The Baylor Bears are on a roll, with 11 wins in their last 13 games, including nine covers.
They'll try to stay in the money when they take on the Creighton Bluejays in a West Region matchup Sunday night down in San Antonio.
However, Creighton has not been a great bet at tournament time, losing four straight at this stage of the bracket in the past.
Spread and total points scored betting line
The Bluejays opened as 3.5-point favorites; the total was 144. (Compare lines and consensus picks data on the Odds Shark matchup report.)
Odds Shark computer pick
Why pick Baylor to cover the spread
The Bears missed the Big Dance last year but made it this year after finishing in sixth place in a tough Big 12 during the regular season and then advancing to the conference tournament championship game.
Baylor ran hot early this season, winning 12 of its first 13 games. The team later lost seven of eight but has heated up again and at just the right time. The No. 6 Bears began this NCAA tournament with a 74-60 victory over Nebraska on Friday, even though they shot well below their season averages.
However, they still covered as four-point favorites and have been profitable at the betting window lately (9-3-1 against the spread).
Why pick Creighton to cover the spread
The No. 3 Bluejays are in the NCAA tournament as an at-large after finishing second in the new Big East during the regular season and then making it to the conference tournament title game.
Being a No. 3 seed against No. 6 seeds has been a positive trend in recent years, as the higher-ranked school is 8-2 against the spread in 10 games with this matchup.
Creighton began this tournament with a 76-66 victory over Louisiana-Lafayette on Friday, shooting 52 percent from the floor and making nine of 23 three-pointers.
The Jays are an experienced bunch, with four starters back from a team that won 28 games last year, led by scoring machine Doug McDermott. He tossed in 30 on 13-of-23 shooting Friday against the Cajuns.
For the season, Creighton ranks third in the nation in field-goal shooting at 50 percent and No. 1 in three-point marksmanship at 42 percent. But the tournament has not been kind to Creighton backers, and laying points is dangerous against a tough team like Baylor.
Smart betting pick
Baylor has now played 21 games this season against teams that made the tournament, going 12-9 straight up and 11-10 against the spread.
Creighton, meanwhile, is 10-5 straight up but 7-8 against the spread this season against tournament qualifiers. The Bluejays own the higher seed and are favored for this game, but Baylor is playing some of its best ball of the season.
Back the Bears, plus the points.
Baylor Bears: No. 37
Creighton Bluejays: No. 70 (per Odds Shark power ranks)
March Madness betting trends
- Baylor is 9-3-1 against the spread in the past 13 games.
- Creighton is 2-7 against the spread in the past nine tournament games.
- Creighton is 0-4 straight up in second-round games, all losses by at least 12 points.
- No. 3 seeds are 8-2 against the spread in the past 10 games vs. No. 6 seeds.