NCAA Tournament Betting Picks: Our Staff’s 4 Favorite Bets for Sunday’s Elite Eight Games
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Duke Blue Devils forward Zion Williamson (1).
Another day, another loss for a No. 1 seed.
With Gonzaga out of the NCAA Tournament, Duke will try to avoid the same fate against a Michigan State team that’s looked dominant in the last two rounds. On the other side of the bracket, Auburn brings its red-hot shooting into an Elite Eight matchup with Kentucky.
Our staff has been hard at work breaking down the small card, and delivered their favorite bets between the two games.
Sunday NCAA Tournament Betting Picks
Stuckey: Kentucky-Auburn Under 141
I think you have to go back to the well with a Kentucky under here. Historically, Elite Eight games have played very slow compared to the rest of the tourney, sans the national title, as teams get a little tighter with a trip to the Final Four on the line.
So I really like this under for a few big reasons.
I think we are getting a few extra points of value in the market due to recency bias after everyone saw what Auburn did against UNC in the Sweet 16. However, the loss of Chuma Okeke will slow down Auburn considerably in transition.
Also, not only is Kentucky excellent across the board on defense, it’s played slower since the start of SEC play — and the market just hasn’t caught up. Kentucky unders are 17-5 during the Wildcats’ past 22 games, including 3-0 in the NCAA Tournament.
You have to imagine that 3-point-reliant Auburn will be chucking once again, especially with the loss of Okeke. And while Kentucky has struggled with its perimeter defense at times, most of those issues came early in the season.
The Cats have allowed teams to shoot 34.5% on the season from 3 (180th in the nation) but improved significantly during conference play (32.5%).
These teams are very familiar with each other as this will be the third meeting of the year, which I think will benefit both defenses.
Mike Randle: Kentucky -4.5 vs. Auburn
The loss of Okeke severely limits the Tigers, who are not strong defensively in the half-court. He is also the Tigers leading rebounder. This is a massive loss against a Kentucky team that ranks fifth in the nation in offensive rebounding percentage.