NCAA Men's Tournament: Two Sweet 16 Games Bettors Should Target on Saturday

SI Gambling insider Frankie Taddeo shares the latest information for two plays for bettors to target among Saturday’s Sweet 16 action

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For sports bettors who love to back the underdogs in the men’s NCAA tournament, 2021 has once again been a solid investment. In the first round, favorites went 21-11 straight-up (SU) but more importantly, for the wallets of sports bettors, underdogs posted an 18-13 (58.1%) ATS mark. (Note: Oregon vs. VCU ruled a no contest)

In the second round, favorites went 10-6 SU and 9-7 ATS in thrilling second-round action that witnessed No. 15 Oral Roberts (+330), No. 12 Oregon State (+225), No. 11 Syracuse (+155), and No. 8 Loyola Chicago (+285) pull outright upsets that sees them playing this weekend in the Sweet 16.

Through the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament, favorites are ahead 31-17 SU while underdogs lead the way at 25-22 ATS.

We will have full betting breakdowns of all the sharp action from Vegas for Sunday’s Sweet 16 on Friday here at SI Gambling.

READ MORESharp Bettors Backing Two Underdogs on Sweet 16 Sunday

Note: This year, there will be no travel as all games will be played at multiple sites within the state of Indiana, and also, the Sweet 16 will tip-off on Saturday (March 27).

Image courtesy of March Madness

Image courtesy of March Madness

Historical Sweet 16 Trends

Last 10 Tournaments the BETTER Seeds

  • Straight-Up (SU): 53-27 (66.3%)
  • Against the Spread (ATS): 38-38-4 (50%)

Last Two Tournaments the BETTER Seeds

  • Straight-Up (SU): 8-8 SU (50%)
  • Against the Spread ATS: 5-11 (31%)

Betting Odds & Breakdowns

Editor's Note - Odds are subject to change.

No. 12 Oregon State vs. No. 8 Loyola-Chicago

Spread: No. 12 Oregon State +6.5 (-110) | No. 8 Loyola-Chicago -6.5 (-110)
Total: 125.5– Over (-110) | Under 125.5 (-110)
Moneyline: Oregon State +235 | Loyola Chicago -295
Game Info: Saturday, March 27, 2021 2:40 pm EST | CBS
Records: OSU: 19-12 (SU); 20-9-1 ATS | LOY: 26-4 (SU); 18-9-1 (ATS)
Site: Bankers Life Fieldhouse

The line has held steady since the opener displaying No. 8 Loyola Chicago (24-5 SU; 18-9-1 ATS) as 6.5-point favorites over No. 12 Oregon State (19-12 SU; 20-9-1ATS) at DraftKings Sportsbook.

Loyola Chicago, champions of the Missouri Valley League, have ripped off five consecutive SU and ATS wins in March. The Ramblers advanced to the Sweet 16 after earning victories over Georgia Tech as 5-point favorites and then taking down No. 1 seed Illinois as 7-point underdogs in the second round.

After posting those consecutive double-digit victories in their first two games of the tournament, the Ramblers are playing at an elite level with supreme confidence. Loyola is led by Cameron Krutwig, who leads the team averaging 15.0 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. The powerful big man has emerged as an intimidating force down low for Porter Moser’s club.

No. 12 Oregon State, who needed to win the Pac-12 Championship to secure a spot in the NCAA tournament, have been ultra-impressive this month, posting five consecutive wins that have also resulted in a 5-0 ATS run at the betting windows. The Beavers, who defeated No. 5 Tennessee (+8.5) and No. 4 Oklahoma State (+6) to earn a spot in the Sweet 16, have thrived in the underdog role.

Oregon State will once again need senior guard Ethan Thompson to lead the way. In the team’s two upset victories, Thompson has filled up the stat sheet going for 13-10-6 against the Volunteers, followed up by 26 points and seven rebounds versus the Sooners.

The early sharp money in Las Vegas is backing Sister Jean’s boys to end Oregon State’s season. Back Loyola-Chicago to move onto the Elite Eight and cover the points on Saturday.

Play: Loyola-Chicago -6.5 (-110)

No. 11 Syracuse vs. No. 3 Houston

Spread: No. 11 Syracuse +6 (-110) | No. 3 Houston -6 (-110)
Total: 140– Over (-110) | Under 140 (-110)
Moneyline: Syracuse +205 | Houston -250
Game Info: Saturday, March 27, 2021 9:55 pm EST | TBS
Records: SYR: 18-9 (SU); 14-13 ATS | HOU: 26-3 (SU); 20-9 (ATS)
Site: Hinkle Fieldhouse

The line has held steady since the opener displaying No. 3 Houston (26-3 SU; 20-9 ATS) as 6-point favorites over No. 11 Syracuse (18-9 SU; 14-13 ATS) at DraftKings Sportsbook.

No. 3 Houston, champions of the American Athletic Conference (AAC) have reeled off nine consecutive victories that has resulted in a 6-3 ATS mark. The Cougars soared past Cleveland State (-20.5) in the opening round before earning a come-from-behind 63-60 win over Rutgers in the second round where they failed to cover the 7.5-point spread.

Houston is led by the AAC co-Player of the Year Quentin Grimes. The dynamic junior guard, who is averaging 18.1 points per game and 6.0 rebounds, went for 18-4-4 in the win over Cleveland State in the first round, followed up by 22-9-1 in the victory over Rutgers.

No. 11 Syracuse earned a trip to the Sweet 16 after posting wins over San Diego State (+4) and West Virginia (+3) in the first two rounds. The Orange have quietly been a great team for sports bettors posting six straight wins against the spread (ATS) in the month of March thanks to sharp-shooter Buddy Boeheim who leads the club averaging 18.0 points per game this season.

The son of head coach Jim Boeheim has been sensational for Syracuse scoring no less than 25-points in five of his last six games. The junior guard, who is shooting 54.0 percent from the field, is an even more impressive 48.5 percent from beyond the arc over that six-game span.

Syracuse and UCLA's advancement in this year's tournament improved the streak of at least one No. 11 seed advancing to the Sweet 16 to now reflect nine of the past 11 tournaments. The early sharp money in Vegas is grabbing the points with the Orange for the second consecutive round of the round after backing them last weekend in their upset victory over West Virginia.

Play: Syracuse +6 (-110)

2021 Vegas Whispers NCAA Tournament Record: 4-1 ATS