Daily Dunk: Best College Basketball Bets for NCAA Tournament Second Round (Can Oakland, Oregon Cover?)

2024 NCAA Tournament second round best bets with underdogs standing out as live to make the Sweet 16.

Mar 21, 2024; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Oregon Ducks guard Jermaine Couisnard (5) celebrates with guard
Mar 21, 2024; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Oregon Ducks guard Jermaine Couisnard (5) celebrates with guard / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

If you are reading this, you survived the first two days of the NCAA Tournament and are hungry for more second round coverage.

A poor Thursday was replaced by a fantastic Friday in terms of my betting experience, let's see if we can keep it rolling into the second round this weekend. I'm eyeing a couple of live underdogs in Oakland and Oregon while West Region favorite Arizona may have a tricky time with double digit underdog Dayton.

Here's my favorite bets for Saturday's Round of 32.

You can get all of my bets on my betstamp @rw33, my season long record is 202-195-8 (+9.35U)

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Best College Basketball Bets Today for NCAA Tournament Round of 32

  • Dayton (+9) vs. Arizona
  • Oakland (+6.5) vs. NC State
  • Oregon (+5) vs. Creighton

Dayton vs. Arizona Prediction and Pick

For some reason this is the first tip of the day in Salt Lake City, Utah with a 9:45 AM PST star time. 

Anyway, I think Dayton can hang around with Arizona due to some schematic decisions from head coach Anthony Grant. 

The Flyers typically run a zone defense (69% of defensive possessions, per Synergy) which can slow down the Arizona offense that prefers to play in transition (87% of offensive possessions). Dayton’s ability to slow the game down with an adjusted tempo outside the top 300 is the key to this one.

With big man DaRon Holmes checking Oumar Ballo and the Flyers able to set its defense, the likelihood of an Arizona blowout becomes less likely with limited possessions. 

Dayton’s offense fell off towards the end of the season, but the team is still shooting north of 40% from beyond the arc this season, and Arizona has a tendency to allow open shots from distance, 204th in open three rate, per ShotQuality. 

This game can have a clunky start with the early tip off, but the fascinating part of this game comes when Arizona has the ball, as we have seen teams that play in the half court slow down this vaunted offense, similar to Princenton in the first round of the 2023 NCAA Tournament. 

I’m going to take the points in this one. 

PICK: Dayton +9

Oakland vs. NC State Prediction and Pick

Both of these teams would qualify as surprises in the Sweet 16 after stunning the nation in the first round, but Oakland is the massive underdog against the Wolfpack, who has captured the college basketball world after winning five straight games in the ACC Tournament and another on Thursday in the first round against Texas Tech. 

Meanwhile, Oakland shocked Kentucky in first round play behind the play of Ben Gohlke, who made 10-of-20 3s (not a typo). 

The Golden Grizzlies may not need such a heroic effort this time around considering the team shot 34% on two’s and 48% on 3s with Gohlke making 10 of the 15. The rest of the team helped shoulder the load late, namely Trey Townsend, who may be able to play more of a role in this matchup against the smaller NC State front court compared to Kentucky. 

Townsend is a terror with the ball in his hands, able to rack up fouls and step out and shoot form the perimeter, making me confident he can put both DJ Burns and Ben Middlebrooks in foul trouble. 

Meanwhile, Oakland will likely stick with its zone defense that the Wolfpack didn’t see much of this season – just three-percent of the time – which means that this can be a tough prep with a quick turnaround. 

Both teams are likely running on fumes, but it’s Oakland who is far more comfortable from the perimeter, which the Golden Grizzlies may force the Wolfpack to be. The Wolfpack did shoot threes at a bottom 10 rate and made only 34% of them. The team is reliant on getting inside, but can Oakland turn this into a jump shooting contest? 

Maybe, I think this change in expectation for NC State, going from underdog to clear favorite, may play a role. 

PICK: Oakland +6.5

Oregon vs. Creighton Prediction and Pick

I think this is a poor matchup for the Bluejays, who were able to cruise past Akron after a competitive second half, but due to a 58% 3-point shooting effort. However, the team allowed Akron to generate nine offensive rebounds and coughed up the ball 14 times.

The Bluejays ball handlers have struggled with ball pressure all season, and I believe that Oregon's length in the back court with Jermaine Couisnard and Jackson Shelstad can give Creighton issues.

On a quick turnaround, I expect Dana Altman to have his team prepared and for Greg McDermott's team given the ever-changing nature of the Oregon defense. The team plays morphing zone defenses that is always tricky to prepare for with extra time, not only on a quick change.

Further, I believe the Ducks are set to dominate the shot volume in this game, which gives me a lot of confidence backing the underdog. Creighton doesn't pressure the ball whatsoever – last in the country in turnover rate – and are 283rd in offensive rebounding rate. 

With the Ducks ability to force turnovers, top third in the country, and use Dante down low to get extra shots, I feel confident that Oregon can skew this game in its favor with simply more shots on target. 

Lastly, Creighton games are always very fickle. The team is top 10 in 3-point rate. If this becomes a jump shooting contest and the team hits more than 58% of its shots from deep, it becomes a tough ask to stay within striking distance, but I believe Oregon’s ability to win on the margins with a unique defense gives the underdog plenty of life on Saturday. 

PICK: Oregon +5

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.