Making a Sweet 16 free pick on this game eventually boils down to which Cinderella you think is more attractive. It is not easy to turn a blind eye on what Dayton has accomplished so far after beating Syracuse and Ohio State during the first weekend of action but the oddsmakers have also pegged them as the longest dog in the national title futures. The charming Cinderella out of Ohio is a +10000 longshot to win it all.
Beating Ohio State was a big deal on paper, but not to most handicappers. I even had the Flyers covering as +6.0 dogs in my own free picks. What was shocking, however, was how they beat Syracuse, a team that is much deeper and sturdier in every way. Dayton didn’t even win the Atlantic 10 Championship, losing to the St. Joseph’s Hawks 67-70. So their recent success, and their presence as a candidate in Sweet 16 free picks, has literally come out of nowhere.
Those of you that gamble on the fringe conferences might know Dayton thanks to their 19-12 ATS record. They have the same spread record as Stanford, though the Cardinal have two pushes as well (19-12-2 ATS). Can Jordan Sibert and Devin Oliver force the Cardinal in to a bad position?
It’s very hard to tell, which is why I’m struggling here while trying to offer a Sweet 16 free pick. You could just as easily argue that Stanford came out of nowhere as they silenced Kansas and Andrew Wiggins in a 60-57 win. The issue for Dayton here is going to be Chasson Randle and Dwight Powell, two dynamic players who took over the game against the highly touted Jayhawks. I expected Stanford to get to the Round of 32, but seeing them bully past Kansas was a sight to behold. They are as much a Cinderella as their opponents this weekend.
Bonus Sweet 16 Free Betting Picks
- Wisconsin -3.5 vs. Baylor (BAY +3.5)
- Florida -4.5 vs. UCLA (FLA -4.5)
- Arizona -6.5 vs. San Diego State (ARI -6.5)
- Michigan -1.5 vs. Tennessee (TEN +1.5)
- Iowa State -1.5 vs. UConn (ISU -1.5)
- Louisville -5.0 vs. Kentucky (UK +5.0)
- Michigan State -1.5 vs. Virginia (MSU -1.5)
Sentimental bettors will have an exceptionally difficult time leveraging against Dayton, especially after take downs of two illustrious college basketball programs. And it’s hard to argue that Stanford is any better than the Flyers when they have the second longest odds to win the national title at +7500. However, the Cardinal are simply the better team. Dayton is really talented but luck usually runs out for teams like the Flyers in the Sweet 16 which is why my free pick is leaning away from them.
The potential for upsets always exists but as a handicapper I have to do my best to balance all the scales involved. Stanford deserves as much of your sweetheart vote as Dayton does, to be honest, and in the battle of Cinderella teams, the Cardinal have more talent to bank on.