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Elite 8 Betting Preview: 3 Best Bets for Saturday, March 30: Newton Should Slice Up the Illini

Earnest Horn
Written by Earnest Horn
March 29, 2024
Elite 8 Betting Preview 3 Best Bets for Saturday, March 30

Two teams will punch their tickets to the NCAA Men’s Final Four Saturday night. In the East Regional final, the No. 1 seed UConn Huskies (34-3) faces off against the No. 3 seed Illinois Fighting Illini (29-8) at 6 p.m. In the West Regional final, the No. 4 Alabama Crimson Tide (24-11) take on the No. 6 seed Clemson Tigers (24-11) at 9 p.m.

While both UConn and Illinois have made NCAA Championship game appearances, neither Alabama nor Clemson have advanced beyond the Elite 8 round. With so much riding on these two games, what should bettors expect? We’ll cover our top three bets for the Saturday Elite 8 games below.

Best Bet: Clemson vs. Alabama OVER 164.5 Points

To reach the Elite 8, Clemson relied on their defense. The Tigers held No. 11 New Mexico, No. 3 Baylor, and No. 2 Arizona to 15 points below their season averages in three straight wins. On the year, Clemson is holding opponents to only 70.5 points per outing.

Now, the Tigers face an Alabama squad that leads the nation in scoring at 90.7 points per game. The Crimson Tide’s frenetic pace has frustrated squads as Alabama has scored 270 total points in victories over No. 13 Charleston, No. 12 Grand Canyon, and No. 1 North Carolina.

Bettors should expect a fast-paced game Saturday that favors Alabama’s preferred style. A final score over 165 points should be expected as these teams are evenly matched and shoot over 46% from the field.

Best Bet: UConn -8.5

UConn has been the most dominant college team in the country this season. The Huskies have dropped only three games this season: Kansas (a team that due to injuries lost in the second round of this year’s tournament), Creighton (a team that advanced to the Sweet 16), and Seton Hall (a team that advanced to the NIT Semis).

While Illinois presents a tough matchup for UConn, expect the Huskies to continue dominating the field and advance to the Final Four. UConn’s 10th-ranked scoring defense is too much for the Illini and will prevent Illinois from scoring anywhere near their 84.4 season average.

Bettors should bet with confidence that UConn makes a statement with a double-figure victory Saturday. Lay the points with the Huskies!

Best Bet: Clemson +3

Picking Clemson to stay within 3 points of the Tide is the best bet for Saturday’s last contest. The Tigers dropped five of their 11 games in close fashion, finishing within three points of those opponents.

This will be the second time that Clemson and Alabama have squared off. The Tigers dropped an 85-77 road contest to the Crimson Tide on November 28. However, both teams look significantly different since that late November contest.

Finally, expect nerves to play a role in this contest. With both teams having never advanced this far, the weight of the moment will catch up to both Clemson and Alabama Saturday. Barring an unforeseen injury, these two teams are evenly matched and should provide a back-and-forth contest that viewers will enjoy.

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