2018 NCAA Tournament: Vegas Whispers Sweet 16 Selections

Are you listening to the Vegas whispers? Frankie Fantasy hooks you up with the top picks and bets as we approach the Sweet 16!

NCAA Basketball: Nevada
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Betting Lines

March 22

  • Kentucky Wildcats ( -5.5) vs Kansas State Wildcats (138.5) (9:35 EST; 6:35 PST)
  • Michigan Wolverines ( -2.5) vs Texas A&M Aggies (135.5) (7:35 EST; 4:35 PST)
  • Nevada  vs Loyola Chicago (+1.5) (143) (7:35 EST; 4:35 PST)
  • Gonzaga  vs Florida State (+6) (153.5) (10:05 EST; 7:05 PST)

March 23

  • Villanova Wildcats  (-5.5) vs West Virginia Mountaineers (153) (7:25 EST; 4:25 PST)
  • Purdue Boilmakers vs Texas Tech Red Raiders (+1.5) (137.5) (9:55 EST; 6:55 PST)
  • Kansas Jayhawks (-4.5) vs Clemson Tigers (143) (4:05 EST; 7:05 PST)
  • Duke Blue Devils (-11.5) vs Syracuse Orangemen (133.5) (9:35 EST; 6:35 PST)

2018 NCAA Tournament Record: 14-11-1 ATS

*BEST BETS: 4-1-1

NCAA Region Futures

EAST: Villanova (+137) | SOUTH: Kentucky (10/1) | WEST: Michigan (5/1) – Highlighted in 3/14 Vegas Whispers release

New Adjusted Region Future Values: Villanova (-150) | Kentucky (-150) | Michigan (+165)

Thursday Selections

South Region

Kentucky Wildcats (-5.5) vs Kansas State Wildcats (138.5) – 9:35 EST / 6:35 PST

Do you think Kentucky Head Coach John Calipari is still complaining about his team’s placement and seeding by the NCAA Selection Committee? Could any bracket have broken better than the South Region for Kentucky? Thanks to a bevy of upsets, the 1,2,3 & 4 seeds all failed to make the Sweet 16 in the South Region–headlined by #1 overall seed Virginia in perhaps sports history’s biggest upset at the hands of 16-seed UMBC. The sharps were on Kentucky before the Tournament began last week backing the Wildcats at 10/1 to win the South Region and now see great value in the ‘Cats as Vegas has them installed as (-150) favorites to win the South and make the Final Four. As we know, the sharps have backed Kentucky (2-0 ATS) in both of their tournament wins–going an insane 9-1 ATS in their last 10–and aren’t stopping now. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has emerged as an absolute star since the SEC Tournament, averaging 25.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 6.3 assists per game over his last three outings. Right now, he looks like he could be on his way to a Kemba Walker (UCONN) type of run in bringing glory back to Big Blue. When you add in Wenyen Gabriel & Hamidou Diallo taking their games to the next level in March, the folks in Lexington have realistic thoughts of cutting down the ‘nets in San Antonio in a few weeks. This line opened at -5 early Sunday evening and quickly saw the sharp action move the line to -5.5 and I wouldn’t be surprised to see more public money roll in late, causing this line to rise even higher come game time. However, if Kansas State’s leading scorer Dean Wade (16.5 PTS, 6.3 REBs & 2.8 ASTs) is able to return from injury and see his first minutes of the Tournament, there could be some late K-State money. This would offer further value on backing Kentucky with even better number than the sharps have backed. My suggestion is wait closer to tip-off and hope a less than 100% healthy Wade gets announced in and perhaps get Kentucky at a lower point spread. Either way, Kentucky is the play.

The Play: Kentucky -5.5

Nevada vs Loyola Chicago (+1.5) (143) – 7:35 EST / 4:35 PST

Take away UMBC and the Cinderella of the Tournament would be the Ramblers of Loyola Chicago. As Scout Army members know, the sharps have already backed the Ramblers once in the Tournament in their opening round win over the Miami Hurricanes. Well the sharps are back on the ‘Rambling train once again as we seen this line open at (+2.5) and with all the sharp action, the books quickly dropped this one down a point. One of the most polarizing images of the 2018 Tournament is easily the Ramblers’ Sister Jean. The Loyola-Chicago men’s basketball team chaplain and super-fan said she believes they will emerge victorious because “we have God on our side.” Not sure if its divine intervention or not–but in any way shape or form the sharps are strongly behind Sister Jean’s convictions that this team will find itself in the Elite Eight come Saturday.

The Play: Loyola Chicago +1.5

West Region

Gonzaga vs Florida State (+6) (153.5) – 10:05 EST / 7:05 PST

In this matchup, we have seen the sharpest action of any total of the eight games on the board here in Vegas. This total between the ‘Zags and ‘Noles opened at 155 late Sunday night and by Monday morning, the sharps had pounded the total so hard that books had posted a 1.5 point adjustment. The action continues to steam in on the under and I wouldn’t be surprised to see this close even lower than our line at time of publishing. Now we know the 9-seeded Seminoles like to push the tempo for 40 minutes but the sharps are envisioning the 4-seeded Bulldogs to shy away from a sprint and slow down the pace while working their sets. The sharps see the ‘Zags running a solid half court game and trying to win by taking advantage on the inside with both Johnathan Williams and Killian Tille on the interior. The boys here in the desert posted this game with the highest total of any game on the board and the sharps quickly saw value going under the points in this Sweet 16 showdown.

The Play: UNDER 153.5

Friday Selections

East Region

Villanova Wildcats (-5.5) vs West Virginia Mountaineers (153) – 4:25 EST / 7:25 PST

Jay Wright’s team has been a covering a machine throughout the season here in Las Vegas. On the season, Villanova is 24-12 ATS and have covered seven of their last 10 versus the number. On the flip side, West Virginia has been hit or miss going 17-15 ATS while only covering 3 of their past 11 matchups with former Big East rivals over the past several seasons. The Wildcats are 5.5 point favorites against the Mountaineers here and have seen themselves become the chalk favorite in the Futures market to cut down the ‘nets in Texas at +300. The Wildcats possess the nation’s highest scoring offense and have been blistering hot from behind the arc draining a school record 31 three-pointers in their first two games of the Tournament. Led by Big East Player of the year Jalen Brunson and expected NBA Lottery Pick Mikal Bridges, the Wildcats have made significant money for their backers here in Sin City. Villanova’s guards will face a frantic 90-foot  ‘Press Virginia’ after every successful Mountaineer basket led by star defender Jevon Carter. However, if we look at the numbers we will see that West Virginia’s press, when broken, leaves them vulnerable to defending from behind the arc–allowing opponents to convert on 38% from long range. The key to this game will be Villanova defending like they did against Alabama and not allowing West Virginia to set up their great press defense after made baskets. The sharps have been on the ‘Cats much of the season and in what will be a tough matchup of two elite programs, they aren’t stopping now.

The Play: Villanova -5.5

Jay Wright
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Purdue Boilmakers vs Texas Tech Red Raiders (+1.5) (137.5) – 9:55 EST / 6:55 PST

Purdue got by the Butler Bulldogs last weekend without the services of star player Isaac Haas–who is feared to be lost for the season with a fractured elbow suffered in Purdue’s opening round win over Cal St Fullerton. Even with Haas in the lineup, Boliermaker backers have been burned at the window as Purdue is a mere 3-12-1 ATS in their last 16 games. Now they face a Red Raiders team that ranks in the top 20 in scoring defense and will force Purdue to become one dimensional without Haas on the inside. The sharps are aware that the Boilermakers can fill it up from behind the arc evidenced by when they backed Purdue as 20.5 favorites versus CSF and were one of the 14 cashes in the opening four days of the Tourney for Vegas Whispers. However, the wise guys are jumping off 2-seed Purdue in favor of a Texas Tech squad led by star guard Keenan Evans who is averaging 22.5 points per game in the Tournament.

The Play: Texas Tech +1.5

MidWest Region

Kansas Jayhawks (-4.5) vs Clemson Tigers (143) – 4:05 EST / 7:05 PST

The Jayhawks come into the game winning 83-79 but failing to cover the 4.5 points (insert beat cry for KU backers here) in a battle with the Seton Hall Pirates, while Clemson comes in fresh off a dismantling of the Auburn Tigers by 31 points as 2-point dogs. This line opened Kansas -4 and the sharps spoke loud and hard backing ‘Rock Chalk Jayhawk’ quickly moving the number to -4.5. Guards Malik Newman and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk have been on fire this month helping Kansas capture the Big 12 Tournament Championship. The failure of KU to cover the number on a last second garbage time 3-pointer at the buzzer versus Seton Hall is the Jayhawks’ only blemish against the number in their last six games. The sharps think Bill Self–who is 7-3 ATS in his last 10 NCAA games–will find a way to make it 6-1 ATS in his last 7 overall in 2018 versus the Tigers. This could result in a juicy Elite Eight matchup with the Duke Blue Devils on Sunday.

The Play: Kansas -4.5*

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Frankie Fantasy
About Frankie Fantasy 49 Articles
Frankie is a Villanova alumni who created the first Casino Fantasy Sports program in Vegas book. He was the 2019 FFWC 10K Top Gun Champion & 2017 + 2018 Back-to-Back Top 100 Players in World Invit. Champ! He is a sports fanatic, a Vegas whisperer, and a horse racing expert handicapper!