Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 12:15 PM EST.
Elite Eight of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament - TD Garden - Boston, Massachusetts
2:20 PM EST. Villanova needs no introduction here, as they are the #1 team in the nation. The Wildcats have a ton of market appeal after making it to 13 of the last 14 NCAA Tournaments, including a national championship victory in 2016. There hasn't been a better bet this tournament than 'Nova, as the Wildcats have covered spreads of -22½, -11, and -5 after winning their games by 26, 23 and 12 points respectively. Radford, Alabama and even the vaunted "Press" Virginia defense have all bowed down to Villanova. With most of this tournament's top teams getting turned on their heads, the Wildcats have been a steady hand. Who is going to want to bet against a team that can go on a 10-0 run at any time? The Mountaineers went shot-for-shot with 'Nova until the 12-minute mark of the second half when the Wildcats turned a 6-point deficit into a 10-point lead in what seemed like about two minutes. It was then the Wildcats never looked back. Villanova might be the best team in America, but this line looks way too easy for a 'Nova team that is cashing tickets left and right. The books aren’t in the habit of giving away money and they are not giving it away here. They want you to spot the points.
A renewed focus on the defensive side of the ball has Texas Tech in this Elite Eight with a shot to go to the Final Four. Last season was coach Chris Beard's first in Lubbock, and his Red Raiders were average at best on D. The "Kill Drill" changed all that. In practice, a unit plays defense until they make three stops in a row, that's a kill. If you don't get a kill you don't leave the floor, it's a simple concept that Beard carried over to Tech's games. Now the team tracks it's "kills" like one of the nation's top linebackers would his quarterback sacks. There are no easy baskets with the Red Raiders disciplined approach to defense, just ask #11 Purdue who was only sent to the line six times in a measly 65-point effort, which was well below the Boilermakers' 80.4 season average. The Red Raiders grind 'em out style is a must in the Big-12, which might be the best conference in the country pound-for-pound. When you play the likes of Kansas, West Virginia, TCU, Kansas State and Oklahoma, which all made the Big Dance, you're not likely to be intimidated. This line tells us the Red Raiders not only have a shot to cover but they have a decent shot to win outright. The 6½-points being offered gives us plenty of power to work with too.
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Texas Tech +6½ -110 (Risking 2.2 units - To Win: 2.00)