Sweet 16 Value Plays to Win It All

by ASA, Inc.

Tuesday, Mar 22, 2022
Odds all as of March 22 from PointsBet

WEST – Texas Tech +1200
The Red Raiders face off in the Sweet 16 vs Duke and a win there would set them up to meet either Gonzaga or Arkansas to go to the Final 4.  The Red Raiders are favored vs Duke and they are the type of team that will give the Blue Devils problems.  Tech is a veteran team with only upperclassmen receiving key minutes facing a very young Blue Devil team.  The Red Raiders are the #1 team in the country in terms of defensive efficiency and they are one of the better rebounding teams in the country which will give Duke problems.  Duke scores 54% of their points inside the arc which is 79th most nationally but Tech is fantastic defensively from 2 point range.  They allow just 42% of points against them to come from inside the arc with is the 3rd lowest percentage nationally.  If they get by Duke the Zags will be a tough draw as they would be for anyone.  However, with the physicality and defensive toughness the Red Raiders play with, they can give Gonzaga problems as well.  They’ll try and slow that game down which is not how Gonzaga likes to play.  We feel there is some value at 12/1 on Texas Tech to win it all.
EAST – UCLA +1600
We had the Bruins as a long shot opportunity back in mid February and we’re surprised they are still 16/1 at this point.  They rank in the top 15 in both offensive and defensive efficiency per Ken Pom.  They are one of only three teams that fall into that category with the others being Houston & Gonzaga.  Starting forward Jamie Jaquez tweaked his ankle so something to watch for UCLA.  If he’s OK, the Bruins are fully healthy with PG Campbell and F Juzang back at 100% after they were banged up down the stretch of the regular season.  We love the experience with everyone back from last year’s Final 4 team and the fact this team does not turn the ball over with very solid guard play.  UCLA is favored over UNC and if they get by that they will most likely play a Purdue team that isn’t very good defensively and will struggle vs a UCLA offense that features 4 players who average between 11 PPG and 18 PPG.  On the other end of the court, UCLA’s defense is definitely good enough to frustrate the Boilers who have had a fairly easy draw thus far facing 2 ranked outside the top 100 per Ken Pom in their first 3 tourney games.  This UCLA team has a great shot at another Final 4.  
SOUTH – Houston +1000
We also had the Cougars pegged as a value play to win it all back in mid February and feel that at 10/1 they are still worth a shot if you didn’t follow our lead a month ago when we suggested them at 35/1.  One of only two teams remaining that rank in the top 10 efficiency wise at Ken Pom both offensively and defensively.  The other is Gonzaga.  The Cougars are playing great basketball right now winning 11 of last 12 with 10 of those wins coming by double digits.  Their only loss during that stretch was vs a very good, athletic Memphis team and Houston got their revenge in the AAC tourney trouncing the Tigers.  They just handled Big 10 champ Illinois with ease completely suffocating the Illini offense to just 0.85 PPP and only 24% from 3 point land.  The Cougs face an Arizona team that wants to run up and down the court all day long but Houston will take them out of their comfort zone and make this a half court game.  Houston is also a great offensive rebounding team, 3rd in the nation, and Zona showed a weakness on the defensive glass over the weekend with TCU gathering 20 offensive boards on Sunday.  If Houston can upset Arizona as a 2.5-point dog,  we’d anticipated them being favored to win over Villanova or Michigan in the Elite 8.  
MIDWEST – Providence +5000
The odds on the Friars provide some great value in our opinion.  50/1?  That seems out of line.  They are 7.5 point dogs vs Kansas this week and we wouldn’t be completely surprised if they pulled the upset.  The Jayhawks are a flawed #1 seed who just struggled to get by Creighton despite the Jayhawks missing 2 of their top 3 players.  Providence and Creighton split their 2 games this year and that was when the Jays had center Kalkbrenner in the line up.  The analytics guys have been pounding on Providence all year as being lucky and winning too many close games.  Much of that is true, however the fact is they know how to win the close games and they’ve done it on a regular basis.  They won the Big East regular season and have only 5 losses all season, 2 of which were down to the wire games vs a #2 seed Villanova.  The Friar defense has played fantastic in the Dance completely shutting down a South Dakota State offense that was the #1 three point shooting team in the nation.  The Jackrabbits scored just 57 points in that game, their lowest total of the season.  Following that win they faced a red hot Richmond team who had won 5 straight taking out Dayton, Davidson in the A10 tourney and Iowa in the NCAA.  Providence crushed the Spiders by 28 holding them to 51 points.  Should the Friars upset the Jayhawks, they’re Final 4 aspirations look very good with Miami or Iowa State next in line.  50/1 is definitely worth a shot here.     

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