SFA Lumberjacks vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish: Betting Odds, March Madness Pick

OddsShark.comFeatured ColumnistMarch 19, 2016

Notre Dame guard Demetrius Jackson, left, consoles forward Bonzie Colson, center as they sit on the bench with forward Zach Auguste (30) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against North Carolina in the Atlantic Coast Conference men's tournament, Friday, March 11, 2016, in Washington. North Carolina defeated Notre Dame 78-47. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Steve Helber/Associated Press

The Lumberjacks of Stephen F. Austin, coming off an upset victory over West Virginia to open this NCAA tournament, put the longest current winning streak in college basketball and a 3-0 run against the spread on the line when they challenge Notre Dame in a second-round matchup Sunday afternoon in Brooklyn.

 

Point spread: The Fighting Irish opened as two-point favorites; the total was 140.5, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark. (Line updates and matchup report.)

March Madness pick, via Odds Shark computer: 83.6-54.7 Lumberjacks

 

Why pick Stephen F. Austin to cover the spread

The 14th-seeded Lumberjacks, undefeated dual champions of the Southland Conference this season, advanced to Sunday by upsetting West Virginia on Friday 70-56, cashing in outright as six-point underdogs.

SFA led by three at the half, and by three with about nine minutes to go, then put the game away with a 14-2 run. On the night the 'Jacks only shot 31 percent from the floor but hit 29-of-39 from the free-throw line; forward Thomas Walkup alone hit 19-of-20.

Stephen F. Austin also turned the ball over just six times against the Mountaineers' pressure defense, while forcing 22 West Virginia turnovers.

So the Lumberjacks are now 21-0 since the turn of the year, and 3-0 ATS over their last three games. On the season, SFA is shooting 48 percent from the field and 37 percent from three-point land, while ranking in the top 10 in the country by holding foes to just 63 points per game.

 

Why pick Notre Dame to cover the spread

The sixth-seeded Irish reached Sunday's second round by rallying to defeat Michigan on Friday 70-63. Notre Dame trailed the Wolverines at the half by a dozen but began the second half with a 22-7 run. They later ended the game on an 11-4 rally, securing the cash as a three-point favorite.

For the game, the Irish shot a hot 58 percent from the field, hit eight of 13 from beyond the arc and outrebounded Michigan 33-25. On the season, with five players averaging between 11 and 15 points per game, Notre Dame is shooting 47 percent from the floor, 37 percent from long range and 74 percent from the free-throw line.

 

Smart betting pick

It's tempting to tout the underdog in this spot, but Notre Dame holds advantages on defense and on the boards. The smart money on the college basketball betting lines likes the Irish.

 

March Madness betting trends

The total has gone under in seven of Notre Dame's last nine games.

Notre Dame is 1-3 straight up and ATS in its last four games after a win.

Stephen F. Austin is 3-0 ATS in its last three games.

The total has gone under in five of Stephen F. Austin's last six games as underdogs.

All point spread and lines data courtesy of Odds Shark, and all quotes gathered firsthand unless otherwise noted. Check out Twitter for injury and line movement updates and get the free odds tracker app for iOS or Android.