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Sweet 16 Player Props: 3 Picks From Nick Giffen, Including Sir’Jabari Rice, Vladislav Goldin, More

Sweet 16 Player Props: 3 Picks From Nick Giffen, Including Sir’Jabari Rice, Vladislav Goldin, More article feature image

David Buono/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Texas’ Sir’Jabari Rice.

If you’ve been tailing Dr. Nick’s player props this March Madness on the Action Network Podcast and Green Dot Daily, then you already know how accurate his analysis has been through the first two rounds of the 2023 NCAA Tournament.

With the Sweet 16 upon us, here are Nick Giffen’s three player props for the Sweet 16. And make sure to be following Dr. Nick in the app to see what bets he’s tracking the minute he places them.

(Editor’s Note: These Sweet 16 Player Props are transcribed from Dr. Nick’s appearance on the Action Network Podcast. Dr. Nick does not actually speak in the third person, although it would be pretty awesome if he did.)

Vladislav Goldin (Florida Atlantic vs Tennessee — 9 p.m. ET, TBS)
Under 9.5 Points (-120 · Playable at -140 at bet365)

Goldin has averaged 10.6 points this year, but that came with FAU averaging just under 78 points per game. Now, it goes up against this very strong Tennessee defense — and the Volunteers play just a little bit slower on pace than the national average, as well.

As a result, the team total for FAU is just 62.5, which is a 20% reduction in points from their average. So, if you think about it, if Goldin has a 10.6 points per game average and we reduce that by 20%, all of a sudden, we’re down to 8.5 just by pure mathematics.

Then, his projected minutes are down from earlier in the year by about 10%. So we need to reduce that projected points total further — and that doesn’t even get into the matchup. Goldin is a big, big, big guy, and he only scores from inside. Well, Tennessee allows the 52nd-lowest 2-point attempt to field goal attempt ratio. It doesn’t let teams shoot inside. It forces teams to shoot from 3.

And when Goldin does get field goal opportunities, Tennessee is 11th in the nation in field goal percentage allowed on 2-pointers. Add it up, and we’re projecting him for just 7.5 points.

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Tristen Newton (Connecticut vs Arkansas — 7:15 p.m. ET, CBS)
Under 20.5 Points + Rebounds + Assists (-120 · Playable at Under 19.5 at -110 at DraftKings)

While my predictive analytics boss, Sean Koerner, is on Newton’s assist under here, I also like his points under, so why not combine them all together?

If we just look at field goals, Newton makes 52.8% of his points from field goals via 3-pointers, vs. a national average of 37.7%. Well, Arkansas is just the opposite. It allows just 29.8% of field goal points to come on 3-pointers, 8% lower than the national average — good for eighth lowest in the nation.

There is a little bit of an angle where Newton gets fouled a lot because Arkansas does foul a lot. But I think that would come into play most in a close game, and even then, UConn isn’t going to try to foul the most accurate free-throw shooter on the other team.

We’re not really showing anything on the rebound side — we’re right in line with the market there — but since we’re showing under on both points and assists, I’m going to go under on points + rebounds + assists on Newton.

Sir’Jabari Rice (Texas vs Xavier — Friday, 9:45 p.m. ET, CBS)
Over 1.5 Assists (+130 at bet365 · +105 at DraftKings — Both Playable)

Sir’Jabari Rice went over 1.5 assists last week, and I’m taking him over 1.5 assists again this week. Remember, we got -120 for over 1.5 assists against Colgate, and we’re getting plus money here against Xavier.

Like Colgate, Xavier doesn’t force turnovers; they’re 293rd in the nation in turnover percentage. And Xavier doesn’t foul; it’s the 62nd-lowest in the nation in foul rate.

That means if you’re not fouling and you’re not forcing turnovers, more possessions are going to end in field goal attempts. And when more possessions end in field goal attempts, some of those are going to go in, and some of those are going to come off assists.

Also, Xavier’s not great at preventing shots from going in. It’s right around national average at defensive effective field goal percentage, and Texas has faced stiff defenses this year. Xavier’s assist rate defensively is also 253rd in the nation, well above average.

One more fact: Xavier is even more uptempo than Colgate was, which means more possessions.

So, all signs here point to an over on assists.

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