NCAA Tournament Odds & Player Props: 3 Thursday Bets for Jaime Jaquez, Adama Sanogo & Tyson Walker
Ric Tapia/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: UCLA’s Jaime Jaquez.
The Sweet 16 kicks off with four games Thursday night, which means plenty of stars will be taking the floor.
Our college basketball staff came through with three player props for Thursday’s NCAA Tournament games, including picks for Michigan State’s Tyson Walker, UConn’s Adama Sanogo and UCLA’s Jaime Jaquez.
Read on for all three picks, and be sure to check back tomorrow for even more NCAA Tournament betting coverage.
NCAA Tournament Player Props for Sweet 16
In the table below, you’ll find each of our college basketball staff’s top player prop picks from Thursday’s NCAA Tournament games. Click on any pick or team logo to navigate to a specific bet discussed in this article.
|Specific bet recommendations come from the sportsbook offering preferred odds as of writing. Always shop for the best price using our NCAAB Odds page, which automatically surfaces the best lines for every game.|
Michigan State vs. Kansas State
By Alex Hinton
Tyson Walker is a native of Westbury, New York. With this game being played at Madison Square Garden, he will be playing roughly 40 minutes outside of his hometown. Walker will have to put up a big performance in front of friends and family.
While the narrative helps here, his strong play of late is even more meaningful.
Walker is averaging 17.1 points per game over his last 10 games, and he has scored 15 points in six of them. In that span, he has three 20-point games, including 23 in the second-round win over Marquette.
Between his volume and efficiency, 15 points is very achievable for Walker. He is shooting 50.7% from the field on 12.8 attempts over his last 10 games.
Michigan State does work the shot clock offensively and ranks 274th in average possession length. However, Walker is often the player who has the ball in his hands in late shot clock situations. He usually finds a way to make something happen.
I expect him to find a way to score 15 points.
Pick: Tyson Walker Over 14.5 Points (-125) · Play to 15.5
Arkansas vs. UConn
By Alex Hinton
UConn forward Adama Sanogo is averaging 26 points per game through his first two games in the NCAA tournament. That has brought his average to 17.3 for the season.
Sanogo has scored 17 points or more in five of his last seven games and six of his last 10 games. He finished with 16 in another.
Against Arkansas, it will be a strength-on-strength matchup, as the Razorbacks rank 49th in 2-point percentage defense.
Sanogo shoots 61.3% from the field and 64.4% on 2-point attempts. However, Arkansas also limits opponents to 30.6% from beyond the arc, which ranks 24th nationally.
That could make things difficult for UConn sharpshooter Jordan Hawkins, who has been a slow starter of late.
Sanogo is averaging 12.4 field goal attempts over his last five games. Another slow start from Hawkins could lead to the Huskies playing through Sanogo. If so, he could be in for another big night and the 17 points we need to cash this over.
Pick: Adama Sanogo Over 16.5 Points (-120) · Play to 17.5
Gonzaga vs. UCLA
This is a brilliant matchup for Jaime Jaquez Jr., who has been playing like the best player in the nation over the last two games.
No player in the country can keep up with Jaquez, the most dangerous isolation scorer in college hoops. Staring down Jaquez in a one-on-one scenario must be the scariest thing in the sport.
And nobody on Gonzaga is keeping up with Jaquez.
The best matchup is Anton Watson, but even he isn’t an elite defender by EvanMiya’s DBPR metric.
However, the key to this game will be getting ideal switches in the pick-and-roll. Tyger Campbell is the savviest point guard in the nation, and he’ll figure out how to get Drew Timme out in space in ball screens, where the Zags’ big man will try to defend Jaquez one-on-one.
If that happens, expect fireworks. Jaquez will eat on isolation switches, as the roll-man and in the pick-and-pop.
A couple more things are going Jaquez’s way here.
First, everyone knows Jaquez is a dominant mid-range scorer, ranking in the 96th percentile in mid-range ShotQuality PPP. Gonzaga is a lackluster defense across the board, but the Bulldogs were especially weak in that area, finishing 10th in WCC play in mid-range PPP allowed.
Image via CBB Analytics
Second, Jaquez dropped 24 points on 15 shots against Northwestern. And that is a slow-paced, interior-defense-minded team that ranks in the 98th percentile in mid-range FG% allowed.
Jaquez could easily double his output and efficiency in a much-faster-paced game against a weaker Zags interior defense.
That’s a scary prospect.
It’s also a prospect worth betting on.
Pick: Jaime Jaquez Over 19.5 Points (-122)
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