Welcome to the weekend…things you can only say on Thursday in March. It’s been almost two weeks since the college hoops betting card warranted a situational spots article, but I found a few worth mentioning over the next two days in the Sweet 16. For those not familiar with situational handicapping, I included a glossary of some of my favorite angles at the bottom of this story.
The analysis below specifically contains my four favorite Sweet 16 spots, which span across Thursday and Friday’s card. I will specifically touch on two first-half angles and two teams I believe have an emotional edge. I do also have a number of futures bets that are still alive, which I briefly touch on from a hedging perspective.
YTD: 49-31-2 +15.4 units
Kansas State 1H +3 (vs. Kentucky)
9:37 p.m. ET on CBS
In full disclosure, I have a 40-1 future on Kentucky that I bet right before the NCAA Tournament so this serves as a partial personal hedge.
Having said that, I do like the situational spot for Kansas State. With only the No. 9 seed and either the No. 7 or No. 11 seed in its path to San Antonio, most are viewing this game as a coronation for Kentucky in “Catlanta.” The young Cats might also start thinking this way, which could cause a false sense of overconfidence. You never want to get caught peeking ahead in March. After watching Kentucky dismantle Buffalo, we all just saw Kansas State win a very ugly game against No. 16 seed UMBC, struggling to pull away until the final two minutes. In fact, “EMAW” never even got outside of the number all game. Recency bias is providing some line value here.
Also, Kansas State actually ranks as the slightly better defense, which gives me added confidence (20th nationally in defensive efficiency vs. 23rd for Kentucky). KSU has the fourth-highest steal percentage in the country, ranking ahead of “Press Virginia.” Kentucky’s young guards can be turnover prone at times. Another thing to consider for K-State is that forward Dean Wade could return tonight. He is the key to the offense, as illustrated by the lack of production against UMBC (just 0.76 points per possession).
I prefer the first half, but think this will remain close throughout.