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Best Bets for the 2021 March Madness Sweet 16

| March 24, 2021 10:07 am PDT

The first two rounds of March Madness 2021 have been insane and we saw plenty of surprising results.

There’s a 15th seed in the Sweet 16 and a bunch of strong teams are already watching on TV. It’s going to be an epic ride and I can’t wait for the next round.

While we’re waiting for the games, it’s time to check the latest odds and gambling opportunities. In this post, I share my 2021 March Madness Sweet 16 best bets.

All picks include prices and analysis that can help you understand the logic behind them.

Alabama (-5.5) vs. UCLA

  • Pick: Alabama (-5.5); -110

I liked Alabama’s chances to reach the Final Four before the start of March Madness 2021 and the first two rounds just confirmed my expectations that this is a top contender in the East.

That’s hardly a shocker for a second seed, but the first two games of Crimson Tide have been excellent.

The team had a nervous first half in the opener against Iona, but it has been smooth sailing since. This looks like one of the deepest teams left out there and we saw at least eight players play double digits minutes in the first games.

The scoring has been spread nicely around and different squad members have contributed offensively.

Alabama scored 96 in the second round against Maryland and the danger was coming from everywhere, as you can see from the highlights below.

The only concern is that Crimson Tide’s starts have been slow in both games, but once this team finds its rhythm, it becomes unplayable.

I don’t think that UCLA will be able to do much against Alabama either. The Bruins had to go through the First Four and history is not on their side.

No team that started March Madness there has gone further than the Sweet 16 stage since 2011.

One could argue that UCLA had the luck to face 14th seed Abilene in the second round and a struggling BYE to get here in the first place.

Going against an opponent like Alabama would be entirely different and Crimson Tide’s depth should be unstoppable offensively.

The latest odds for the favorite to clear the -5.5 handicap are around the -110 mark and that’s one of the top March Madness Sweet 16 picks at this stage.

Villanova vs. Baylor Under 139

  • Pick: Under 139; -105

Both Baylor and Villanova have been excellent in March Madness 2021. The Bears’ backcourt has been the key so far on both ends of the floor.

The offense is working well and the defense has been suffocating for both Hartford and Wisconsin. What I see as a potential problem is the squad depth. Baylor has the perfect sixth man in Matthew Mayer, but that’s it.

The rest of the bench doesn’t deliver much and that puts too much pressure on the starters which could be an issue against better teams.

That’s why Villanova should be competitive in the upcoming Saturday clash.

The Wildcats have a winning pedigree in the competition and went all the way the last two times they reached this stage. Lifting the NCAA Men’s Division 1 Tournament title might be tougher this time around, but who knows.

Most people were impressed by Villanova’s outside shooting in the victory against North Texas, but I believe that the team’s defense is the key to success.

In fact, I can say the same for both sides which is why the totals line of 139 available at most top March Madness betting sites looks high to me.

I expect a tight and nervy clash between two contenders with a strong defense, so getting -105 for the under is one of the March Madness Sweet 16 best bets.

Oral Roberts (+11) vs. Arkansas

  • Pick: Oral Roberts (+11); -110

There’s no doubt that Oral Roberts is the biggest surprise of March Madness 2021 after becoming only the second 15th seed ever to reach the Sweet 16. The Golden Eagles earned two dramatic victories over Ohio State and Florida to get there.

I would argue that the team’s mental strength has been the main factor so far.

In both games, Oral Roberts showed nerves of steel from the free-throw line and played well on defense when it mattered the most.

On top of that, Kevin Obanor and Max Adams have been exceptional so far. The duo scored more than 50 combined in both games and they haven’t missed a single minute of basketball up to this point.

The problem is the lack of depth and the weak defense, so beating a prolific Arkansas team would be tough. And yet, the underdog is flying right now and should be able to at least put up a fight.

You can get a price of -110 or so for Oral Roberts to stay within the spread of 11 points and that looks like one of the best Sweet 16 betting picks to me.

Florida State vs. Michigan Over 145.5

  • Pick: Over 145.5; -110

Everyone thought that Michigan is the most vulnerable top seed, but the team has been strong so far.

The Wolverines destroyed Texas Southern in the first half and overcame phenomenal individual displays by Cam Thomas and Javonte Smart to beat a tricky LSU side in the second round.

Michigan’s offense has been unstoppable so far and the best thing is that it doesn’t rely one or two players. We saw four guys in the double digits in the first two games and Florida State should be in trouble as well.

The Seminoles have a strong defense, but it will be hard to keep such a formidable opponent at bay.

The good news for Florida State is that the Wolverines are leaky, so I expect to see 70+ points by both sides in this clash.

That’s why the line of 145.5 points is a bit on the low end and I like the odds of -110 for the game to go over that. It’s one of the best bets for Sweet 16 based on what we’ve seen by both sides up to this point.

More March Madness Sweet 16 Betting Tips

Our team is following the NCAA Men’s Division 1 Tournament closely and you can find more posts on the Sweet 16 on our March Madness blog.

We also have a March Madness betting guide that can help you select your own wagers.

If you already have your own Sweet 16 betting picks, feel free to share them in the comments below, I would love to see them! 

Jerry Summer

Jerry Summer has a wide-ranging interest in gambling and the gambling industry. He's made a living out of both playing poker and betting on sports.

The English Premier League and the NBA are among Jerry's primary areas of expertise. He's knowledgeable about many other sports, too, along with poker and several casino games.

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