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NCAA Tournament Betting Picks for Second Round - 2022 March Madness

Chet Holmgren daily college fantasy basketball CFB DFS picks March Madness - rotoballer icon

We have had an exciting first round of the NCAA tournament! After a slow start, we had the Saint Peter's Peacocks take down Kentucky, the Richmond Spiders take down Iowa, and despite our certainties in various games, the tournament reminds us that nobody is safe (my apologies to Kentucky and Iowa fans reading this)!

Similar to the first round, I am going to share my top betting picks for each subsequent round of the NCAA Tournament here at RotoBaller, and am excited to share my thoughts with you! Be sure to also check out the rest of our NCAA Tournament articles and analysis including previews, predictions, sleepers, busts, and guides on how to fill out your brackets.

This article highlights my top college basketball betting picks for the second round (Saturday and Sunday, March 19 and 20, 2022). I will be posting a spreadsheet with all of my bets for the NCAA tournament. You can follow all of my picks, including live picks, on my Twitter @Mark_Kieffer. All game times below are Eastern Standard Time and reference the odds at Caesars Sportsbook. You can access all of our latest sports betting promos, and sign up for Caesars Sportsbook here.

Featured Promo: Want a free RotoBaller Premium Pass? Check out these sports betting promo offers from the top sportsbooks! All new sign-ups get a free bonus offer on their first deposit, and a free year of RotoBaller's Premium Pass for all sports ($450 value)! Sign Up Now!


#11 North Carolina vs. #1 Baylor

Saturday 12:10 PM

The first game of the second round here provides us some value. North Carolina capped off an impressive blowout over Marquette. North Carolina played one of the best games one can play offensively; they had a 1.27 offensive rating and a 0.84 defensive rating. Baylor continues to not have LC Cryer yet had no problem winning their Round 1 game over Norfolk St., 85-49.

At Caesar's, Baylor is favored by 5.5 points and the game total is 148.5. Before I looked at the lines, I expected the line to be in favor of Baylor by seven or eight points. Baylor is number eight in offensive efficiency and number 12 in defensive efficiency while North Carolina is number 23 and number 55, respectively. North Carolina likes to play at a higher pace as they are number 37 in tempo (70.4 possessions/game) while Baylor plays at more of the NCAA average of 67.4 possessions/game (number 183).

When I look at many of North Carolina's losses this year, it's been against teams playing at average tempo or slower. North Carolina has lost by nine to Purdue (66.0 possessions/game), by 17 to Tennessee (67.3 possessions/game), by 29 to Kentucky (67.5 possessions/game), and more recently to Virginia Tech by 13 points in the ACC tournament (63.1 possessions/game). They do also have some wins over slower-paced teams like Michigan, Virginia Tech earlier in the year, Virginia, Duke, etc., so tempo alone isn't a predictor. My belief is the combination of average tempo or slower combined with Baylor being number 12 in defensive efficiency will slow down North Carolina. On top of that, I think North Carolina is getting a point or two in their favor because of their recent blowout win; the market is impacted by recency bias.

Taking Baylor at the current spread of  (-5.5, -110) is a value, where they should be favored by seven or eight points instead.

Pick: Baylor (-5.5, -110)


#12 Richmond vs. #4 Providence

Saturday 6:10 PM

This is a matchup that many bracket prognosticators did not think would happen. Many people thought Iowa would make a run potentially into the Elite Eight after a great Big 10 Tournament Run, and others thought that Providence was over-seeded and susceptible to South Dakota State's high-powered offense (I was one of those people too). Nevertheless, both of these schools reminded us that it's March, that there are more knowns than unknowns and here they are facing each other (cue the Paul Rudd Hot Ones Gif).

Providence likes to play slow; their tempo is number 276 in the nation while Richmond is closer to average at number 191 in the nation. Something that is a pet peeve when people analyze game totals is that they will say "oh wow, both of these teams want to slow it down, I am going to take the under" as if totals are set static from game to game. This total is currently at 134.5 at Caesar's, which is 14 points less than Baylor and UNC, for example. The tempo of the teams is already in consideration of the line. The book is seeing this as a 69-66 game and it very well could end there as both teams have had their fair share of games in that range.

I see this game a bit differently. This is likely to be a close game throughout, as evidenced by the point spread of three. Close games bring two things up free throws down the stretch and/or overtime. Free throws can help a game go over because it is scoring when the clock is stopped. Also, overtime also obviously can bring more scoring due to the extra period. Add in the fact that while both teams play slow, neither defense between these teams are great. Providence is number 66 in defensive efficiency and Richmond is number 84. A slow pace does not mean a good defense.

I like the over in this game in the event that it is close. If the total starts to get up to 136 or 137, then I would pass.

Pick: Over 134.5 Points (-110)

#7 Ohio St vs. #2 Villanova

Sunday 2:40 pm

On Sunday, we have Villanova facing Ohio State in a 2-7 matchup. Ohio State is coming off of an impressive 54-41 win over Loyola-Chicago while Villanova beat Delaware 80-60.

This current game has Villanova as a five-point favorite with a game total of 132.5 at Caesar's. Villanova is number nine in offensive efficiency and number 28 in defensive efficiency. Ohio State is number 12 in offensive efficiency and number 104 in defensive efficiency. Ohio State plays at a slow tempo, number 289 in the country while Villanova is even slower at number 345 in the nation.

What stands out to me in this game is the free-throw percentages. Villanova is number one in the nation at 82.5%. If this is a scenario where late in the game Villanova is up by four, five, six points, etc., I could see them either maintaining their lead or increasing it due to their free-throw percentages. A good free-throw shooting team that is favored is more likely to cover than not. Ohio State generally is not a good defensive team. They did play well against Loyola and that could continue against Villanova, but they will get tested. Loyola went in at number 69 in offensive efficiency and Villanova is number nine.

I like Villanova to not only win but to cover against Ohio State due to their excellent offense and free throw shooting percentage.

Pick: Villanova -5.0 (-110)


#6 Texas vs. #3 Purdue

Sunday 8:40pm

A lot of people thought Virginia Tech would be here given their surprising run in the NCAA tournament but on paper, Texas was the better team and they find themselves against Purdue in what is essentially a coin flip game.

Texas is number 28 in offensive efficiency and number 14 in defensive efficiency while Purdue is number two in offensive efficiency and number 92 in defensive efficiency. Additionally, Purdue shoots 38.9% from three (number four), while Texas allows on average 31.8% from three. Purdue shoots 70.8% from the free-throw line while Texas shoots 75% from the free-throw line.

This game really comes down to what will win out between good offense and good defense. When Texas played Gonzaga in the third game, it was the good offense that won. In conference, Kansas is number seven offensively in the country and Texas won by three and took them to overtime in another game.

Texas has a 50% chance to win this game in my opinion and we can get them at +155 (39% implied chance of winning). Anytime you can get a 4-5% difference between the expected outcome and what the book offers, it's a bet and here we are getting a little more value. If you do not feel comfortable with the Moneyline, Texas +3.5 (-110) also offers a good value as they should be able to keep it close in the event they do not win.

Pick: Texas (+155)

Thanks for reading, bet smart, and enjoy Round 2 of the tournament! I will write an update for the Sweet 16 next week, so be sure to check back. Good luck RotoBallers!

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