March Madness 2022: Sweet Sixteen Odds and Elite Eight Best Bets
Once again, as always, and forever and ever amen, the basketball gods (well, OK, the players) have delivered yet another delightful NCAA Tournament which never disappoints. (Only COVID can ruin the tournament; bad picks make you sick just looking at your group leaderboard to see who sadly low in the standings you truly are.)
Anyhow, we’re back to normal this year but nothing’s ever normal during March Madness, and every year you can count on major upsets (Bye-bye, Baylor; catch ya next year, Kentucky) along with Cinderallas few had even heard of before the tourney tipped off. (Be honest – you had no idea where St. Peter’s even was, never mind its mascot – the Peacock).
So as we catch our collective breath and check our blown-up brackets, let’s look at the latest odds for Thursday’s and Friday’s games as well as the current odds for all 16 teams to win the championship.
Before we begin, remember you can find one-stop NCAA Tournament shopping here and remember we’ve already given you the best bets to be named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.
The following odds are available at DraftKings. Be sure to check out OddsSeeker.com’s list of brilliant sports betting apps and here’s OddsSeeker’s awesome guide to sports betting.
OK, here we go (And, remember, I’m picking ONLY my favorite eight – picks are in bold – so some games/regions won’t have anything in bold, which means I didn’t like those enough for the great eight). Best of luck!
No. 4 UCLA vs. No. 8 North Carolina
- Spread: UCLA -2.5
- Total: 142.5
- Moneyline: UCLA -150, North Carolina +130
No. 3 Purdue vs. No. 15 Saint Peter’s
- Spread: Purdue -12.5
- Total: 135.5
- Moneyline: Purdue -1000, Saint Peter’s +650
- The pick: St. Peter’s +12.5
C’mon, it’s Cinderella season, the Peacocks are strutting some serious stuff and any team that can KO Kentucky and then a red-hot Murray State team is legit. I think they’ll give the Boilermakers a battle.
No. 1 Arizona vs. No. 5 Houston
- Spread: Arizona -1.5
- Total: 144.5
- Moneyline: Arizona -130, Houston +110
Full disclosure: I have the tall and talented Wildcats winning it in my brackets but that pick looks a little shaky after watching Arizona’s nail-biting victory over TCU. Kelvin Sampson’s Cougars are almost a mirror image of ‘Cats.
No. 2 Villanova vs. No. 11 Michigan
- Spread: Villanova - 4.5
- Total: 135.5
- Moneyline: Villanova -210, Michigan +175
According to KenPom, the spread should be closer to 10. That’s a big discrepancy. The Wolverines surprised many pundits by merely receiving a ticket to the Big Dance following a wildly unpredictable Big 10 regular season, they’ve made the most of it. While great minds often beg to differ, especially on March Madness matchups, I’m going with Ken on this one. Sorry, Vegas. Plus, the difference in this one may be coaching and it’s Jay Wright (two national titles in the last seven years) and his versatile Wildcats against Juwann Howard and his inconsistent 13-loss Wolverines.
No. 1 Gonzaga vs. No. 4 Arkansas
- Spread: Gonzaga -8.5
- Total: Under 154.5 points
- Moneyline: Gonzaga -425, Arkansas +320
Gonzaga put a scare into all of those many, many people who had them winning it all in their bracket . Likely scared themselves too. My guess is the Zags win this by 12 or more. Their depth and defense are gonna overwhelm Arkansas which managed just 53 points in last week’s win over No. 12 New Mexico State. To me that adds up to a rout of the low-scoring Razorbacks.
ODDS TO WIN REGION
The Zags are still the clear favorite, but boy, the explosive, athletic Memphis Tigers damn near beat ‘em last weekend, and Texas Tech possesses those same qualities and they’re even taller. Bookmakers know all about the Red Raiders talent which is why they have lower odds against Duke. I think the Elite Eight is where Gonzaga’s elusive pursuit of a national title comes up short again.
- Gonzaga -180
- Duke +450
- Texas Tech +380
- Arkansas +1000
- Purdue -125
- UCLA +220
- North Carolina +380
- Saint Peter’s +2200
Ah, hell, why not. Takes a flyer. But by no means bet the farm – maybe a tiny plot of it – because the other three teams have way more talent but what if they get Purdue (possible) and then face a young North Carolina team. The private university’s players have already done made the entire New Jersey region proud but this could be this year’s 2016 version of No. 11 seed Loyola Chicago which stunned everyone and reached the Final Four.
- Arizona +140
- Villanova +230
- Houston +240
- Michigan +900
- Kansas -190
- Miami +500
- Iowa State +600
- Providence +600
According to KenPom, and also the eye test, the Jayhawks have the easiest route to the Final Four, which is why they’re listed at -190. Kansas has a 28.16 rating while all the other three are nearly identical in their ratings at 15. Seems like a clear path for Bill Self’s bunch led by Kansas senior Ochai Agbaji who was consensus a first-team All-American. Rock, chalk, Jayhawks fans, get those reservations to New Orleans now.