Sweet Sixteen Picks + Analysis

Of course changes have to made. When a golfer gets cold on the greens, he audibles to a new putter. I’ve made a call to my bullpen and substituted my Dell computer in for my Mac. The Mac was sleek and sexy but this baby is my original work horse. My OG writing instrument. Just as Arthur unsheathed the sword from the stone, this computer has been wielded through many suns and moons to conquer and subjugate bookies across the continental US, as well as a few abroad. To be transparent, the initial switch was born more out of necessity than shear abandonment. I’m cheap as hell, and the incessant pestering of my virus protection software demanding a renewal was simply not going to break me down. I’m clearly prone to gamble and my computer has remained virus-free thus far, so hopefully here’s to another month of dodging inter-web criminality.

This sporting event is so gosh damn ridiculous. After going 12-24 ATS, I’m tempted to adopt a strategy that involves placing large amounts of cash on the opposite of the side I feel best about. There’s a reason professionals shy away from this tournament but I’m too much of a fan to not throw myself into it. On a positive note, I did hit the eight team moneyline parlay I threw out in last week’s preview. Moneyline parlays are a new discovery for me, and I have to say I’ve become a tad obsessed. Here’s my ML parlay for this week, and I have to admit this one tastes delicioso:

Zags (-350), Tennessee (-125), Duke (-345), Kentucky (-160)

$100 bet pays $385.08

This is a hell of a Sweet 16, every single one of these matchups has intrigue. I gave away some cash last week, but this week I’m out for blood.

Gonzaga -7.5 vs Florida State

I’m man of principles. I live within a moral code. Structure to your life is not a bad thing, it can help guide you. Its in my betting creed to lean heavy toward a team with bad blood. I’m talking about revenge spots. Last year FSU knocked out the Zags in this very round (and they say they don’t seed teams with possible matchups in mind). The Zags were good then, but they’re better now. Not to mention they didn’t have one of their best players in the lineup due to injury.

In my opinion, the Zags are quietly the best team in the country. I’m sticking to my guns in a few plays this week, and this is one of them. I picked the Zags to cut down the nets in my bracket and I haven’t had an ounce of buyer’s remorse while watching them play in the first weekend.

A lot of people are high on FSU in this game. Fade the public. Their key to success has been being bigger and more athletic than the vast majority of the teams they play but that won’t be the case in this game. Gonzaga has serious weapons in their front court.

Tennessee -1.5 vs Purdue

I don’t know what we’ve done to displease the sporting god’s, but even in victory, Tennessee is just incapable of making it easy. I have to say, March is a whole different animal for me when the Power T is making it’s way through the bracket. I can’t remember the last time I felt nerves watching something like I did at the end of that Iowa game. I was physically short of breath.

That being said, the more I think about it, I’m not nervous for this game. In fact, that -1.5 looks like a damn lay up. A gift from above. A get rich quick scheme that could actually work. I don’t care how many points Carsen Edwards scored against Villanova, the vols aren’t losing to effing Purdue. I told you last week that Nova was not even remotely close to the team they were the last few seasons, that win doesn’t impress me much.

Speaking on the subject of Carsen Edwards, Lamonte Turner seems to have taken the responsibility upon himself to lock him down. For as much as people talk about Turner’s ability to make clutch shots, they don’t talk as much as they should about his on-ball defense. Its fantastic. Carsen Edwards is known to have a tendency to shoot Purdue out of games and coming off that performance, he’s going to shoot like he’s got the greenlight from everywhere. As far as Haarms, he’s of no concern to me. The guy looks like a damn idiot.

All the disrespect the vols have gotten this week is just fuel to the fire. Virginia, we’re coming for your preppy asses.

Michigan -2 vs TTU and Under 126

You know the tournament has driven me to a weird mental state when I start betting totals. So much for officially retiring from totals.

I’m trying not to over-think it. Being contrarian has served me well overall in my betting career but it sure as hell didn’t last weekend. The under seems so obvious. TTU is the best defensive team in the country. They held an explosive Buffalo offense to under 60 points. And Michigan’s entire style of play is predicated on them playing lockdown defense. The Wolverines also avoid fouling which bodes well for the under when free throws are kept to a minimum.

Ultimately, I’m siding with Michigan. I know they have what it takes to handle playing in this spot. Texas Tech made it to the Elite Eight last year but I don’t recall them beating anyone like this Wolverine team. After seeing Kansas, Kansas St, and Iowa St, the Big12 doesn’t have a whole lot of respect from me right now.

Virginia vs Oregon +8.5

Gah I wanted to pick Virginia. This feels like a trap. But here I am, going against the better angels of my nature. How do you not take Oregon?? Its too many points right? I’m all for fading recency bias but at what point is this level of play beyond recency? At ten straight wins, and winning in impressive fashion I might add, this is more sustained success now. I understand they made some lineup adjustments and ever since then they’ve been off to the races. Basketball is a momentum sport more than perhaps any other and this Ducks team is on fire. They’ve won me over. It was only a couple years ago that this program reached the final four, so the program isn’t fighting against history here. UVA probably still wins but I like the Ducks to at least cover.

Michigan State vs LSU +6

I called for LSU to go to the final four, and I’m not backing down now. Not only are they going to beat Sparty, Duke is next. In fact, I still feel like the SEC has a strong possibility of having three teams play in Minnesota.

Let me go ahead and put this out there. If the Vols don’t cut the nets down in Minneapolis, I’m official pulling for the cheating LSU Tigers.

The hypocrisy in college basketball is downright appalling and the chastised team from Baton Rouge winning it all would be freaking hilarious. Do you ACC elitist genuinely believe your blue blood programs aren’t cheating? Or do you think Duke and all their top recruits and the fake college in Chapel Hill are doing everything above board? Give me a break.

North Carolina vs Auburn +5 and Over 165

Alright I’m a grown man that’s mature enough to admit when I was wrong, and I was wrong about Auburn. I was convinced that their level of shooting couldn’t continue and their still may be a game when their trey balls aren’t falling, but at this point I’m done fighting it, and more importantly I’m done betting against them.

The NBA game has had an effect on basketball at all levels, and kids now-a-days are made different. The three ball is a viable way to make a living offensively on a relatively consistent basis. You can’t be stubborn, you have to evolve with the times or get left behind.

Bruce Pearl in an interview suggested gamblers take the over in this game. With the blistering pace this game is sure to feature, I’m taking stock in his suggestion.

Duke -7 vs Virginia Tech 

As much as I’ve been anti-Duke, I have a confession to make. It makes me feel dirty even putting it out there, but this group of players are extremely entertaining to watch and I’m actually looking forward to seeing them play this weekend. I watched an extended clip on Instagram that was essentially Duke’s four stellar freshman interviewing each other, and between the Fortnite banter and talk of girls, you realize these guys really are just kids. And seemingly likable kids at that.

Duke no doubt is flawed and I think the book is out on how to defend them. Clog the lane, and just let them take shots from the outside. But this team is 100 percent Illuminati. How UCF wasn’t able to close that game out, even with the horrendous officiating, was an all-time choke job. Duke will come out and take care of business against Virginia Tech. Especially with a fire lit under their ass from almost dropping that last game.

If LSU plays them in the Elite eight, I think the Tigers get them. If Izzo’s Michigan State faces them, you can go ahead and pencil the Blue Devils in the Final Four. Tom Izzo is 1-11 against Coach K and that’s not a trend likely to be bucked this time around.

Kentucky -3 vs Houston 

I was tempted to go with the Cougars. They play with swag and confidence and are a hell of a team when they get it going. People forget they were one big time shot by a Michigan player not going in from possibly making a deep run last year.

But alas, PJ Washington is set to return. And Kentucky’s talent and size should prove to be too much for Houston to handle. They aren’t very big themselves.

To my Kentucky friends: I want to know how scared you are to receive that third L in a row from my Vols if you guys make it to Minneapolis. I’m never going to let any of you live it down when it happens. This is our time.

Go Big Orange.

Follow me on Twitter: @AdamRobertson13

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