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Arizona, UNC, Creighton are best bets ATS

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Arizona, UNC, Creighton are best bets ATS

Arizona is the No. 4 betting favorite to win the NCAA championship, behind Connecticut, Purdue and Houston.

Yep, the second-seeded Wildcats are viewed by oddsmakers as more likely to take home the trophy than North Carolina, the top seed in the region.

But they are an even better bet against the spread, according to teamrankings.com, which tracks wagering trends across college basketball.

Want to know how teams have fared against the spread as favorites or underdogs? TeamRankings has it.

How about performance against the spread on at least four days rest? The site has that, too.

And it rates Arizona as one of the best bets left in the tournament: The Wildcats have covered the point spread in 62.9 percent of their games this season (raw record: 22-13).

Of the 16 teams remaining, only Iowa State and Connecticut cover more frequently. (The Cyclones have been the correct call in 71.4 percent of their games while the Huskies handle their betting business two of every three games.)

Arizona is favored by 7.5 points against Clemson on Thursday in the Sweet 16.

The Tigers aren’t bad against the spread (57.6 percent), but we think the trend is your friend.

Take Arizona, give the points and thank us later.

Picks for the Sweet 16 …

(Lines from BetMGM. All times Pacific)

No. 2 Arizona vs. No. 6 Clemson (West)
Tipoff: Thursday at 4:09 p.m. on CBS
Line: Clemson +7.5
Comment: The road-game environment in Crypto.com Arena should not bother Clemson, which won at Alabama and North Carolina this season, but the Tigers have other issues. Both teams possess inside-outside tandems that can wreck defenses: Oumar Ballo and Caleb Love for Arizona (31 points per game combined) and PJ Hall and Joseph Girard (33.8 ppg) for Clemson. But that’s where the similarities end. The Wildcats have a slew of supporting scorers, all capable of hitting big shots. The Tigers aren’t as deep with their playmaking or as stingy with their defense. We see a reasonably close game for 32 minutes before the Wildcats take charge down the stretch.
Pick: Arizona

No. 1 North Carolina vs. No. 4 Alabama (West)
Tipoff: Thursday at 6:39 p.m. (approx.) on CBS
Line: Alabama +4.5
Comment: We are still recovering from Alabama’s victory over Grand Canyon — a game so chaotic, so poorly played that it set the sport back decades. Discipline will be essential for the Crimson Tide on Thursday, for North Carolina possesses not only the offensive efficiency you would expect from the Tar Heels but also a surprisingly stout defense. This has blowout potential, especially if Alabama’s best player, point guard Mark Sears, is anything less than  sensational.
Pick: North Carolina

No. 2 Tennessee vs. No. 3 Creighton (Midwest)
Tipoff: Friday at 7:09 p.m. (approx.) on TBS or truTV
Line: Creighton +2.5
Comment: The wrong team is favored in this matchup. The Bluejays, who survived an overtime affair against Oregon in the second round, are immaculately coached by Greg McDermott and have a three-pronged attack in guards Trey Alexander and Baylor Scheierman and big man Ryan Kalkbrenner. The Vols rely heavily on one player, guard Dalton Knecht (21.1 ppg, 39.1 percent from 3-point range). Granted, Knecht has been a revelation since transferring to Knoxville from Northern Colorado. But Creighton just faced an opponent that possessed both a high-level guard (Oregon’s Jermaine Couisnard) and a dominant big man (N’Faly Dante). The Vols have the former but not the latter.
Pick: Creighton

No. 1 Purdue vs. No. 5 Gonzaga (Midwest)
Tipoff: Friday at 4:39 p.m. on TBS or truTV
Line: Gonzaga +5.5
Comment: The Zags are both a Sweet 16 stalwart — this is their ninth consecutive appearance — and a mild surprise as a No. 5 seed that was on the NCAA bubble in early February. The timing of this matchup is favorable in that coach Mark Few had four days to craft a defensive strategy to contain Purdue center Zach Edey, who’s averaging 26.5 points and 17.5 rebounds in the tournament. Our pick is based on a comparative assessment: A full season of results suggests Gonzaga and Utah State are on the same tier, and Purdue just steamrollered the Aggies (by 39 points). Good luck to the Zags. They need it.
Pick: Purdue





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