March Madness Round of 32 Best Bets – Saturday, March 18th

March Madness Round of 32 Best Bets - Saturday, March 18th
March Madness Round of 32 Best Bets – Saturday, March 18th

We are three days in, and we have had complete chaos! As we get closer to the sweet 16, we will be getting bigger and better matchups. Today we are loaded with eight great games. If you are on the fence and looking for a second opinion, you are in the right place. I have broken down every game on the board with a best bet. Remember, always shop around for the best number and always bet responsibly. Here are my March Madness Round of 32 Best Bets!



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March Madness Round of 32 Best Bets – Saturday, March 18th

(5) Duke vs. (4)Tennessee 

Vols are a fade team. They escaped Louisiana but still have the same issues without Zeigler. They turned the ball over 14 times and shot 29% from three. That is not going to cut it against a Duke team that is top 15 in defensive efficiency. The weakness of Duke’s defense is isolation, where they rank outside the top 240. 

The Vols do not have one player who can exploit that or get a bucket when the offense is stagnant. Ultimately, the lack of offense is the reason why I think Duke rolls here. Both teams play at a slower tempo, but Duke is the better half-court offense. 

The versatility of the Blue Devils allows them to win in numerous ways. Vols showed signs of vulnerability and got a little exposed against Louisiana. Filipowski and Lively will control the paint scoring and allow the guards to get open looks. Not enough offense for the Vols, and too much on both sides from the Blue Devils. 

Bet: Duke -3

 

(8) Arkansas vs. (1) Kansas

I’m sure that everyone will call me crazy when they read this, but I think Arkansas is a better team. Outside of Jalen Wilson, there isn’t much there offensively with the Jayhawks. Arkansas has the length and depth to give the Jayhawks fits, and if they can just be decent from deep, I think they can pull the upset. 

This is a game where Bill Self will be needed. Athletically they are no match for the Hogs at all. Schematics and strategy are what Self is the master at, especially in matchups like this. In summation, I think the Hogs have numerous bodies to slow Wilson down and can live at the rim attacking the Jayhawks’ interior, which I think is weak. Hogs cover and move on behind a monster game from Nick Smith Jr. 

Bet: Arkansas +3.5

 

(15) Princeton vs. (7) Missouri

Princeton will be up against a completely different task with this Missouri offense. Arizona played from inside out, and Missouri is looking to launch from deep. Metric-wise, Princeton ranks well defending the three (100th), but this level of shot-making has not been seen by Princeton this season. 

Princeton does not turn teams over (348th Turnover % defense), so the Missouri offense should flow easily with minimal resistance. Missouri also has the ability to take advantage of Princeton in isolation situations. Princeton is outside the top 350 in isolation defense, and with Kobe Brown playing at an elite level, not sure Princeton can withstand the Missouri offense. 

Bet: Missouri -6.5

 

(9) Auburn vs. (1) Houston

Houston played as bad of a game as I can remember against Northern Kentucky. Sasser and Shead both were banged up but will be on the floor in this matchup. How healthy will they be? That’s a question that we can’t fully quantitate. I believe Houston will be laser-focused after their first game. The health of those two players is why we will pivot to the 1st half total. 

Both teams are elite defensively, ranking inside the top 30 in defensive efficiency. I think the tempo will be controlled by Houston due to them having the better backcourt. Auburn has its struggles offensively, especially from three where they rank outside the top 300. 

There will be suffocating defense on both sides of the ball and limited possessions. Sasser and Shead are likely not to be 100% which will limit some of the things they want to do, at least early on, as they feel Auburn out. Defensively I don’t see Auburn having success with the interior depth to handle Broome and the Cougars’ ability to defend the perimeter. The under seems easier than most March Madness bets.

Bet: 1st Half UNDER 62

 

(10) Penn St vs. (2) Texas

Toughest game on the board for me. Love how both teams are playing and wouldn’t be surprised by any outcome. Texas, to me, has the bigger advantage because they are the deeper and better defensive team. Shutting down Pickett and running Penn St off the three-point line is the top priority for the Longhorns’ defense. 

Pickett will see a crowd in the paint and is likely not to have much success against the 11th-ranked defensive efficiency team in the nation. Texas A&M was a great matchup for the Nittany Lions, but Texas is the complete opposite. The balance on both ends is why I think Texas covers and moves on. 

Bet: Texas -5

(7) Northwestern vs. (2) UCLA

The strength of Northwestern is its backcourt. UCLA, even without Clark, is elite in defending the perimeter. They are inside the top 170 in defending isolations and inside the top 90 in ‘off the dribble’ three-point defense. This is a huge advantage for the Bruins, as Buie and Audige account for the majority of the Wildcats’ offense. 

UCLA’s offense is high frequency in mid-range jumpers (19th ranked), and the Northwestern defense struggles in that area ranking outside the top 300. Jaquez should have a huge day against the front line of the wildcats, who struggled to defend opposing teams’ best players in Big Ten play. 

The emergence of freshman Amari Bailey has helped out a ton on both ends. He’s averaging 17.7 points and 5 rebounds in the last four games and has been playing extremely well defensively. His ascend helps replace some of what Clarke did for them on both ends. His recent play, plus the elite defense, is why I love the Bruins to roll by double digits. 

Bet: UCLA -7.5

 

(8) Maryland vs. (1) Alabama

I believe this is a mismatch in all aspects. Unless they were in college park, each time they stepped up in class, they were beaten handily. The Terps don’t have enough offense to challenge Alabama and don’t have enough defense to take Alabama out of rhythm. The Terps’ defensive metrics are a bit overrated, in my opinion, due to the style of play in the Big Ten. 

Maryland likes to play at a slower tempo (322nd), but Alabama is likely to control the game and speed them up. The Terps rely heavily on their starters and only played two bench players in the first round against West Virginia. The speed, physicality, and depth of the Crimson Tide will overwhelm the Terps and win by double digits. 

Bet: Alabama -8.5

 

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