March Madness betting: Best bets for the Elite Eight on Monday and Tuesday
Following a four-day break in between rounds, the NCAA Tournament resumed on Saturday and Sunday, when Elite Eight bids were determined. Action now continues on Monday and Tuesday, when spots in the Final Four will be handed out. Will March Madness continue to be mad, resulting in some improbable berths in the national semifinals? Let’s take a look at our three best bets across the slate of four games.
Baylor Bears -7.5 over Arkansas Razorbacks
One thing is for sure: Arkansas will have to be a lot better than it was in rounds two and three if it wants upset Baylor and book a spot in the Final Four. Heck, the Razorbacks will have to be a lot better if they even want to cover 7.5 points. They just barely scraped past Texas to reach the Sweet 16 and then outlasted No. 15 seed Oral Roberts on Saturday. Those wins came by a combined four points. Now the competition level ratchets up dramatically in the form of Baylor, which is the No. 2 overall seed behind Gonzaga. The Bears have made mincemeat out of Hartford, Wisconsin, and Villanova, although ‘Nova at least managed to be competitive for a while. Led by Jared Butler, MaCio Teague, and Davion Mitchell, head coach Scott Drew’s team is looking scary on both ends of the floor.
Houston Cougars vs. Oregon State Beavers Under 129.5
Houston is the better team and should be able to end Oregon State’s run and advance. However, giving 7.5 points to an on-fire Beavers squad is dangerous. A better bet is probably the under, as both teams have been putting the clamps down on defense. It’s hard to see Oregon State keeping up its 38.9 shooting percentage from three-point range during the Big Dance. Houston is holding its opponents to 29 percent three-point shooting this season—good for ninth in the country. That is nothing new for this program, which has always excelled at defending the perimeter. Ask Syracuse how tough it is to solve UH’s defense; the Orange scored a grand total of 46 points in the Sweet 16. It’s a good thing the Cougars are adept at that end of the floor, too, because their offense is nothing special.
Gonzaga Bulldogs -9 over USC Trojans
Are we rolling toward a No. 1 vs. No. 2 Gonzaga vs. Baylor showdown in the National Championship? There is still a long way to go, but they are looking every bit like the best two teams in the country. The Zags, of course, are the very best; they are 29-0 and three wins away from completing a historic undefeated season. Norfolk State, Oklahoma, and Creighton did not even come close to staying on the court with Gonzaga in the first three rounds of the NCAA Tournament. USC is in incredible form, yes, but the competition level has been unspectacular. That changes in a big way on Tuesday. Look for head coach Mark Few’s juggernaut to pick up another double-digit victory.