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NCAA March Madness betting: The trends you need to know for Sunday's Sweet 16 games

Sam Cooper
·9-min read

After a few days without NCAA men's tournament action, it’s time to dive into this weekend’s Sweet 16 matchups.

The tournament has been filled with upsets thus far, and we could see a few more this weekend. If you’re betting on a tournament this unpredictable, you're better off having the most information possible.

Before putting down your hard-earned money, read up on some trends to keep in mind. We've already looked at Saturday's games, so here's our research on Sunday's teams.

(All times ET, odds from BetMGM)

No. 5 Creighton vs. No. 1 Gonzaga

Region: West | TV: CBS | Time: 2:10 p.m. | Line: Gonzaga -13 | Total: 158

Creighton (22-8)

Record ATS: 14-16

Over/under: 13-16-1

  • At 14-16, Creighton is the only team in the Sweet 16 with an ATS record below .500. The Blue Jays have been better recently, though, covering the spread in seven of their last 11 games. Creighton failed to cover in the first round when it squeaked past UC Santa Barbara 63-62 as 7.5-point favorites. In Round 2, Creighton was -5.5 vs. Ohio and won 72-58.

  • In 10 NCAA tournament games under Greg McDermott, Creighton is 5-5 straight up and 3-7 against the spread. This is the program’s first Sweet 16 appearance since 1974 and first for McDermott across his head-coaching stops.

  • In four NCAA tournament games as an underdog during McDermott’s tenure, Creighton is 1-3 ATS. Creighton was only an underdog three times this season. It went 2-1 ATS.

  • Creighton games trended toward the under this year, especially late in the season. Over Creighton’s last 12 games, the under was 8-3-1 — including the last four.

  • In Creighton’s 10 NCAA games under McDermott, the under is 7-2-1. In Creighton’s four NCAA men's tournament games as an underdog during McDermott’s tenure, the under is 2-1-1.

Gonzaga (28-0)

Record ATS: 14-12-2

Over/under: 15-13

  • Gonzaga has been the favorite in all 28 of its games this season. Gonzaga has been a double-digit favorite in 24 of them and posted an 11-11-2 ATS record. Over their last 10 games, the Bulldogs are 6-4 ATS.

  • Over its last 10 NCAA tournament appearances (back to 2011), Gonzaga is 11-11-1 ATS as a favorite. In its last 10 NCAA men's tournament games as a favorite, Gonzaga is 5-5 ATS.

  • In its nine Sweet 16 appearances under Mark Few, Gonzaga is 3-5-1 ATS. As a favorite in Sweet 16 play, Gonzaga is 2-3-1.

  • The over is 7-2 in Gonzaga’s last nine games. In Gonzaga’s first 19 games this season, the over was 8-11.

  • In Gonzaga’s last 10 tournament appearances, the under is 12-11. In Gonzaga’s nine Sweet 16 appearances under Few, the under is 6-3. When Gonzaga is the favorite in the Sweet 16, the under is 5-1. The only time the under did not hit was in 2000. The under hit in Gonzaga’s last five Sweet 16 games from 2015-19.

No. 4 Florida State vs. No. 1 Michigan

Region: East | TV: CBS | Time: 5 p.m. | Line: Michigan -2.5 | Total: 143.5

Florida State (18-6)

Record ATS: 12-10-2

Over/under: 14-8-2

  • FSU had a streak where it covered the spread in five straight games back in January. Since then, FSU went just 4-8 ATS over its next 12 games. FSU failed to cover in the first round against UNC Greensboro, but it did cover easily in the Round of 32 against Colorado.

  • In 18 NCAA men's tournament games under Leonard Hamilton, FSU is 8-10 against the spread. But as an underdog in tournament play under Hamilton, FSU is 5-1 ATS. FSU has been an underdog just twice this season and went 1-1 ATS.

  • In its three Sweet 16 appearances under Hamilton, FSU is 1-2 ATS.

  • In FSU’s 18 NCAA men's tournament games with Hamilton as head coach, the under is 13-5. In tournament games where FSU was the underdog, the under is 6-0. In FSU’s two Sweet 16 games as an underdog (in 2018 and 2019), the under is 2-0.

Michigan (22-4)

Record ATS: 18-8

Over/under: 11-15

  • Michigan is 18-8 against the spread this season, including an 11-6 mark as a single-digit favorite.

  • In its last 30 NCAA men's tournament games, Michigan is 17-12-1 ATS (5-5 in its last 10). In Michigan’s last 10 tournament games as a single-digit favorite, its ATS record is 5-4-1. This is UM’s first NCAA men's tournament appearance under head coach Juwan Howard.

  • In its last five Sweet 16 appearances, Michigan is 3-2 straight-up and 2-2-1 ATS.

  • After the under went 14-5 in Michigan’s regular-season Big Ten games, three of Michigan’s last four games have gone over the total, including both NCAA men's tournament games.

  • In Michigan’s last 30 NCAA men's tournament games, the under is 17-13 (6-4 in last 10). In Michigan’s last 10 games as a single-digit favorite, the under is 6-4.

  • In Michigan’s last five Sweet 16 appearances, the over is 3-2.

Michigan head coach Juwan Howard celebrates at the end of a second-round game against LSU in the NCAA men's college basketball tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium Monday, March 22, 2021, in Indianapolis. Michigan won 86-78. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Michigan head coach Juwan Howard celebrates at the end of a second-round game against LSU in the NCAA men's college basketball tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium Monday, March 22, 2021, in Indianapolis. Michigan won 86-78. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

No. 11 UCLA vs. No. 2 Alabama

Region: East | TV: TBS | Time: 7:15 p.m. | Line: Alabama -6.5 | Total: 145.5

UCLA (20-9)

Record ATS: 15-14

Over/under: 16-13

  • UCLA has covered the spread in four of its last five games, including three straight games as an underdog. UCLA covered in the Pac-12 tournament vs. USC (+2.5), in the First Four vs. Michigan State (+2.5) and in the first round vs. BYU (+3.5). In all, UCLA is 4-3 ATS as an underdog this season. UCLA is a 6.5-point underdog vs. Alabama.

  • UCLA is in its first NCAA men's tournament appearance under Mick Cronin, who was 6-9 ATS while at Cincinnati. Cincy reached the Sweet 16 just once under Cronin, in 2012. The Bearcats lost 81-66 to Ohio State as 7.5-point underdogs.

  • UCLA is 10-10 ATS in its last 20 NCAA men's tournament games. In its last 10 tournament games as an underdog, UCLA is 4-6 ATS. In its last 10 Sweet 16 games, UCLA is 1-9 ATS, dating back to 1998.

  • The under is 4-3 in UCLA’s seven games as an underdog this season. In UCLA’s last 10 tournament games as an underdog, the over is 7-3.

  • In Cronin’s 14 tournament games at Cincinnati, the over went 7-7-1.

Alabama (26-6)

Record ATS: 18-13-1

Over/under: 15-17

  • Alabama has won 11 of its last 12 games but is just 6-6 ATS over that span. Alabama has covered the spread in five of its last seven games, though.

  • The Crimson Tide are 16-12-1 ATS as a favorite this season with an 11-10-1 mark as single-digit favorites.

  • This is Alabama’s first NCAA men's tournament appearance under Nate Oats. Oats was 2-3 straight-up and 3-2 ATS in tournament play while he was the head coach at Buffalo. Alabama is 8-7 straight-up and 6-9 ATS in its last 15 tournament games. Alabama hasn’t played in the Sweet 16 since 2004.

  • The under is 15-14 in games where Alabama is the favorite this season.

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No. 7 Oregon vs. No. 6 USC

Region: West | TV: TBS | Time: 9:45 p.m. | Line: USC -2 | Total: 139

Oregon (21-6)

Record ATS: 15-12

Over/under: 18-9

  • Oregon is on a hot streak. The Ducks have won 12 of their last 14 games and have covered the spread in six of their last seven. Oregon was +5 in the second round against Iowa and ended up winning in blowout fashion, 95-80.

  • Oregon is an underdog once again in the Sweet 16, but it’s just the fifth time it is an underdog this season. In its four games as an underdog this season, Oregon is 2-2 ATS. One of those was against USC in February. USC was favored by 3.5 at home and won 72-58.

  • In 20 NCAA men's tournament games under Dana Altman, Oregon is a remarkable 16-4 against the spread. That includes a 9-1 ATS record as an underdog with five outright wins. Entering Sunday’s game, Oregon has covered the spread in seven consecutive NCAA men's tournament games. In Sweet 16 play under Altman, Oregon is 4-0 ATS.

  • The over is 18-9 in Oregon games this season, with a current streak of eight consecutive overs entering Sunday’s game. In Oregon’s four games as an underdog, the over is 2-2.

  • In Oregon’s 20 NCAA men's tournament games under Altman, the over is 9-9-2. In the Sweet 16, though, the under is 3-1.

USC (24-7)

Record ATS: 18-13

Over/under: 16-14-1

  • In the weeks leading up to the NCAA men's tournament, USC had not been very kind to bettors. The Trojans were just 2-6 ATS in their previous eight games, but have since covered in both tournament games — as 7.5-point favorites against Drake and as 1.5-point favorites against Kansas. The Kansas game was a blowout, too. USC won, 85-51. Those two wins put USC at 16-10 ATS as a favorite this season.

  • As good as Dana Altman has been in the tournament, USC’s Andy Enfield has been better. Including his time at Florida Gulf Coast, Enfield has a perfect 9-0 ATS record in NCAA men's tournament play. At USC, he is 6-0 ATS overall with a 3-0 mark as a favorite. This is USC’s first Sweet 16 appearance under Enfield.

  • The under is 6-4 in USC’s last 10 games, including both NCAA men's tournament games. Additionally, the under is 10-5-1 in games where USC is a single-digit favorite this season.

  • In USC’s six NCAA men's tournament games with Enfield as head coach, the under is 3-2-1.

USC forward Evan Mobley (4) and Isaiah Mobley (3) watch against Kansas during the second half of a men's college basketball game in the second round of the NCAA tournament at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Monday, March 22, 2021. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
USC forward Evan Mobley (4) and Isaiah Mobley (3) watch against Kansas during the second half in the second round of the NCAA men's tournament at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis on March 22, 2021. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

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