this spot against a Nevada team that has been quite fortunate to make this far. They’re a team that plays hard for 40 minutes and one that has only lost a single game since Jan. 3rd. Defensively, Loyola gives up just over 62 points a game, and I expect them to have an excellent defensive game against Nevada and do enough to win the game offensively.
2018 March Madness Pick: Loyola Chicago +1
(5) West Virginia +5 vs. (1) Villanova -5 Prediction
The Mountaineers will take on the Wildcats in one of the most anticipated matchups in the Sweet 16. WVU dominated in two games so far in the tournament. They cruised by Marshall in the last round to win 94-71 in a game that was never close. Villanova matched West Virginia’s dominance, easily taking care of their early round opponents, last winning 81-58 against Alabama on Saturday. Nova opened as a -5.5 favorite but are down to -5 at most sportsbooks. Nearly 70 percent of bets have come in on the Wildcats so far.
West Virginia is one of my favorite dark horses to win the tournament, and I love them in this matchup against Villanova where their defense alone may get the job done. The press should make it a lot harder for them to get into their offense. No team has more experience in the tournament and is playing with more confidence than the Mountaineers.