March Madness: 4 Sweet 16 Best Bets for Thursday, March 23

March Madness 4 Sweet 16 Best Bets for Thursday, March 23
Bill Christy
Written by Bill Christy
March 22, 2023

21+ to wager. Please Gamble Responsibly. Call 1-800-NEXT-STEP (AZ), 1-800-522-4700 (KS, NV), 1-800-BETS-OFF (IA), 1-800-270-7117 for confidential help (MI). Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER. Call 877-8-HOPENY or text HOPENY (467369) (NY) Call 1-800-327-5050 (MA).

The 2023 NCAA Tournament resumes on Thursday with 4 games that should be must-see TV! Each game is expected to be highly competitive, as each point spread is currently less than 6 points. TBS will carry the East Region games, while CBS will show the West Region.

Ready to keep cashing in with March Madness? We've carefully studied the board and found 4 Best Bets for the Sweet 16 on Thursday, March 23. Best of luck!

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Michigan State Spartans vs Kansas State Wildcats

The Spartans have done what they seemingly always done under Izzo, and that is peaking in March. Even after an early exit from the Big 10 tourney, the Spartans handled the 10-seeded USC Trojans in the opening round by 10. They followed that up with a 9-point upset win over 2-seeded Marquette.

Joey Hauser has been a strong veteran leader through the 1st two games of the tournament. He is averaging 15.5 ppg and 9 rpg. He is shooting 55.5% from long range and nearly perfect from the line (12-13).

Kansas State, like their opponents, were ousted from their conference tourney early. The 80-67 loss to TCU left doubt in many people’s minds when they saw the committee hand them a 3 seed. However, the Wildcats handed 14-seeded Montana State a 77-65 loss and followed that up with an upset win over Kentucky, who was a short favorite even as a 6 seed.

Markquis Nowell has been spectacular thus far. Averaging 22 points and 11.5 assists, Nowell has begun to turn many heads as the Cats marched into the Sweet 16.

Live Odds for Michigan St vs Kansas St

Best Bet: Kansas State Wildcats +2

The oddsmakers and the public seem to doubt the Wildcats once again in this spot. The Spartans are a slight favorite, even as a 7 seed against a 3 here. We believe Nowell and Johnson are going to use that as a motivation here and continue to shock the public.

Kansas State is 15th in the country in defending the perimeter, and that will take away one of MSU’s threats. Look for Nowell to be a difference-maker once again in this opener of the Sweet 16.

Here are some of the key betting trends for this matchup:

  • MSU is 1-6 ATS in their last 7 games against an opponent in the Big 12 conference.
  • KSU is 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
  • KSU is 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games.

Arkansas Razorbacks vs Connecticut Huskies

Arkansas ended their regular season on a 3-game losing streak, and after sneaking by Auburn in the SEC tournament by 3, they were sent packing early by Texas A&M. Given an 8 seed, the Hogs were pitted against the Big 10’s Fighting Illini in the opening round.

They dominated the offensive glass and won the turnover battle to pick up a 10-point win there before colliding with #1 Kansas in the next. With Bill Self still on the mend, the Hogs were able to overcome an 8-point halftime deficit to pull off the upset. Davonte Davis and Ricky Council have combined to average 40 points and 15 boards per game.

UConn has looked like possibly the most polished team in the tournament to this point. That is saying a lot since they had been anything but that all season. They demolished the existing Rick Pitino and his Iona Gaels by 20 in the opening round and then defeated St. Mary’s by 15 in the 2nd round.

Adama Sanogo is making a run for the MOP of the tournament. He is shooting 72% from the field and has put up games of 28-13 and 24-8.

Live Odds for Arkansas vs UConn

Best Bet: Connecticut Huskies -4

We are backing the Huskies in this one. Yes, Arkansas's victory over Kansas was extremely impressive, but Danny Hurley has this UConn team peaking at the perfect time.

They are one of the 3 remaining teams in the tournament that check our boxes for potential national title teams. The others are Houston and Bama. We would be more surprised if UConn lost this one rather than winning by double-digits.

Here are some of the key ATS trends for this battle:

  • Arkansas is 1-4 SU in their last 5 games when playing as the underdog.
  • Arkansas is 5-11-1 ATS in their last 17 Thursday games.
  • UConn is 7-1 ATS in their last 8 games overall.
  • UConn is 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.

Florida Atlantic Owls vs Tennessee Volunteers

FAU is a team not many expected to be in this spot. They were given Memphis in the opening round, and the talk among many analysts was how Memphis could be the team to knock off the 1 seeded Boilermakers. The Owls didn’t take kindly to that talk of being completely dismissed and ended up defeating Memphis on a Nick Boyd layup with only seconds remaining.

They then faced national sweethearts FDU who were fresh off making history by knocking off Purdue as a 16 seed. In a tough back-and-forth battle, the Owls showed poise down the stretch and ousted the Cinderella FDU.

Tennessee had lofty goals early in the season and looked like a true contender at times. After losing to Missouri in the SEC tourney and getting a 4 seed, they were matched with Louisiana in the opening round.

They struggled throughout that Louisiana game and barely came out victorious 58-55. With most of the public backing Duke in the next game, the Vols embraced their underdog role and never let Duke get close enough to take a late lead. Olivier Nkamhoua was tremendous, going for 27 points and 5 boards in the Duke win.

Live Odds for Florida Atlantic vs Tennessee

Best Bet: Florida Atlantic Owls +5.5

While Tennessee relished the underdog role, they won’t have that opportunity in this matchup with FAU. The Owls will be in a familiar role, one that will be similar to the one they played against Memphis.

Tennessee has struggled to be consistent on offense in this tournament, and that will continue here against an FAU team that is 35th in adjusted defensive efficiency. We like the Owls plus the points here.

Here are some of the key betting trends for this Sweet 16 showdown:

  • FAU is 10-3-1 ATS in their last 14 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
  • FAU is 22-10-1 ATS in their last 33 games overall.
  • Tenn is 3-8 ATS in their last 11 games vs. a team with a winning straight-up record.
  • Tenn is 2-7 ATS in their last 9 NCAA Tournament games.

Gonzaga Bulldogs vs UCLA Bruins

Gonzaga has had a bit of an under-the-radar season to this point. Over the past few years, they have been one of the top seeds and given national notoriety. After 3 early season losses, it seemed as though they were not destined for the same type of season.

However, they were able to win their conference tournament and then defeat Bryce Drew’s Grand Canyon Lopes in the opening round. Last game, they faced a tough 6-seeded TCU team that led them by 5 at the half. Drew Timme took over the game and finished with 28 points and 8 boards in the comeback win.

UCLA lost Jaylen Clark at the beginning of March but has gone 4-1 since his loss. Despite losing the Pac-12 title game to Arizona, Mick Cronin has been able to steady the ship and get these Bruins playing with purpose.

They handled the 15-seeded UNC Ashville squad by 33 and then faced a stingy Northwestern team in the round of 32. After holding them to 25 points and leading by 10 at the half, they needed to stave off a late Wildcat comeback bid to eventually win 68-63. Tyger Campbell has yet to play his best, but Jaime Jaquez has looked strong, going for 17 and 24 points, respectively.

Live Odds for Gonzaga vs UCLA

Best Bet: UCLA -1.5

We like the Bruins to continue their march to another Final 4 and potential National Championship game. They have the 2nd best defense that will give the Zags #1 offense troubles.

Couple that with the Zags' inability to hold most opposing offenses in check, and the Bruins could make this one ugly out of the gate. We are playing the Bruins here as our most confident pick of the Sweet 16.

Here are some of the key betting trends for this West Coast battle:

  • Gonzaga is 6-19-2 ATS in their last 27 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
  • Gonzaga is 0-7 ATS in their last 7 NCAA Tournament games.
  • UCLA is 5-1-1 ATS in their last 7 games vs. a team with a winning straight-up record.
  • UCLA is 8-3 ATS in their last 11 NCAA Tournament games.
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21+ to wager. Please Gamble Responsibly. Call 1-800-NEXT-STEP (AZ), 1-800-522-4700 (KS, NV), 1-800-BETS-OFF (IA), 1-800-270-7117 for confidential help (MI). Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER. Call 877-8-HOPENY or text HOPENY (467369) (NY) Call 1-800-327-5050 (MA).

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