One of my perennial Sweet 16 betting tips for March Madness is to back the favorites because this is the round where things start to normalize. Cinderella’s lose their shoes, momentum teams run out of steam and the stronger teams remaining have plenty of time to game plan over the course of the week. So what I’m about to say might come as a bit of a shocker: believe in Tennessee.
The Volunteers have whipped Iowa, UMass and Mercer by an average of +17.3 points last weekend using a wild combination of athleticism and defense. I know what you’re thinking – that isn’t a great list of opponents. Totally fair. But you can’t undermine that in the process of those wins, Tennessee legitimized their place amongst the biggest and best in the toughest region out there. What you’ve also seen is Jarnell Stokes go bananas.
Stokes is a relatively undersized center, but at 6-foot-8 and a ballistic 260 pounds, he uses his massive body impressively and has earned three dominant double-doubles in March Madness so far. If you’re going to follow my Sweet 16 betting tips and back Tennessee, it will because of Stokes. He’s registered stat lines of 17-18, 26-14 and 18-13 in the last three games. The guy’s a monster.
And the problem for Michigan lies therein. Without Mitch McGrary, the Wolverines rely mostly on their perimeter shooting and don’t have a capable banger underneath the rim. Tennessee is a very long team overall, and know how to spread their defense effectively. If Michigan can’t get their outside game working, their inside game isn’t physical enough to really push back against the physical Vols.
Bonus Sweet 16 Betting Tips
- Stanford -3.0 vs. Dayton (STAN -3.0)
- 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)
- 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)
This being said, remember that Michigan is one of the best shooting teams in the country. That’s all fine and dandy, but what if their shot isn’t falling? They’re also one of the worst rebounding teams in the Sweet 16. The pace that both Tennessee and Michigan play at will make this game a war of attrition, not a flare up of finesse. When the Volunteers assert themselves on the defensive end, Michigan won’t be able to fall in to a rhythm. If you don’t’ believe me, then let me phrase one more Sweet 16 betting tip in the form of a question: why the hell is the line so low if Michigan is really that good?
Sweet 16 Betting Tips – Tennessee +2.0 (UNDER)