Sam Dekker Preview & NCAAB Parlay Picks (+1900) for Round of 16
The former Wisconsin star reveals his 4-leg parlay picks for Sweet 16, gives his take on Princeton’s run, and reveals his revised Final Four projection.
The perfect storyline in head coach Mitch Henderson leading the team to the Sweet 16 after his own coach at Princeton, Pete Carril, passed away before the season. The movie-script writers should be taking notes on that.
What are your thoughts on Purdue going down in the first round? Is FDU’s win over Purdue the biggest upset in Men's March Madness history?
FDU over Purdue was basketball's David vs. Goliath. Truly, in every sense possible. It was the greatest tournament upset of all time, and it will be hard to ever top it. You had the shortest team in Division I this season -- a team that didn't even win its conference tournament -- and they had the tallest task against 7-foot-4 Zach Edey and Purdue, who I picked to win it all. And they did it. With 10 minutes left in the second half, FDU took the lead after being down six, and that was when I think everyone thought: "They could just do this. They might do this." They played with incredible energy and just kept punching. Once again, for the second time now, a No. 16 seed has beaten a No. 1. That is what March is all about.
There were a lot of upsets in the first and second rounds. Which was your favorite, and which game surprised you the most?
I really enjoyed Arkansas over Kansas. Their energy, athleticism and tenacity were off the charts. They also looked like -- and this is what is maybe so important about this -- they looked like they were having so much fun. Having fun out there and enjoying the moment is what March is all about. If you can do that, you are going to win games. Knocking off the defending champs is not an easy task, and now we get an electric "Muss Bus vs. Hurley" (coaches Eric Musselman vs. Bobby Hurley) matchup in the Sweet 16. I don't want to discount Florida Atlantic either. They are 33-3, which is an insane record, and right now they're clicking. Their matchup with Tennessee is not going to be for the faint of heart. It's going to be a bare-knuckle brawl to get to the Elite Eight. It's going to be must-watch TV. I think that Tennessee vs. Florida Atlantic is going to be special.
How does a team like Princeton advance to Elite Eight and what do they need to do to advance to the Final Four?
The FDU upset was certainly the weekend's most surprising, I think, but I also think Princeton's win over a great Arizona team -- and then following that up by dominating Missouri -- was incredible. What a start for the tournament! Talk about getting confidence. Caden Pierce, who is a 6-foot-6 freshman, had 16 rebounds and played fearless beyond his years. A shoutout to a great player from the UK, Tosan Evbuomwan, and you also have the perfect storyline in head coach Mitch Henderson leading the team to the Sweet 16 after his own coach at Princeton, Pete Carril, passed away before the season. The movie-script writers should be taking notes on that.
You had Purdue and Houston in the final. Now that Purdue is out and you have seen all the games this past weekend, who do you think will make the Final Four and championship game? Are you still confident in Houston?
That's a tough question. Alabama has run through its first two games effortlessly. They really are playing like they're a top seed. I am going to go with Alabama, Tennessee, Houston, and Gonzaga for the Final Four. Those are my four. I think Houston looks like the real deal, but Drew Timme wins games, and Gonzaga is poised to win a championship. One of these years, they've got to do it. Is this the year they slay the dragon and reach the promised land? We'll see.
Sam Dekker Best College Basketball Bets Today – NCAA Tournament Odds, Predictions and Parlays for Sweet Sixteen on March 23 & 24: 4-Leg Parlay Picks (+1900)
Princeton vs. Creighton Odds, Spread, Moneyline, Over/Under – NCAAB Betting Lines 3/20
Moneyline: Princeton +400, Creighton -550
Spread: Creighton -7.5, Princeton +7.5
Total: Over/Under 140.5
Princeton vs. Creighton Prediction and Pick
I like Princeton to continue to keep playing well and keep it close against Creighton. I think they will shoot it well in the KFC Yum! Center. They will have a very solid fanbase to make the trip to Louisville because of the excitement around Princeton basketball now. I think Princeton +7.5 is a very safe play there.
1-leg Parlay Pick: Princeton Spread +7.5 (+125)
Texas vs. Xavier Odds, Spread, Moneyline, Over/Under – NCAAB Betting Lines 3/24
Moneyline: Texas -187, Xavier +150
Spread: Texas -2.5, Xavier +2.5
Total: Over/Under 148.5
Texas vs. Xavier Prediction and Pick
I like Texas to win and cover in the late game on Friday. They are looking good. They are old, athletic, and they're playing for Rodney Terry's job with an us-against-the-world mentality right now. That begs the question -- which I ask on Twitter a lot -- is Texas back?
Leg-2 Parlay Pick: Texas Spread -5.5 +110
Gonzaga vs. UCLA Odds, Spread, Moneyline, Over/Under – NCAAB Betting Lines 3/23
Moneyline: Gonzaga +115, UCLA -135
Spread: Gonzaga +2.5, UCLA -2.5
Total: Over/Under 144.5
Gonzaga vs. UCLA Prediction and Pick
Drew Timme seems like he should have his doctorate at this point, but the guy just gets it done. I get worried that UCLA could avenge their OT buzzer-beater loss in 2021, but I think Gonzaga is getting disrespected this season. People are kind of starting to turn on them a little bit for not getting it done, but they just won the WCC in Vegas and have another title on their minds. They have that focus on the locker room right now.
Leg-3 Parlay Pick: Gonzaga ML (+115)
Arkansas vs. UConn Odds, Spread, Moneyline, Over/Under – NCAAB Betting Lines 3/23
Moneyline: Arkansas +150, Connecticut -170
Spread: Arkansas +3.5, Connecticut -3.5
Total: Over/Under 140.5
Arkansas vs. UConn Prediction and Pick
Arkansas-UConn is going to be an over. It will be a track meet. I'm expecting a lot of dunks and a lot of technical fouls in a fiery Sweet 16 matchup. Anthony Black is due for a big game for Arkansas, and (Adama) Sanogo and (Donovan) Clingan should eat the inside for Connecticut. I know there's a lot of talk about missed shots, but I think this is going to be an up-and-down pace. An over-140.5 is a safe play there. It's going to be a very exciting matchup. Arkansas always used to have that "40 Minutes of Hell" mentality, and this is going to be a track meet.
4-leg Parlay Pick: Total Points Over 140.5
Odds are subject to change*
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