If you like upsets, this NCAA Tournament isn’t for you. It’s only the second time in tournament history that the top three seeds in all four regions all reached the Sweet 16. The only “Cinderella” left is Pac-12 Tournament champion Oregon. We recommend an March Madness parlay on the Ducks game Thursday with Houston-Kentucky on Friday.
2019 March Madness Sweet 16 Betting Parlay Picks
No. 12 Oregon vs. No. 1 Virginia (-8.5, 119)
- When: Thursday, 10 PM ET (TBS)
This is going to be a defensive slugfest. Oregon is the only seed above the 5-line to reach the Sweet 16.
The Ducks have been magnificent on that end of the court in a 10-game winning streak. They have held both NCAA Tournament foes to 54 points – it was 73-53 over UC Irvine on Sunday. Kenny Wooten blocked seven shots, one off the UO tournament record set two years earlier by Jordan Bell, to go with 11 points. Payton Pritchard scored 18 points. Louis King added 16 points.
Oregon has now won at least one game in its last six NCAA Tournament appearances. On Sunday, Dana Altman tied Ernie Kent as the winningest coach in Oregon history. Altman and Kent (1997-10) both own 235 wins on the Oregon bench. The Ducks are averaging 26.1 wins per season during Altman’s tenure.
On Feb. 23, Oregon was 15-12 (10th place in the Pac-12 at 6-8). Then came the streak of 10 wins in a row. After allowing UCLA to score 62 points in the second half, the Ducks have held nine of their last 10 opponents to less than 62 points for the entire game. On the season, Oregon ranks 12th nationally, allowing just 62.5 points per game.
During the 10-game winning streak, the Ducks are outscoring their opponents by nearly 18 points per game (72.1 to 54.2). Opponents are shooting 34.9 percent from the field and 23.0 percent from three during that span. During the 10-game winning streak, Pritchard is averaging 16.3 points per game with 54 assists, 25 steals, and just 19 turnovers.
Virginia is 2-0 all-time vs. Oregon. The Wahoos haven’t had much trouble in this tournament, either, other than the first half of their opener. UVA advanced with a 63-51 win over No. 9 Oklahoma. Virginia shot 48 percent from the field while holding Oklahoma to 37 percent shooting. UVA won the battle on the boards, 36-39, and outscored the Sooners 32-12 in the paint. Mamadi Diakite had a team-high 14 points, nine rebounds and added three blocked shots. UVA has tied the program record for wins and is in the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2016.
No. 3 Houston vs. No. 2 Kentucky (-3, 135.5)
- When: Friday, 9:59 PM ET (TBS)
Houston just outscored Georgia State and Ohio State by 45 points combined in the first two games of this tournament. The Cougars have lost three games all season, and Corey Davis Jr. is averaging 23.5 PPG (38 percent from the 3-point line) in the Big Dance.
The 74-59 win over Ohio State marked the Cougars’ 33rd win of the season – breaking the school’s season record set by the 1983-84 team. That was the last Houston squad to reach the Sweet 16. Davis Jr., posted his 13th game with 20 or more points, finishing with 21. Senior guard Galen Robinson, Jr., who was held to just one point in the win over Georgia State on Friday, came back with 13 points tonight to go with five assists and six steals. The six steals are a new career high for Robinson, who set a new program record by playing in his 135th game.
After Ohio State went up 25-23 with 8:17 to go, Houston went on an 8-0 run to take a lead they would not relinquish. Houston improved to 17-0 this season when holding its opponents to less than 60 points.
Kentucky advanced with a 62-56 win over Wofford. Reid Travis scored 14 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and made two huge free throws with 17.8 seconds left to help seal the victory for second-seeded Kentucky (29-6).
UK’s defense made the difference. Shooting over 49 percent from the field for the season, Wofford shot 37.5 percent. UK is 181-15 (.923) under John Calipari when keeping the opponents to 40 percent or less, including 17-0 this season. Shooting over 41 percent on 3-pointers for the season, Wofford shot 29.6 percent.
UK is 172-7 (.961) under Calipari when limiting the opponent to 63 points or less, including 20-0 this season. Kentucky won the rebounding, 36-30. UK is 24-4 this season when outrebounding the opponent.
The Cats haven’t had star PJ Washington yet in this tournament. Kentucky is calling it a sprained left foot. Not yet clear if he will play Friday. Calipari said that they plan to take PJ’s cast off on either Tuesday or Wednesday and reevaluate from there.
UK will be making its 27th NCAA Sweet 16 appearance, second-most in NCAA history.
It is UK’s eighth in 10 seasons under Calipari, most of any team in the nation during that span. Kentucky leads the all-time series with Houston, 3-1. The Cougars won the last meeting, 83-69, on Dec. 18, 2007, at the Sugar Bowl Tournament in New Orleans.
Expert March Madness Betting Picks
Forget the spread in these games – go under the total in both on a parlay.