1-star (530) Michigan -3 over Houston. 9:40pm ET. The markets bet against Michigan in their first round win and cover vs Montana (line went from -12 to -10) while they were on Houston (-3.5 to -4.5) in their non-covering last second win over San Diego State. Both have Top 15 defenses but the Wolverines are a Top 5 caliber team at 22-4 SU/19-7 ATS in their last 26 games. Their head coach John Beilein is 21-9 ATS in the NCAA Tournament and Michigan didn't play an "A" game vs Montana. I expect a better performance here.
Top Lean: (531/532) Loyola-Chicago/Tennessee UNDER 130.5. 6:10pm ET. We have two top 30 defenses here and two teams that play a very slow tempo (Tennessee No. 271, Loyola No. 312). Tennessee didn't use any energy in blowout over Wright State while Loyola-Chicago had their buzzer-beater win over Miami. If Loyola-Chicago is going to have a chance here, they have to play at a snail's pace.
Top Lean: (533) Florida +1.5 over Texas Tech. 8:40pm ET. We had a misleading final in Texas Tech's 10-point win over Stephen F. Austin as the Red Raiders were down 7 in the second half and Texas Tech finished the game on a 13-2 run. Texas Tech is 0-7-1 ATS in their last 8 games (Keenan Evans injury). I think Florida has huge upside (wins over Gonzaga, Kentucky) and the Gators didn't have to extend much effort in a blowout win over St. Bonaventure the other night. SEC looks strong (now 6-2 SU/5-3 ATS)
Forced Lean: (523/524) Rhode Island/Duke UNDER 149.5. 2:40pm ET. This is the largest underdog role for Rhode Island all season (lost by 15 to Virginia +5.5). Rhode Island's win was a little misleading over Oklahoma on Thursday as the Rams hit 9 3-pointers in second half/OT to get the cover. Meanwhile the OVER cashing was also misleading in the RI/OU game as the total went OVER in the final seconds of OT. On the other side, Duke was dominant vs Iona and didn't waste much energy. Duke games are now 8-1 to the UNDER since switching to the zone defense and Duke slows the game down when they get out to a big lead (50/50 chance here with a near double-digit spread).
Forced Lean: (525/526) Alabama/Villanova OVER 149. 12:10pm ET. Alabama looked good in their win over Virginia Tech as Collin Sexton had 25 points (Forward Hall played and that was key). Meanwhile, Nova hardly wasted any energy in a blowout win over Radford. Villanova has the 2nd best offense in the last 17 years (127.6 points per 100 possessions) and I think Alabama's defense is a bit overrated as they're not many good offenses in the SEC and the Crimson Tide allowed 81 to Kentucky, 90 to Auburn and 88 to Arizona. If you had to get involved on the side I would lean Alabama +11.5.
Forced Lean: (528) Kansas -5 over Texas Tech. 7:10pm ET. Keep in mind while Kansas struggled a little vs Penn, the Quakers were Penn not a typical 16 seed (power-ratings say a No. 14).Seton Hall was 0-4 SU/1-3 ATS vs No. 1 seeded Xavier and Villanova with 3 sizable losses. The Pirates have a veteran team but Kansas has the better offense (No. 6 vs No. 17), the better defense (No. 45 vs No. 64) and played the tougher schedule (No. 7 vs No. 29). Also Kansas with their back against the wall (Big 12 title was in jeopardy) are now 9-1 SU/7-3 ATS in their last 10 games.
Forced Lean: (535) Ohio State +4 over Gonzaga. 7:45pm ET. Gonzaga has 15 straight wins but are just 5-12 ATS in their last 17. Gonzaga close their first round game on a 6-0 run to finish off NC Greensboro in a near upset (Zags 0-7 ATS as NCAA double-digit favorite). These two met back on November 11th with Gonzaga (-5) crushing the Buckeyes 86-59. However, I expect Ohio State to be motivated here. "The whole team is excited for this one," Bates-Diop said. "We've been wanting this matchup ever since the bracket came out." If you had to get involved on the total I would with lean UNDER 141.5