NCAA Tournament Saturday second round mega parlay (+1240 odds): UNC to knock off defending champs
We are moving on to the round of 32 on Saturday! While there are half as many games on Saturday as there were on Thursday and Friday, there are still plenty of options for a juicy mega parlay. Let’s take a look.
North Carolina ML (+195)
Gonzaga -13.5 (+135) alternate spread
Parlay odds: +1240
Now, let’s analyze each leg.
North Carolina ML (+195) over Baylor
Baylor’s frontcourt injuries are well documented. North Carolina is a team that can take advantage of that. Standing at 6’10”, Armando Bacot is a focal point of the Tar Heel offense and is a menace on the glass. He ranks in the top 100 in effective FG% while pulling down 30.1% of opposition’s missed shots. He is an elite offensive rebounder, as well, ranking in the top 35 in offensive rebounding rate. Bacot should have plenty of second-chance opportunities against a Baylor team that ranks outside the top 150 in opposing points off second-chance opportunities.
North Carolina has been the most inconsistent team in the country per Haslametrics, but the Tar Heels rank 39th in momentum compared to Baylor — which ranks 231st. The Tar Heels are also a much better free-throw shooting team than Baylor, as they make 77.4% of their free-throws compared to 69.3% for the Bears. North Carolina has won its last 2 games as an underdog away from home and I think that run continues against Baylor.
Gonzaga -13.5 (+135) alternate spread over Memphis
Memphis is playing as well as any team in the country right now, but one could argue the Tigers have not faced a team that is as complete as Gonzaga. The Zags have the size to neutralize Memphis’ DeAndre Williams and Jalen Duren, and they have a senior point guard with postseason experience to lead the offense — which is a key attribute for the quick turnaround that is playing in the round of 32 in the NCAA Tournament.
Gonzaga has the most efficient offense in the country paired with a top 7 defense per KenPom’s adjusted efficiency metrics. While the Zags do not force their opponents into a big number of turnovers, Memphis is careless with the ball and is likely to commit a fair share of unforced turnovers. For reference, the Tigers rank 352nd in turnover rate and 245th in non-steal turnover rate (self-inflicted turnovers). Their recent form is impressive, but these Tigers will likely be overmatched against the Zags. Keep in mind that this game will be played on the west coast and Gonzaga fans travel as well as any fanbase in the country.
I fell victim to the Providence “luck” narrative plenty of times this season, but not this time! The Friars have an inside presence in Nate Watson that will be difficult for Richmond to match. Per Synergy, the Spiders rank in just the 8th percentile in post-up defense, allowing opponents to score 0.959 ppp in the post. Waston is good in the post, as he ranks in the 79th percentile and scores 0.98 ppp in his post-up opportunities.
Tyler Burton is the leading scorer of the Spiders, so slowing him down is key to beating Richmond. Luckily for the Friars, they have Justin Minaya — an elite defender. Synergy ranks Minaya in the 92nd percentile defensively, as he holds opponents to 0.657 ppp on 27.2% shooting. Without Burton’s production, Richmond could become stagnant offensively. I like Providence here.
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