Staff Best Bets: Free NCAA Tournament Expert Picks (3/22/23)

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Our ScoresAndOdds experts offer a variety of free picks for this week’s NCAAB games! Today’s Staff Best Bets are presented by DFS Accounting! Hit them up for all of your sports betting tax needs!

You couldn’t have drawn up a more exciting opening two rounds of NCAA men’s basketball last week.

Our ScoresAndOdds experts are +10.36u in NCAAB picks since the opening tip-off of the tournament.

Let’s cut to the chase and check out some free analysis for the Sweet 16!

Sweet 16 Picks: Free Expert Best Bets

Gonzaga vs. UCLA Over 145.5 Points

Lock in Luuch’s Pick in 1 Click!

I think this is a fair number. My guess based on early money movement is that we see it move at least a point higher, as we get closer to Thursday. UCLA’s performance against Northwestern may not blow you away, but in my opinion, NW is a substantially better defense than Gonzaga. Overall, that was not a great game environment to score points in, as NW plays at the 313th adjusted tempo (via KenPom), which goes hand-in-hand with LENGTHY possessions for both sides of the ball.

Gonzaga is nothing like Northwestern. They play fast – 40th adjusted tempo at the 33rd average offensive possession length. They’re going to play their style of basketball regardless. Their defense isn’t fantastic (which is good for this over) and I believe UCLA will more than pull its weight scoring-wise, at a slightly faster pace than they’re used to playing at. UCLA’s offensive numbers have actually been pretty good down the stretch (except for a blip against AZ), despite all of the injuries, and I think that trend will continue in a favorable matchup for points.

UCLA is arguably the best defense that Gonzaga will square off with this season, but TCU was a fantastic test for the Zags last weekend – and they were fine offensively. The Zags also did battle with the brutal defense and sluggish pace of St. Mary’s three times this season, scoring no less than 70 points in any of those games. Those three Gonzaga vs. St. Mary’s games were the three slowest games the Zags played in this year (which were all ironically at a “62” pace).

According to KP’s pace stats, UCLA only played five games at a “62,” so I’m pretty confident UCLA will not keep the pace THAT slow (at a St. Mary’s type pace). But in fact, one of the Bruins’ five slowest games was last weekend’s Northwestern game, where UCLA pushed 70 points despite the terrible environment for points. Hopefully, we get an abundance of foul shots late in a competitive game and we hit 146 with time to spare. – Justin Carlucci

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Connecticut -3.5

Lock in Erik’s Pick in 1 Click!

So many things going against Arkansas in this one. Both Anthony Black and Nick Smith are reportedly well below 100%, and the UConn matchup is one they would absolutely need Smith, in particular, to be at his peak. Smith is the only player on Arkansas with any ability to shoot from the perimeter, and you simply can’t score on the interior against UConn. KenPom has this as UConn by six, and I suspect the line moves toward UConn here. – Erik Beimfohr

2-Team (Kansas State, Connecticut) Moneyline Parlay

Kansas State is a team that has been undervalued in the betting market, but highly valued in the advanced metrics. They were underdogs against Kentucky and won by six in the second round. They were 23-8 during the regular season and are currently 21st in K-Pom rankings. The only knock on them is their record away from home, but Michigan State has been just as bad away from home. It’s always a little scary betting against Tom Izzo in March, but I’ll take the underdog in the first game. I’ll parlay Kansas State with UConn, who has an easy path to the elite eight. Arkansas is a good team and they took out Kansas, but the numbers suggest UConn should roll in this one. They are fourth in the current K-Pom rankings, while Arkansas is 19th. – Derek Farnsworth (Notorious)