March Madness Sweet Sixteen Predictions 2023: Which Teams Will Reach The Sweet 16?

Drake Bulldogs guard Garrett Sturtz (3) reacts after making a shot against the Bradley Braves during the second half in the finals of the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament at Enterprise Center.
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Caleb Wilfinger


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Deputy Editor for Pickswise with years of experience handicapping and giving out winning picks. Lover of all US sports and Southampton FC.

March Madness is finally here! After a wild and unpredictable regular season, this year’s NCAA tournament could be one of the best in recent memory. There is one question that many basketball fans ask before filling out their bracket each year: Which upsets will bust my bracket?

Not only have #15 seeds reached the second weekend in each of the last 2 seasons, but a double-digit seed has advanced to the Sweet 16 in 14 straight tournaments and 35 of 37 overall. Furthermore, 4 teams seeded 10th or worse have made it in each of the past 2 years. It pays to pick upsets and look for value with double-digit seeds, and I expect that trend to continue this March.

Let’s take a look at the odds and my best bets for which double-digit seeds will reach the Sweet 16 in March Madness 2023, but make sure you also check out our March Madness picks for every game throughout the NCAA tournament.

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March Madness Sweet Sixteen odds

Odds available at FanDuel Sportsbook at time of publishing. Only odds for #12-15 seeds are listed. 

Drake (+500)
VCU (+610)
Charleston (+630)
Oral Roberts (+920)
Kent State (+570)
Furman (+800)
Iona (+980)
Louisiana (+1260)
UC Santa Barbara (+1200)
Montana State (+1300)
Kennesaw State (+1600)
Grand Canyon (+1600)
Princeton (+1300)
Colgate (+1500)
Vermont (+1800)
UNC Asheville (+4000)

March Madness 2023 Sweet Sixteen best bet: Drake Bulldogs (+500)

This is one of my favorite bets on the board for this tournament. Drake is one of the most experienced teams in the field, as the Bulldogs have 4 fifth-year starters plus the Missouri Valley Player of the Year in Tucker DeVries. This is a team that I had high hopes for coming into the season but struggled mightily out of the gate and seemed to be in disarray in early January. However, since that point Drake has won 16 of its last 18 games, including a dominant showing in the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament. Per BartTorvik, the Bulldogs have been one of the 15 best teams in the nation over the last month — going 8-1 against the spread in those contests. The same can’t be said for Miami, as the Hurricanes have stumbled over the past month and fell to a #5 seed in the process.
Not only does Miami have serious concerns defensively, the Hurricanes also might be missing big man Norchad Omier — giving Drake a noticeable leg up in this game. And if the Bulldogs pull off the small upset (currently +120 underdogs), they will either be short underdogs against Indiana or favorites over Kent State. This gives the 5/1 price really solid value compared to a mechanical parlay on Drake. I’ll be backing the Bulldogs in a big way this week.

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March Madness 2023 Sweet 16 longshot bet: Furman Paladins (+800)

Outside of Drake, it’s pretty clear to me that Furman is the best value on the board in this market. The 13th-seeded Paladins are a deep and experienced group that shoot a ton of 3s and have the offense (33rd in adjusted efficiency at KenPom) to keep up with most teams in the field. Per KenPom, Furman has roughly a 35% chance to knock off Virginia, and #4 seeds with a 70% or lower chance to reach the Round of 32 represent 8 of the 16 first-round losses for #4 seeds in the last 20 years. Sitting at 34th in KenPom with an adjusted offensive efficiency outside the top 75, the Cavaliers profile closer to a #8 seed and shouldn’t be 6-point favorites over this veteran Furman group that has played with each other for 3+ years now.

Assuming the Paladins are able to knock off Virginia, they would either meet San Diego State or Charleston in Round 2. Furman’s defense is its weakness, but that wouldn’t matter as much against a slow-paced and offensively challenged Aztecs team. And if they get matched up against Charleston, that game would likely be hovering around a pick’em price — or potentially Charleston as a short favorite. Either way, the 8/1 payout would yield a better reward than if you were to do a money line rollover on Furman. The Paladins are certainly worth a shot at this price.

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