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.