The fifth-seeded West Virginia Mountaineers will look to record the biggest upset of the 2015 NCAA Tournament so far when they battle the mighty No. 1 Kentucky in an intriguing Sweet 16 matchup that gets underway on Thursday night. While the Mountaineers are undeniably facing a tall task, they’ve also got some really good news heading into their showdown with the Wildcats that not many other teams can claim in any season. Now, let’s find out if the Mountaineers have what it takes to either take down the mighty Wildcats altogether or whether they can simply cover their NCAA Basketball betting odds.
— USA TODAY Sports (@USATODAYsports) March 23, 2015
How To Bet The Mountaineers vs. Wildcats NCAA Sweet 16 Odds, TV & Game Info
When: 9:45 PM ET, Thursday, March 26, 2015
Where: Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, Ohio
Odds: Kentucky -13.5
No. 5 West Virginia (25-9 SU, 19-13 ATS, 14-21 O/U)
West Virginia recorded a convincing 69-59 win over No. 4 Maryland in the Round of 32 to advance and easily covered the spread as a 1.5-point favorite the last time out to move to 2-0 ATS since the start of the NCAA Tournament. West Virginia has covered the spread in each of its two NCAA Tournament games so far, cashing in as a 4.5-point favorite against Buffalo in their opener before ‘upsetting’ Maryland the last time out.
West Virginia placed four players in double digits in scoring, led by forward Devin Williams’ team-high 16 points while also limiting Maryland’s Melo Trimble and Dez Wells to a combined 24 points. West Virginia averages a solid 73.6 points per game while limiting their opponents to just 66.5 points per game defensively. The Mountaineers may be 14-point underdogs against Kentucky, but the Mountaineers have also compiled an encouraging 4-1 ATS mark in their last five games heading into this affair.
No. 1 Kentucky (36-0 SU, 18-16-2 ATS, 15-21 O/U)
The Wildcats are coming off a hard-fought 64-51 win over scrappy Cincinnati the last time out but failed to cover the NCAA Tournament odds as a 15-point favorite just as I predicted to fall to 0-2 ATS in their pair of March Madness affairs so far. The Wildcats got a team-high 13 points from combo guard Aaron Harrison and 11 points from guard Trey Lyles. Kentucky also limited Cincinnati to just 31.7 percent shooting from the field and 14.3 percent from beyond the arc.
In spite of their winning ways, Kentucky is 1-2-1 ATS over their last four games.
My Betting Prediction and Pick
I really like the way that West Virginia has played so far, but I fully expect the Mountaineers’ season to come to an abrupt halt in this Sweet 16 match up. The bottom line for this contest – and nearly every opponent that the Wildcats have faced this season is that Kentucky is too fast, too strong and definitely too big, for anyone to beat them without a seriously Herculean effort – and some good old-fashioned luck.
While the Mountaineers have gone 5-0 ATS in their last five non-conference games and a bankroll-boosting 15-5-1 ATS in their last 21 NCAA Tournament games, West Virginia is also 0-10 SU and just 4-6 ATS in their last 10 games as an underdog of eight points or more. Kentucky has gone 11-3-2 ATS in their last 16 neutral site games and a robust 7-3-2 ATS in their last dozen games overall.
I know the Wildcats are 0-3-1 ATS in their last four NCAA Tournament games but if the Mountaineers can lose by 20 points against Iowa Stare, like they did on Feb 16, I believe another blowout could very well be in order. I’m not a real fan of the high point spread surrounding this matchup, but I’m going to back the Kentucky Wildcats to get the win and ATS cover!
The Pick: Kentucky 79 West Virginia 65