The opening weekend of March Madness betting in West Virginia did not disappoint.
Although the WVU Mountaineers were knocked off by 11th-seeded Syracuse, this year’s Sweet 16 offers a lot to be excited about.
As always, the Big Dance wasn’t short on the number of early upsets in the first two rounds. Four total teams that are seeded 10th or worse qualified for the NCAA Tournament’s second weekend.
The biggest surprise is probably the No. 15 seed Oral Roberts. It defeated No. 2 Ohio State in the opener, and then followed that up with another great performance against No. 7 Florida.
Another team that needed an upset to reach the Sweet 16 is Loyola Chicago. The Ramblers took down one of the favorites in No. 1 Illinois in the second round. They’ll look to keep their run going against No. 12 Oregon State, an additional surprise team.
Of course, several top seeds also survived. Gonzaga, Baylor and Michigan still remain from the top line, along with two-seeded Alabama and Houston.
Let’s look at the best Sweet 16 matchups coming up this weekend and break down the odds available at WV online sportsbooks.
Sweet 16 betting at WV sportsbooks
With the revamped schedule this season, the tournament’s Sweet 16 doesn’t get underway until Saturday this week. There are four games on Saturday, then four more to conclude the round on Sunday.
The Elite Eight matchups will take place on Monday and Tuesday evening.
Best game – Florida State vs. Michigan
The most interesting game on the schedule is the contest between No. 4 Florida State and No. 1 Michigan. The two sides are scheduled to meet Sunday at 5 p.m. on CBS.
While many picked the Wolverines to win their region, some had hesitations because of injury concerns. The team made it through their first two games without forward Isaiah Livers.
The senior is out indefinitely, but there’s speculation that he may try to return this season.
Even without one of its top scorers, Michigan is favored according to DraftKings Sportsbook WV.
The online sports betting app has Michigan laying -3 in the point spread, with a moneyline of -150. Florida State is offered at +125.
This contest should be one of the better ones because of how both teams are playing at the moment. Michigan won comfortably in its first game, then had a strong second-half showing to close out LSU.
Florida State had a stress-free start to the tournament as well. It won by 10 in the opener, then beat No. 5 Colorado by 18.
Junior guard Anthony Polite exploded in the round of 32, scoring 22 points on about 67% shooting.
The Wolverines received lots of help in their latest triumph, with four players reaching double figures. They were led by 21 points from both Eli Brooks and Chaundee Brown.
This game features plenty of amazing athletes and should be very entertaining from a neutral standpoint. Those thinking of taking Michigan should consider its moneyline, as this matchup could come right down to the wire.
Tightest point spread – Oregon vs. USC
Even though the point spread at WV sportsbooks is tight for Michigan-FSU, it’s even smaller for the game between No. 7 Oregon and No. 6 USC.
Currently, sportsbooks list the Trojans as slight favorites, giving -2.5 in the point spread. DraftKings shows them with odds of -137 to win the game, while Oregon is at +116.
Outside of Gonzaga, USC appears to be one of the strongest teams remaining in the field. It dismantled No. 3 Kansas in its last outing and cruised by Drake in the opening round.
The Trojans put up an incredible 85 points against the Jayhawks and actually had 10 different players score.
Freshman forward Evan Mobley is a rare talent and is a likely lottery pick in the next NBA draft. The seven-footer is very skilled and fills the box score every night. Mobley is averaging over 16 points, about nine rebounds and three blocks per game.
The Ducks will be looking to avenge their loss to USC from earlier during play in the Pac-12. USC won the first contest by 14 points.
Besides its loss to Oregon State in the conference tournament semifinals, Oregon’s been on a roll. It has won 13 of its last 15, including its two victories in the Big Dance.
It should be noted that Oregon didn’t actually play in the first round. Its opponent, VCU, had several players test positive for COVID-19, so the game was declared a no-contest.
The Ducks didn’t allow the day off to cause any rust, though. They came out in the second round and did whatever they wanted offensively against No. 2 Iowa.
They scored 95 points en route to another Sweet 16 appearance, their fourth since 2016.
In order to keep it going, the Ducks need continued success from multiple players. They featured five who averaged at least 10 points per game across the regular season.
Bettors in the Mountain State must decide if Oregon can keep this momentum going or if USC is just the better side. This game is scheduled for Sunday at 9:45 p.m. on TBS.
Largest point spread – Creighton vs. Gonzaga
Surprisingly, the battle involving Oral Roberts doesn’t have the largest point spread in the Sweet 16. This belongs to the meeting between No. 1 Gonzaga and No. 5 Creighton.
At the moment, FanDuel Sportsbook WV shows the top overall seed as 13.5-point favorites. The Bulldogs have a sizable moneyline of -1100, whereas Creighton is at +700.
This spread is mostly about how strong Gonzaga’s been in the early rounds. It’s looked like the most dominant team by far, posting wins of 43 and 16.
The spread is also influenced by the fact that Creighton has only faced two mediocre teams thus far. It took down No. 12 UCSB and No. 13 Ohio to make it to this weekend.
While the Bulldogs might not cover the spread, a Creighton outright victory would certainly qualify as an upset. It’s beaten several ranked opponents this year, but no one with the quality of Gonzaga.
The Bulldogs are now 28-0 and don’t seem to be slowing down. They actually shot their lowest field-goal percentage of the season against Oklahoma and still managed to score 87 points.
They’ve scored at least 80 points in nine of their last 10.
If Creighton wants to stick around, it needs to play exceptionally on both ends of the court. Perhaps this break in between rounds will allow it to create a game plan that can slow the Zags down.