Kansas, Villanova Face Pesky Underdogs on Sweet 16 Betting Lines


Both the Kansas Jayhawks and the Villanova Wildcats’ opponents in the Sweet 16 drag in a poor conference trend.

The Jayhawks and senior leader Devonte’ Graham are five-point betting favorites against the Clemson Tigers with a 142.5-point total at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com in a Midwest Region betting matchup in Omaha on Friday.

While Kansas got through the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament without being in peak form, the the OddsShark College Basketball Database shows it is 16-4 straight-up and 11-8-1 against the spread in its last 20 games as a favorite of 5.0 or fewer points. Clemson is 0-4 SU and ATS in its last four games against the Big 12, the conference Kansas has dominated for 14 years.

Although the total has gone over in three of Clemson’s last four games, it possesses strong interior defense. Kansas will try to counter that through its perimeter game and the return of seven-foot center Udoka Azubuike, who missed almost all of the last two weeks due to a knee ailment.

The Duke Blue Devils are 11.5-point favorites against the Syracuse Orange with a 133.5 total in the late Midwest Region matchup. There are strong trends on each side of this ACC matchup – for instance, Syracuse is 7-1 ATS in its last eight NCAA Tournament games, while Duke is 7-2 ATS in its last nine games against the ACC.

Both teams exhibited robust defense in the first round. Duke, with freshman Marvin Bagley leading a lineup that has five double-digit scorers, has a much better offense. Syracuse is 2-10 SU in its last 12 games as a double-digit underdog.

The Villanova Wildcats are five-point favorites on the March Madness odds against the West Virginia Mountaineers with a 152.5 total in an East Region matchup at Boston. West Virginia, which is 3-8 ATS in its last 11 games against the Big East, is one of the poorest teams in the country at defending three-pointers, which is Villanova’s speciality.

The form favors Villanova, which has a 1-2 scoring punch with Jalen Brunson and Mikal Bridges and is 19-0 SU in its last 19 games on a Friday. The total, incidentally, exactly matches the average combined score of West Virginia’s last eight games, seven of which have finished over.

And the Purdue Boilermakers are 1.5-point favorites against the Texas Tech Red Raiders with a 137 total in the late East Region matchup. While it’s true that Texas Tech has never gone deeper than the Sweet 16, it is 8-2 SU and 7-2-1 ATS in its last 10 games and has a diverse offense built around guard Keenan Evans.

Purdue could still be without center Isaac Haas down low, but the Boilermakers, 18-3 SU in their last 21 games, are a good shooting team thanks to Carsen Edwards, Vincent Edwards and point guard Dakota Mathias. The total has gone over in six of Texas Tech’s last eight games (average combined score: 143.0). The total  has also gone over in four of Purdue’s last five games (average combined score: 143.4).

The winning teams advance to the Elite Eight on Sunday. The first two Final Four spots will be determined on Saturday, with the Kansas State Wildcats facing the Loyola-Chicago Ramblers in the South Region final in Atlanta, while the Michigan Wolverines face the Florida State Seminoles in the West Region final in Los Angeles.

For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.


NIL and NCAA: What to know about the new policy and how NBC Sports can help

NCAA College World Series
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As of July 1, 2021, a new NCAA policy has been in effect allowing student-athletes from all three divisions to monetize their name, image, and likeness (often referred to as NIL). As long as the activities are “consistent with the law of the state where the school is located,” athletes now have the opportunity to accept endorsements from brands, monetize their social media presences, and work with professional firms to coordinate deals.

Click here for additional information and guidelines regarding NCAA NIL policies and keep reading to find answers to questions such as how NIL works as well as how NBC Sports can help.

What is NIL and NBC Sports Athlete Direct?

NBC Sports Athlete Direct is coming to a school near you. The program enables college student-athletes to earn money from their name, image, and likeness (NIL) through a unique marketplace that connects athletes with advertisers. NBC Sports Athlete Direct will work to provide equal opportunities to all student-athletes, regardless of which team you play on or any statistical performance.

How will the NIL Marketplace work?

Advertisers will use NBC Sports Athlete Direct to make NIL offers available to college student-athletes. College student-athletes will then have the option to participate in the NIL offer. Those who decide to participate and complete the advertiser’s campaign requirements will be compensated based on a predetermined rate.

How much money can athletes make participating in NBC Sports Athlete Direct?

Compensation will vary by advertiser campaign.

When will NBC Sports Athlete Direct launch and how can I sign up?

NBC Sports Athlete Direct will officially launch in the Fall of 2022 but prior to that, we will be launching a pilot program soon, exclusively for Temple and Vanderbilt student-athletes.

In the meantime, click here to fill out a student-athlete interest form and once it is available at your school, we will notify you and provide you with additional information on how to sign up.

If I participate in NIL offers from NBC Sports Athlete Direct, do I still have the freedom to do other NIL deals that are not related to NBC Sports Athlete Direct?

Yes, this program is non-exclusive so our student-athletes will have the freedom to participate in other NIL deals that are not related to NBC Sports Athlete Direct.

What are the rules or restrictions for participating in this program?

Unfortunately, international students and students under the age of 18 are not eligible to participate in the pilot program at this time.

Kentucky to allow college athletes to earn off likeness

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FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear signed an executive order Thursday allowing the state’s college athletes – including players on the nationally renowned Kentucky and Louisville men’s basketball teams – to make money through the use of their name, image or likeness.

The Democratic governor said he took the action as a matter of fairness for college athletes. It will spare Kentucky’s colleges from being at a competitive disadvantage with rivals in other states that will have laws enabling athletes to profit off their name, image or likeness, he said.

“This is important to our student-athletes, who for decades, others – whether it’s companies or institutions – have profited on,” Beshear told reporters. “These athletes deserve to be a part of that.”

Beshear said his executive order takes effect July 1, when similar legislation passed in several other states will become law. His office said he was the first governor to make the change by executive order.

The governor’s action won praise from the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville. UK plays in the Southeastern Conference and UofL competes in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

“Bringing the state of Kentucky into competitive balance with other states across the country and, more specifically, the Atlantic Coast Conference is critical,” Vince Tyra, U of L’s vice president for intercollegiate athletics, said in a release issued by the governor’s office.

UK athletics director Mitch Barnhart said the governor’s action “provides us the flexibility we need at this time to further develop policies around name, image and likeness.”

“We are appreciative of that support, as it is a bridge until such time as state and/or federal laws are enacted,” Barnhart said in the same release from Beshear’s office. “The landscape of college sports is now in the midst of dramatic and historic change – perhaps the biggest set of shifts and changes since scholarships were first awarded decades ago.”

In Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, New Mexico and Texas, laws go into effect July 1 that make it impermissible for the NCAA and members schools to prevent athletes from being paid by third parties for things like sponsorship deals, online endorsements and personal appearances.

The NCAA had hoped for a national law from Congress that has not come, and its own rule-making has been bogged down for months. College sports leaders are instead moving toward the type of patchwork regulation they have been warning against for months.