March Madness Predictions 2019: Betting Lines for Sweet 16 Games of NCAA Basketball Tournament

Those expecting March Madness to deliver a cascade of upsets were left disappointed in the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament.

All the top 12 seeds have reached the Sweet 16 stage of the competition, meaning anyone who picked the final 16 teams by selecting the first top four seeds in each region got 87.5 percent of their prediction correct.

According to ESPN Stats & Info, this is the first time since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985 that all 16 betting favorites in the second round qualified to the Sweet 16.

Of those games, number one overall seed Duke had by far the closest call, beating UCF 77-76. The Blue Devils avoided a major upset as Aubrey Dawkins's putback attempt traveled across the rim before bouncing out with just two seconds left.

A finish for the ages. 😱#MarchMADNESS | @DukeMBB

— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) March 24, 2019

However, 11 of the remaining 15 games in the round were decided by a double-digit margin.

The trend of NCAA heavyweights marching on seems destined to continue on Thursday and Friday.

Data compiled by OddsShark shows the four number one seeds—Duke, Gonzaga, North Carolina and Virginia—are all considered favorites to win their respective Sweet 16 matchups and reach the Elite Eight.

At the other end of the spectrum, number 12 seed Oregon is the lowest-ranked team to reach the Sweet 16 round since 15-seeded Florida Gulf Coast made it that far in 2013. The Ducks were ranked number 12 that year too and made it to the Sweet 16, as did number 13 seed LaSalle.

Neither of the three teams qualified, with Florida Gulf Coast losing to Florida, while Oregon fell to number one seed Louisville and LaSalle lost to Wichita State.

In order to become the lowest-ranked team to reach the Elite Eight since number 11 seed VCU made it to the regional finals stage in 2011, the Ducks have to overcome Virginia on Thursday.

However, the Cavaliers start as an 8.5-point favorite after comfortably progressing through the first two rounds. Last year, Virginia became the first number one seed to be eliminated by a number 16 and is determined to make amends.

Gonzaga starts as a 7.5-point favorite against Florida State in the opening game of the round, while Duke is a 7-point favorite against Virginia Tech and North Carolina opens as 4.5-point favorite against Auburn.

Sweet 16 betting lines

Thursday, March 28

  • Gonzaga (1) vs Florida State (4)—Gonzaga -7.5, over/under 147
  • Purdue (3) vs Tennessee (2)—Tennessee -1, over/under 146.5
  • Texas Tech (3) vs Michigan (2)—Michigan -2, over/under 126
  • Virginia (1) vs Oregon (12)—Virginia -8.5, over/under 119

Friday, March 29

  • LSU (3) vs Michigan State (2)—Michigan State -6, over/under 148.5
  • North Carolina (1) vs Auburn (5)—North Carolina -4.5, over/under 163
  • Duke (1) vs Virginia Tech (4)—Duke -7, over/under 144.5
  • Houston (3) vs Kentucky (2)—Kentucky -2.5, over/under 134.5