March Madness Betting Guide: Sweet 16, Saturday
numberFire has built comprehensive algorithms to pinpoint the bets with the highest probability of returning money, whether you are betting on the total, the spread, or the moneyline. For those new to numberFire, we use a five-star system to show which bets you should be targeting for any given game. Stars represent how much you should risk on a wager relative to what you would normally bet.
For example, if you would normally bet $110 to win $100 on a -110 spread wager, if we give a three-star ranking, we suggest risking three times that amount: $330 to win $300. Here are the best bets for Saturday's games with guidance from our model.
Please note that lines are subject to change throughout the day after this article is published. Please check here to make sure you're seeing the most updated information. You can also look at our oddsFire tool to get a feel for what the betting public is doing.
Over 125: 5 Stars out of 5
Oregon State has now won eight out of their last nine games en route to a Pac-12 tourney title and a Sweet 16 appearance. The Beavers have been playing well offensively during this stretch, scoring 70-plus points in seven of their last nine games and averaging 72.4 points per game during that span.
Loyola is not a juggernaut offensively, but they have been scoring well enough recently to expect them to help get this game close to the over. The Ramblers have scored at least 70 points in four of their last five games and are averaging 71 points in that time.
The 125.0 point total on this game is low -- very low. It's the lowest spread among Sweet 16 games by 17 points. And while Loyola's second-ranked D, per KenPom, and slow pace should make this a low-scoring game, our model thinks the 225.0-point over/under is too low.
Our model projects this game to be 71.42-67.33 in favor of Loyola, which would make the game total 138.75. That is 13.75 points over this line, and we give the over a 75.04% likelihood of hitting, making this a five-star bet for Saturday.
Villanova +7.5: 3 Stars out of 5
Despite being a 5 seed, Villanova ranks 10th in our nERD rankings with a rating of 15.35, which means we'd expect them to win by that number against an average opponent on a neutral court. Baylor, a 1 seed, holds a nERD of 19.42. KenPom is roughly in line with our metrics as KenPom ranks Baylor 2nd and 'Nova 11th.
In short, we think these two teams are a lot more evenly matched than oddsmakers do. Our algorithm projects a 73.83-71.60 win for Baylor, which would be only a 2.23-point victory.
Overall, we give Villanova a 65.13% chance to cover the 7.5-point margin, making this a three-star betting opportunity.
Oral Roberts +11.5: 2 Stars out of 5
Oral Roberts has had a dream run to the Sweet 16, picking up a shocking win over 2 seed Ohio State (15.29 nERD) and then upsetting 7 seed Florida (11.19). The Golden Eagles are led by Max Abmas -- who is the nation’s leading scorer, averaging 24.5 points per game -- and Kevin Obanor, who is putting up 19.0 points and 9.6 rebounds per game.
This duo has made Oral Roberts a legitimate tournament threat. We expect them to put up a good fight in this game against Arkansas, and we even give them a 21.6% chance to win outright.
Our model projects an 80.10-72.04 final, and we have the Golden Eagles covering 11.5 points 60.28% of the time.