March Madness Sweet 16 Betting Preview

March Madness seems to get better every year, and the 2022 version has not disappointed. Some favorites have dominated, while others have been dumped out much sooner than expected. Every tournament needs a Cinderella, and Saint Peter’s is one of the most heartwarming underdogs in recent memory. This tournament has shown that anything can happen, and US bettors have had a great time trying to predict these games and sometimes making great profits.

The rounds of 64 and 32 were fantastic, but the round of 16 could be the sweetest one yet. With so much still left to play for, there could still be some shocks. That makes it very hard to make betting predictions. Don’t worry, we’re here to help! Our BestAppBet experts have taken a look at the sweet sixteen games to see which picks you should add to your bet slip this week. 

Arkansas vs. Gonzaga

Gonzaga seemingly makes runs in the tournament every year, and the Bulldogs have made it to at least the sweet sixteen in each of the last six tournaments. Before last season Arkansas had not made it past the second round of the NCAA tournament since 1998. The Razorbacks made a shocking run to the elite eight last year before losing to eventual national champion Baylor. 

You may think Gonzaga is the clear favorite, and the betting line shows the team as -9.5 on the spread with BetMGM. But in tournament basketball, elite guards typically lead teams on deep runs. Just ask Gonzaga about having top-five NBA draft pick Jalen Suggs running the show last year as it made the national championship game. Gonzaga boasts the better frontcourt, but Arkansas has enough size to contest with the Bulldogs’ bigs. 

Arkansas has a much better backcourt with three different guards averaging double figures. Expect this game to be close, but Arkansas guard play will find a way to make the winning plays down the stretch. That’s why we’re backing Arkansas to cover the +9.5 spread.

Michigan vs. Villanova

No one is shocked that Michigan basketball finally found a way to get this talent roster to play its best basketball. Barely finding its way into the tournament field as an 11 seed, the Wolverines have pulled off back-to-back upsets to make it this far. Its upset over Tennessee impressed a lot of bettors as many had the Volunteers to win the national championship. 

However, Villanova is a different story and has one of the best coaches in the country in Jay Wright. He knows what a deep tournament run looks like, and Wright can coach circles around Juwan Howard of Michigan. Bookmakers agree with Villanova -5 on the spread with DraftKings. We expect Villanova to be much more disciplined and have a much better game plan after multiple days of preparation, making it an easy pick to come out on top. 

Texas Tech vs. Duke

The Duke Blue Devils hope to send legendary coach Mike Krzyzewski out with one last national championship on his farewell tour. That’s the fairytale for the Blue Devils, but don’t expect it to happen. Duke boasts as much talent as anyone in the tournament but has shown that it’s very beatable. In fact, if not for a big game from soon-to-be top-five NBA draft selection Paolo Banchero, Duke wouldn’t have survived the second round. 

Duke now comes up against Texas Tech, a team loaded with veteran players and one of the country’s best defenses. We think the Blue Devils will come up short when they need big plays. It takes an incredibly rare group to make a deep run with a team full of freshmen and sophomores. While Duke is exciting for recruiting rankings, veteran teams like Texas Tech usually win big games late in the season. Despite this, Texas Tech is only a -1 favorite on the spread. We suggest picking experience over youth and taking this betting line. 

Houston vs. Arizona

Arizona has been a surprise team this year, with not many backing it to reach the sweet sixteen stage. After getting rid of long-time coach Sean Miller, the hire of Tommy Lloyd seems like a perfect fit. Arizona has always been loaded with talent, with Miller being known as a great recruiter, even if his methods were sometimes questionable. However, Miller was never a great in-game X’s and O’s coach. In contrast, Tommy Lloyd, after serving under Mark Few at Gonzaga for 22 years as an assistant, is a fantastic in-game coach. Lloyd inherited great talent, but his coaching has raised the team’s ceiling, possibly to championship heights. 

Houston has become a yearly mid-major team that makes solid runs in the tournament. Houston has made the final four and the sweet sixteen in the last two seasons before this one. While Houston is a solid team, expect Arizona to come away with this one. The spread shows how close this one is, favoring Arizona at -1.5. This could go right to the wire, so perhaps the moneyline is the way to go.

Saint Peter’s vs. Purdue

The Saint Peter’s Peacocks are this year’s Cinderella team after shocking the world-beating, heavily favored Kentucky in the opening round of the NCAA tournament. The team proved it was more than a one-hit-wonder by following that up by beating an outstanding  Murray State team. Murray State finished the season with a 31-2 record compared to the Peacock’s 20-11.

On the other, Purdue is a traditional power five team that is very good but has been prone to upsets this season. The Boilermakers have a considerable size advantage but may struggle with the balanced attack of the Peacocks. Saint Peter’s doesn’t boast any single star player averaging a ton of points but has nine players scoring anywhere from 4.3 ppg to 11.4 ppg. No other 15 seed has made it past the sweet sixteen in tournament history, but there is just something unique about this Peacock team. Despite BetMGM having the team at +12.5 on the spread, we’re following our hearts and expect Saint Peter’s to win once again.

Providence vs. Kansas

This one is simple. While a very good basketball team, Providence is running into an outstanding Kansas team at the wrong time of the year. Kansas may have the best guard trio in the country in Ochai Agbaji, Christian Braun, and Remy Martin. Not only that, Agbaji and Martin are seniors, and Braun is a junior. This trio has looked like they are on a mission and expect the team to win and cover the -7.5 spread.

North Carolina vs. UCLA

A matchup of traditional blue blood teams dating way back, this game has all the history any basketball fan could want. North Carolina pulled off an upset of defending national champion Baylor last weekend, yet it almost let a 20 plus point lead slip away. The Tar Heels squeezed through in overtime. 

While UCLA has had an up and down year, it has a roster filled with veterans. The team kept pretty much everyone that made it to last year’s final four. The Bruins look like the best team left in its region and we expect it to find a hot shooting streak halfway through the second half to pull away from the Tar Heels. Backing the over at 141.5 could return a tidy profit if UCLA gets going. 

Iowa State vs. Miami

No matter what the result of the game is, one thing is guaranteed from this matchup: There will be at least one double-digit seed in the elite eight. The difference is that Iowa State has beaten an LSU team in the middle of all kinds of drama and scandal. Then it beat a Wisconsin team that saw one of their best players in Chucky Hepburn go down injured in the first half. On the other side, Miami has outplayed and beaten two excellent teams in USC and Auburn. While this one should be close, as Miami only has a -2.5 advantage on the spread, we think the Hurricanes will win by three points or more.

Betting on March Madness in the US

The great thing about March Madness is no one knows what’s coming next! So while our experts have picked out great tips, you can bet on pretty much any market you want online in many US states. Since 2018, when the US Supreme Court struck down the PASPA, states have been legalizing online sports betting.

States have different rules when it comes to college betting. Some restrict wagers on in-state teams or betting on player props. Others, like Pennsylvania, don’t have any restrictions on college betting at all. Be sure to check the laws of wherever you are playing. If you are in a state with legalized online sports betting, you can download a sportsbook app and place wagers on March Madness today!

Author: Brandy Simmmons