Underdogs have cashed in 12 of the last 16 games the past two years and 17 of the last 24 games the past three years in the Sweet 16.
That should be music to the ears of UCLA Bruins backers, the second-biggest underdogs in this round, as they face the Florida Gators in the semifinals of the South Region.
But buyer beware on UCLA for fans who look to the past to predict the future. The Bruins are 1-7 against the spread in the Sweet 16 since 1997.
Spread and total points scored betting line
The Gators opened as 5.5-point favorites; the total was 137. (Compare lines and consensus on the Odds Shark matchup report)
Odds Shark computer pick
Why pick UCLA to cover the spread
Coach Steve Alford is proving how deep his team is, as the Bruins have scored a pair of blowout wins in the first two rounds, beating both Tulsa (76-59) and Stephen F. Austin (77-60) by nearly identical finals—winning both by 17.
The No. 4 Bruins have now won and covered five straight, including a victory over Arizona in the Pac-12 championship.
Why pick Florida to cover the spread
The overall No. 1 seed for the Big Dance woke up after a sluggish 67-55 first-round win over Albany to bounce Pittsburgh in the round of 32 with a 61-45 victory.
Florida comes into this one riding a six-game win streak in Sweet 16 games, while it covered four of those games. The Gators have also owned UCLA at tournament time, according to OddsShark.com’s NCAA hoops database.
Smart betting pick
Florida is good and the team is deep, but the Bruins are peaking at the right time. They may be getting too many points in this one.
Though UCLA is mired in a 1-7 against-the-spread slide in the Sweet 16, it is also in on a 4-1 win streak both straight up and ATS when installed as underdogs.
Gators coach Billy Donovan has a monster roster, but Alford has developed one over the course of the season. Play the dog.
UCLA Bruins: No. 44
Florida Gators: No. 7 (per Odds Shark power ranks)
March Madness betting trends
- Gators 3-0 SU and ATS vs. Bruins in March Madness since 2006 (all games OVER)
- UCLA 4-1 SU and ATS past five games as underdogs
- UCLA 1-7 ATS in Sweet 16 since 1997
- Florida won six straight Sweet 16 games (4-2 ATS)