I was actually pretty shocked that this Sweet Sixteen betting line opened so low, but I guess that the oddsmakers felt like giving UVA the recognition they deserve. Many people genuinely aren’t sure why Virginia entered the NCAA Tournament as one of the top seeds, and even the oddsmakers haven’t been completely sure how to grade them. A number one seed feels like it should have better odds to win the championship than +1000, but that’s exactly where UVA sits on the board. By comparison, the Spartans are one of the four favorites while carrying +450 odds (Florida and Louisville are both even +400 co-favorites).
So does Virginia have a chance? Of course they do – that’s the whole point of the tournament. But realistically I’m not sure that they can survive this game. Virginia’s defense is phenomenal, and is statistically the best in the country. You know how Florida plays by hounding you defensively until you basically give up? That’s Virginia to a certain extent as well.
The issue facing Virginia in Sweet Sixteen betting lines is that they don’t overwhelm you physically. They don’t have the man power, size or bodies to do so. And that’s a big problem when they have to deal with 6-foot-10 and 245 pound Adreian Payne. Listen, Virginia has been very good in recent wins but they haven’t faced a team that plays as aggressively as Michigan State does. This will test UVA’s defense to its absolute limits and I have a sneaking suspicions that Payne will give the Cavs some serious headaches.
Bonus Sweet Sixteen Betting Lines
- 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)
- Michigan -2.0 vs. Tennessee (TEN +2.0)
- Iowa State -1.5 vs. UConn (ISU -1.5)
- Louisville -5.0 vs. Kentucky (UK +5.0)
I don’t mean to sell Virginia down the river because they’re an excellent team. But they don’t have a single elite player in the bunch, and Michigan State is chalk full of ‘em. The way that MSU has rolled through the competition lately has been deafening. Part of me wants to argue that they’re an overblown public bet, but I can’t argue with the results. Don’t be a contrarian here. The Sweet Sixteen betting line on this game pays homage to Virginia for how grizzled they are defensively, but nobody’s slowed down MSU’s offense since championship week and when the Spartans start revving the engine, the Cavaliers won’t have the horses to keep up on the scoreboard.