We came into the NCAA Tournament thinking it was wide open, and the first two days of action did nothing to suggest otherwise.
Big upsets have already busted many brackets as we head into the Round of 32.
This is my favorite round to bet on in the NCAA Tournament.
While everyone gets excited for the first two days, I believe we get some better matchups to exploit in Round 2.
And remember, you don’t just have to bet sides and totals. There are many different ways to attack tournament games.
Here are a couple of plays I like for the Round of 32 on Saturday:
Arkansas-Kansas is a really intriguing second-round matchup.
If you look at the metrics, these are two strong defensive teams.
They also, however, are two teams that don’t mind playing at a fast pace.
Arkansas and Kansas both rank in the top 70 in adjusted tempo on KenPom and in the top 100 on BartTorvik.
They are also similar because each team can play slower, but when its opponent likes to run up and down the court, they tend to do the same.
Bottom line is I expect a game that features a faster tempo with lots of possessions.
It’s also a good matchup for an athletic Arkansas team.
Kansas’ issue is stopping quick guards off the dribble, which has been apparent in its games against Texas this season.
The Longhorns went 2-1 against Kansas, scoring an average of 77 points.
Texas topped 70 in all three of those games.
Lastly, Arkansas shoots a ton of foul shots.
The Razorbacks rank seventh in free-throw scoring rate and 25th in free-throw attempts per game, according to KenPom.
And Texas, a team similar to Arkansas, averaged 18 free-throw attempts in its three games against Kansas.
I think Arkansas can upset the Jayhawks on Saturday, but the spread doesn’t offer much value.
Instead, I’m taking the Hogs’ team total over in what should be an exciting back-and-forth game.
I don’t bet a ton of parlays, but taking a shot on Missouri and Duke just to win their games at plus money is worth it.
I got this parlay +124 at FanDuel, but anything +115 or higher should be available.
Let’s start with Missouri.
The Tigers have been undervalued all season because people like me had them finishing near the bottom of the SEC.
We saw that in Round 1 when Missouri was mispriced as an underdog against Utah State.
Now the Tigers will face Cinderella Princeton, so Missouri should be on upset alert, right?
Typically when we have a huge upset in the tournament, like a 15-seed beating a 2-seed, the lower seed plays very well.
That wasn’t the case on Thursday when Princeton beat Arizona.
Princeton pulled an all-time upset despite shooting poorly from the field.
The Tigers shot 40.6 percent overall, 16 percent from 3-point range and 60 percent from the foul line.
I’ve never seen a low seed shoot that poorly and still win.
Princeton’s victory was more about Arizona not playing well.
Look for Missouri’s athletic defense to close out on the Tigers’ 3-point shooters and create turnovers as they advance to the Sweet 16.
Duke is going to be a huge public play, but I don’t care.
The Blue Devils are flat-out the better team right now.
Duke’s performance against a good Oral Roberts squad was very impressive, while Tennessee blew an 18-point lead and had to hold on to beat Louisiana.
The issue with Tennessee is the Volunteers go through stretches in which they can’t score.
They are also missing point guard Zakai Zeigler.
Those two factors will be the difference on Saturday. Look for the surging Blue Devils to remain hot and get the win.
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