Saturday College Basketball Best Bets - Elite Eight Odds

By  Jonathan Willis

Saturday, March 30th, 2019

The Elite Eight is here, and there is money to be made. The chalk has largely held serve and advanced throughout the NCAA Tournament as we haven’t seen a lot of big upsets. However, many of those teams have had a hard time covering, and No. 1 seeds are a combined 5-7 ATS at this point in March Madness. No. 1 seeds Virginia and Gonzaga will be in action with a spot in the Final Four on the line tonight.

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NCAA Tournament Elite Eight Betting

Gonzaga Bulldogs -4.5 vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders, O/U 137

Most people probably have their eye on Michigan State and Duke as the best match-up in the Elite Eight, but my money is on this one. Ken Pomeroy’s numbers have Gonzaga rated as the top offense in the country, while Texas Tech’s defense is considered the top defense in all the land.

The Red Raiders have looked awfully impressive against two of the most efficient offenses in the country. They shut down Buffalo, holding the Bulls to a scant 58 points, and they followed that up with an incredible defensive effort against Michigan on Thursday night. Michigan could only manage 44 points against Texas Tech’s defense, and the Wolverines went just 1-19 from the three-point line.

Teams have been unable to hit the triple against Texas Tech all season long. The Red Raiders are allowing opponents to make just 29.4 percent of their threes, and that is not a good mark. That has led to all three of their NCAA Tournament games going under the total.

Conversely, this is a team that can get the job done on offense. Texas Tech has the best player in the game with Jarrett Culver running the show, and he knows how to get tough buckets. He isn’t a great three-point shooter, but Matt Mooney and Davide Moretti are fantastic from three and can hit the big buckets.

I’m a little concerned about how Texas Tech handles Brandon Clarke and Rui Hachmiura down low, but I really like their chances overall. I think they have a great shot of pulling off the upset. The total has come down some since it opened at 139.5, but I still think the under is a good play too.

Picks: Texas Tech +4.5 and Under 137

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Virginia Cavaliers -4.5 vs. Purdue Boilermakers, O/U 126.5

Purdue has been incredibly hot from downtown in its last two games. The Boilermakers shot 53.3 percent from three-point range against Villanova with Carsen Edwards going 9-16 from beyond the arc in an 87-61 beatdown, and it was Ryan Cline’s turn against Tennessee on Thursday. Purdue sunk 48.4 percent of its triples overall in that game with Cline going 7-10 from distance to lead the Boilermakers to an overtime upset of the Vols after Tennessee roared back from a 12-point deficit in the final 10 minutes.

This Boilermakers’ offense has yet to see anything like Virginia’s defense though. The Cavaliers have been much maligned this year, and they are just a couple points away from being 0-3 ATS in the NCAA Tournament. However, the defense has been rock solid, and UVA is allowing just 52 PPG.

Virginia has the second-best three-point defense in the country. The Cavaliers face some of the best shooters in the country in the ACC, but they are allowing just 28.1 percent of threes to drop on the year. That’s an incredible number, and Virginia will be able to focus in on Purdue’s sharpshooters. Edwards and Cline are the only two good perimeter shooters on this team.

I’m banking on Virginia’s shooters breaking out of their funk. Kyle Guy, Ty Jerome, and De’Andre Hunter have not been too impressive thus far, but the silver lining is that their struggles have given Mamadi Diakite a shot of confidence. He has been big in carrying this team to the Elite Eight.

Pick: Virginia -4.5

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