March Madness Predictions 2024: Men's NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 Picks

March 12, 2024; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Gonzaga Bulldogs forward Anton Watson (22) celebrates making a basket against the Saint Mary's Gaels during the first half in the finals of the WCC Basketball Championship at Orleans Arena.
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Sam Avellone


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Long-time suffering Browns fan born and raised in the greater Cleveland, Ohio area who now resides in SEC country. University of South Carolina alum. Sports handicapper for close to 10 years with a primary focus on NCAAB while enjoying NFL, PGA, NCAAF, NBA, and Soccer. For Sam Avellone media enquiries, please email
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There are multiple ways to bet on March Madness. You can bet standard game lines, player props (depending on your state laws) or futures. Not only that, but there are different types of future bets. The most popular are the National Champion and Final Four markets, but you can also invest in teams to make runs to the Sweet 16 – which is what I am going to focus on in this article. While it might be a bit of an exotic market, betting Sweet 16 futures only ties your money up for the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament rather than for multiple weeks. 

Make sure to check Pickswise every day during March Madness for college basketball picks, analysis and other tools you may need to make your bets and fill out your brackets – including our full March Madness 68-team bracket guide.

2024 March Madness Sweet 16 Betting Odds

Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook at the time of publishing. 

  • Marquette -135
  • Kentucky -135
  • Baylor -125
  • Illinois -120
  • Duke -115
  • Alabama +110
  • Kansas +125
  • Gonzaga +135
  • BYU +170
  • Saint Mary’s +180
  • Florida +190
  • Texas Tech +220
  • Wisconsin +220
  • New Mexico +240
  • Texas +250
  • San Diego State +280
  • Michigan State +350
  • Clemson +380
  • South Carolina
  • Nevada
  • Mississippi State +450
  • Nebraska +500
  • Oregon +550

The list above contains what I would consider to be the “sweet spot” for betting the Sweet 16. Due to the volatility of the event, I would not recommend laying more than -150 on a team to make it to the Sweet 16, which removes all of the #1 seeds, most of the #2 seeds, and a couple other top-4 seeds that oddsmakers clearly respect. 

It is interesting to see Marquette (-135) as the lone #2 seed with odds longer than -150. Given the injury uncertainties with Tyler Kolek, Oso Ighodaro and Stevie Mitchell, the Golden Eagles could present some value if you are ahead of positive injury news. A second-round matchup against either Florida (+190) or the winner of Boise State (+1000) vs Colorado (+1100) is unlikely to intimidate Marquette given its success in the Big East Tournament without Kolek and in non-conference play earlier in the season. The more I look at it, the more difficult of a draw it feels for the Gators.

It is somewhat of a surprise to see Alabama (+110) with plus-money odds, but the Tide seemed destined for a matchup with Saint Mary’s (+180) in the Round of 32 – which is not the best-case scenario for the fast-paced Tide given the Gaels’ ability to slow games down to an absolute grind. Speaking of pace, BYU (+170) is in a similar position as Alabama in that it is matched up with a team that plays at a much slower tempo. However, many consider Duquesne (+1100) to be overseeded. If true, a potential matchup with Illinois (-120) in the Round of 32 would be wildly entertaining to watch given the nature of BYU and Illinois’ offenses.

Mountain West Conference representatives New Mexico (+240) and Nevada (+450) are the only double-digit seeds with odds shorter than +500 to make the Sweet 16. It makes sense considering they are favorites over their first-round opponents Clemson (+380) and Dayton (+750), respectively.

See our expert’s NCAA Tournament winner predictions for March Madness, including a +4000 longshot!

March Madness Sweet 16 Best Bets

To reach the Sweet 16: Gonzaga Bulldogs (+135)

The Gonzaga Bulldogs drew what seems to be a popular upset pick in McNeese State, but the Cowboys have not played a team anywhere near the skill level and offensive prowess as Gonzaga – a top 5 offense in efficiency and eFG% in the last month per BartTorvik. The best wins on McNeese’s resume were against UAB, VCU and Michigan – all teams outside the top 55 in KenPom’s efficiency and top 90 in eFG%. Furthermore, the Cowboys have not played a single team in the top 175 since mid-December, while Gonzaga earned wins at Saint Mary’s, San Francisco (semi-away) and Kentucky in the last 5 weeks. 

With a top 12 mark in turnover rate, the ‘Zags are not known to give the ball away very often. Point guard Ryan Nembhard has ample NCAA Tournament experience from his days at Creighton and carries a top 80 assist rate in Gonzaga’s uptempo offense. The ‘Zags have multiple key pieces that prosper from Nembhard’s court vision, including 3 scorers in Nolan Hickman, Ben Gregg and Anton Watson – each of whom have postseason experience and an eFG% north of 56%. They also have Graham Ike in the post. He is incredible on the glass and draws more than 5 fouls per 40 minutes, which may prove to be a problem for CJ Felder – McNeese’s best post defender. Furthermore, Ike likely won’t have to chase Antavion Collum around on the perimeter defensively with Gregg and Watson playing alongside him.

Assuming Gonzaga beats McNeese, it will meet either Kansas or Samford in the Round of 32. Both of those matchups seem favorable for the ‘Zags. The Jayhawks are banged up and the Bulldogs did not perform well when they stepped up in class against non-conference opponents early in the season. Gonzaga’s offense figures to be too much for either of them to match. At plus-money odds, this feels like a bit of value given the postseason experience of coach Mark Few.

Expert March Madness picks to reach the Final Four at +750 and +1200 odds

To reach the Sweet 16: Mississippi State Bulldogs (+450)

The Bulldogs struggle with turnovers at times and they don’t shoot well consistently from the 3-point line or the free-throw line. However, they are a physical team that defends well, creates a high rate of second-chance opportunities via offensive rebounds and has big wins over the likes of Tennessee (twice), Auburn, Washington State and Northwestern. This team’s core has played together for a few seasons now and is full of experience, outside of freshman Josh Hubbard – who can heat up and take over a game at any point. It has 3 of the top 15 defenders in the SEC per EvanMiya’s DBPR, while Tolu Smith and Cameron Matthews crash the boards with intensity. 

Michigan State is going to be a tough 1st opponent, but the Izzo Train might be a tad overhyped this season. The Spartans have just 2 wins over top 25 teams per KenPom’s current rankings, lost 5 of their last 7, and are outside the top 320 in eFG% over the last month according to BartTorvik. Assuming the Bulldogs get by the Spartans, they will likely draw the North Carolina Tar Heels in the Round of 32. This is obviously a much more difficult matchup for Mississippi State, but with short rest and little preparation time, the Tar Heels could be overwhelmed with the Bulldogs’ physicality.

Take a look at the bracket and NCAA Tournament schedule


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