We have gone 2-0 for the first two days of March Madness 2019. We’re looking to continue our streak with tonite’s first round picks

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March Madness Sweet Sixteen Picks

We went 3-0 during the first two rounds of March Madness (see picks below) and now we’re looking for some more winners during the Sweet Sixteen matches. The top seeds have all made it through to the Regional Semi-Finals but it could be that this is where we see some shocks, and we’re looking to bet on two underdogs:

Virginia Tech +7 to beat Duke @ -106 with PlaySugarHouse

We recommended fading Duke before the start of the NCAA Tournament and so far anyone who opposed them on the Spread during March Madness will be 2-0 for their bets. The Blue Devils fell behind against North Dakota State before a second half blitz added respectability to the 85-62 final score. Their next match, against UCF went right to the wire and was one for the ages, with a rebound from a converted rebound from a free throw, and a subsequent UCF buzzer beater failing to land, giving Duke a 77-76 win in what was the match of the NCAA Tournament so far.

The Blue Devils shouldn’t have had as much problems against UCF as they did and there have to be question marks over whether the top seed can indeed go all the way and lift the trophy. Zion Williamson has been good, but he’s still on the comeback trail after an injury and there is a growing amount of pressure on the 18-year-old Freshman’s shoulders.

Virginia Tech will be a real test and the fact that they’ve kept their last four opponents (in the AAC Tournament and then March Madness) to under 70 points augurs well for a meeting with the fearsome Duke front line. The Hokie won’t be afraid though, having beaten the Blue Devils as recently as 29 February and this feels like a spot where lightning could strike twice. Money Line odds are big for those who like risks but +7 is even bigger for the Spread bettors.

Houston +2.5 to beat Kentucky @ -107 with PlaySugarHouse

Our outside tip for March Madness glory was Houston and, after a great tournament so far, we’re not willing to desert the Cougars after a couple of strong showings in the opening matches. Houston crushed Georgia State and then were convincing winners against Ohio State in the second round. They were expected to win both but that can’t be levelled as a criticism when some of the big names have failed to cover handicap lines.

One of those are Friday’s opponents, Kentucky. The Wildcats were a little lucky to beat Wofford in the last round and they haven’t been showing tremendous ability at the net. Houston will push them all the way and on Friday and they could be a good bet for the Money Line but a safer pick is the +2.5 Spread.

Previous March Madness Picks (3-0)

Winners

Minnesota (+5) @ -106 with SugarHouse

The match up between Minnesota and Louisville in the East will be highly charged, following the sacking of Rick Patino over and FBI investigation into recruitment violations. His son, Richard Patino, is the Golden Gophers head coach and will be looking to put one over on the school who he feels have mistreated his father. That means the Golden Gophers will come out highly motivated and they could be a shock pick for a First Round upset.

Louisville are the favorites but the Cardinals are just 4-8 since the beginning of February and three of the four wins have come against sides who didn’t qualify for the NCAA Tournament’s final 68. That doesn’t augur well for a tough match-up and Jordan Murphy, who is averaging 14.8 points and 11.5 rebunds per game, could bully the home side into a defeat. The Money Line is a good bet here but it’s early in the tournament and it’s maybe worth not going all guns blazing for the upset and instead taking Minnesota with 5 points on the spread.

Arizona State (-1.5) @ -112 with SugarHouse

March Madness tipped off on Tuesday with Fairleigh Dickinson beating Prairie View A&M and Belmont winning against Temple (as predicted on this site – see below). On Wednesday the First Four concludes with North Carolina v North Dakota and St John’s taking on Arizona State.

The second game is where our pick comes from, with Arizona State looking like a bit of a lock on Wednesday night. The Sun Devils have won 6 of their last 8 matches leading up to March Madness and were only beaten (twice) by the Oregon Ducks.

The St. John’s Red Storm, by contrast, limped towards the NCAA Tournament, winning just two of their last seven games, giving up 78 points or more five times. This is above their season average of 74.8 conceded per match and doesn’t augur well for a one-off, winner takes all match. The team cannot trust the defense in crucial plays and a confident Arizona, averaging 77.8 points per game, should be able to roll over the Red Storm.

The neutral venue also plays into Arizona’s hands as they are four from six in their last non-home matches and 3-1-1 in their last neutral matches. St John’s, meanwhile are 0-4 in their last four non-home matches and 5-11 at neutral venues. The Red Storm are out of form, and don’t travel well, which suggests a defeat and quite possibly a heavy one.

Belmont (-3.5) @ -112 with SugarHouse

Belmont were a popular pick with bracketologists for the First Four and they have been heavily supported to beat Temple in Dayton, Ohio. The Bruins opened as -3 favorites but that line has quickly moved to -3.5 after the sharps attacked it, with over 65% of all money wagers being placed on Belmont.

Losing the Ohio Valley Conference title game as -2 favorites was disappointing for Belmont fans, but 10 days rest should allow them to regroup and the Bruins will come out firing on Tuesday night. They were the country’s second top scorer in the regular season, averaging 87.4 points per game and that kind of firepower is something that will always attract neutrals to cheer them on.

Their opponents are ranked 116th buy the same metric, scoring an average of 74.8 PPG. They managed 74 exactly when losing to Wichita State on Friday and that is about their level. Belmont should be beating the Owls, particularly with Nick Muszynski expected to be back in action on Tuesday.

Temple’s problem is that they rely too heavily on Shizz Alston and Quinton Rose, who take over 57% of their shots. If Belmont can shut down that pair then the Owls won’t be able to put many points on the board and so we should see the popular pick of the Bruins -3.5 land.