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NCAA Bracket 2014: Updated Odds and Picks Against the Spread for Sweet 16

ST LOUIS, MO - MARCH 23:  Andrew Harrison #2 of the Kentucky Wildcats celebrates after defeating the Wichita State Shockers 78 to 76 during the third round of the 2014 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Scottrade Center on March 23, 2014 in St Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Alex KayCorrespondent IMarch 26, 2014

The 2014 NCAA tournament has been exciting thus far, but bettors may be struggling due to the sheer amount of surprising upsets and unexpected performances.

Whether you are up or down, it is time to get back on the horse and give it another go in the Sweet 16. With eight games spread out over two days, there will be plenty of opportunities to let it ride or get back to even before the round is over.

Let's take a look at the complete schedule for the Sweet 16 and more. 

2014 NCAA Tournament - Sweet 16 Schedule and Predictions
DateRegional SemifinalsTime (ET)TVOddsPredicted Winner ATS
Thu, March 27(11) Dayton vs. (10) Stanford7:15 p.m.CBSStanford -3Stanford
Thu, March 27(6) Baylor vs. (2) Wisconsin7:47 p.m.TBSWisconsin -3.5Baylor
Thu, March 27(4) UCLA vs. (1) Florida9:45 p.m.CBSFlorida -4.5Florida
Thu, March 27(4) San Diego State vs. (1) Arizona10:17 p.m.TBSArizona -7.5Arizona
Fri, March 28(11) Tennessee vs. (2) Michigan7:15 p.m.CBSMichigan -2.5Michigan
Fri, March 28(7) Connecticut vs. (3) Iowa State7:27 p.m.TBSIowa State -2Iowa State
Fri, March 28(8) Kentucky vs. (4) Louisville9:45 p.m.CBSLouisville -4.5Kentucky
Fri, March 28(4) Michigan State vs. (1) Virginia9:57 p.m.TBSMichigan State -1.5Michigan State
ESPN and ScoresAndOdds

 

All Your Bracket Essentials

 

Worth Consideration: Kentucky (+4.5) over Louisville

This is an awful lot of points to be giving a No. 8 seed that just felled the only undefeated team in the nation against a No. 4 seed.

Remember, Kentucky was the No. 1 team in the country at the beginning of the season, and it has all the talent in the world. While the Wildcats’ inexperience got the best of them at times during the regular season, this group has hardened up in time for the Big Dance.

That much was clear when the Harrison twins, Andrew and Aaron, dropped a combined 39 points on the Wichita State Shockers and paced UK to an upset victory over the top seed in the region.

Jeff Drummond of Fox Sports noted that it was a fitting answer to the criticism these freshmen faced throughout the 2013-14 campaign:

Kentucky coach John Calipari pointed out that the selection committee should have had a potential meeting between his team and the Shockers happen in the Elite Eight instead of in the third round, per Gary Parrish of CBSSports.com: "You all understand this was an Elite Eight game, right? The winner of this should've gone to the Final Four."

Perhaps his Wildcats now have the momentum to make it that far.

The fact that the Cardinals are the defending champions should not be understated, but Kentucky has proved capable of winning it all and most recently claimed a national title in 2012.

ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 08:  (L-R) Russ Smith #2 (wearing white shirt), Chane Behanan #21 and Peyton Siva #3 of the Louisville Cardinals look on after they won 82-76 against the Michigan Wolverines during the 2013 NCAA Men's Final Four Championship at the Geo
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The Wildcats may not have any meaningful contributors left from that run, but Calipari knows how to get the most from his talented groups of young stars.

Coach Cal has also dominated his in-state rival since arriving in Lexington. According to ESPN Stats & Info, his Wildcats have beaten Rick Pitino’s Louisville squad five out of the six times they've met:

For those looking to bet on an upset, give this matchup some serious thought.

 

Best Bet on the Board: Baylor (+3.5) over Wisconsin

The Baylor Bears may have the lower seed, but they have been the better team thus far in the tournament and have momentum leading up to this matchup with the Wisconsin Badgers.

Baylor came into March Madness red hot, advancing all the way to the championship game of the loaded Big 12 before succumbing to Iowa State. It was something of a surprise considering the team started 2-8 in conference play, but there has been a clear turnaround in Waco.

The Bears have won 12 of their last 14 games, including a blowout victory against No. 3 Creighton in the third round. They held the nation’s leading scorer, Doug McDermott, to just 15 points in the contest—nearly 12 points fewer than his 2013-14 average.

ESPN Stats & Info noted McDermott’s stats at the end of the first half, a large reason the Bluejays had almost no chance of winning:

While Wisconsin has been impressive in the Big Dance, it needed to come back from a 12-point deficit in the second half to navigate past Oregon. The No. 2 seed was nearly upset there, and it will not survive if it struggles like that for 20 minutes against the Bears.

Look no further than Creighton’s ugly game to see that it takes a full effort from start to finish to quell these hungry Bears.

Back Baylor here, as it appears poised to continue its stretch of lockdown defense and hot three-point shooting into the Elite Eight.

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