March Madness Sweet 16 Parlay: 2024 NCAA Tournament Parlay Picks for Thursday, March 28

Mar 24, 2024; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Connecticut Huskies center Donovan Clingan (32) reacts against the Northwestern Wildcats in the second round of the 2024 NCAA Tournament at the Barclays Center.
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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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The March Madness round of 32 may have been a bit chalky, but that means we should have highly competitive Sweet 16 matchups when the NCAA Tournament returns to action on Thursday night. Clemson vs Arizona kicks off the action in what should be a fun battle between experienced and efficient teams. San Diego State vs UConn is a rematch of last season’s title game. Oddsmakers expect Alabama vs North Carolina to be a scoring frenzy, and Illinois vs Iowa State seems like a complete tossup between the most efficient offense and the most efficient defense in the country. 

There are a couple spots that stand out to me on Thursday’s slate. While they are too juicy to play as single bets, parlaying them together provides much more attractive odds and an affordable way to invest in both of these teams ahead of their Sweet 16 matchups.

Before we get started, don’t forget to check our college basketball picks for every NCAA Tournament game through the championship.

March Madness Sweet 16 Thursday Parlay

Odds courtesy of BetMGM Sportsbook at the time of publishing

UConn 1H ML -300

North Carolina ML -190

March Madness parlay Odds: +103

UConn Huskies 1H ML over San Diego State Aztecs (-300)

The Huskies started their NCAA Tournament games with a great bit of intensity on both ends of the floor. They led Stetson 52-19 at halftime in the 1st round and followed that up with a 40-18 lead over Northwestern in the 2nd round. In fact, the Huskies controlled the early half of the national title game last year against San Diego State, leading 36-24 at the intermission. 

UConn’s half-court offense is truly a thing of beauty. The Huskies score 1.03 points per possession in those sets (6th nationally) thanks to a continuous myriad of ball screens, cuts and dribble hand-offs that head coach Dan Hurley creatively installed into the playbook. It takes a while to develop, but UConn has an incredible ability to confuse and wear its opponents down on a majority of its possessions — often leading to wide-open attempts at the rim for Donovan Clingan, Tristen Newton or Alex Karaban. Like last season’s national title game, expect the Huskies to find high-percentage shots early and often against San Diego State’s defense — especially via off-ball cuts and dribble hand-offs.

Read our full San Diego State Aztecs vs UConn Huskies predictions

North Carolina Tar Heels ML over Alabama Crimson Tide (-190)

Alabama produces offense at the rim at a top 60 rate nationally according to Synergy, but that is an area North Carolina dominates defensively. The Tar Heels yield shots at the rim at a rate that ranks in the 6th percentile, and their efficiency against those shots is in the 95th percentile. In other words, the Heels don’t give up many shots at the rim and opponents don’t score efficiently on the little amount of near proximity shots they get. That is going to force Alabama to shoot a high volume of perimeter shots, where the Tide have knocked down less than 30% of their attempts in March.

On the other end of the floor, Alabama is not equipped to effectively limit Armando Bacot in the post nor on the boards. The Tide’s frontcourt is prone to foul trouble, which is the exact type of profile Bacot thrives against. Furthermore, there is another glaring weakness for Alabama in this matchup: isolation defense. According to Synergy, the Tide are in the 21st percentile against isolation sets, which makes them extremely vulnerable against RJ Davis — who averages more than 21 points per game. For what it’s worth, Latrell Wrightsell Jr. is Alabama’s best iso defender and his status is uncertain for Thursday’s game because of a head injury. If he is out, not only does Alabama lose its best perimeter defender but also a 44% 3-point shooter.

Read our full Alabama Crimson Tide vs North Carolina Tar Heels predictions

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