NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 parlay of favorites and a total: Best Bets for Thursday (March 23)

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UConn's Adama Sanogo (21) rebounds in the second half of a second-round college basketball game against Saint Mary's in the NCAA Tournament, Sunday, March 19, 2023, in Albany, N.Y. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Each day, one of our experts will offer up a best bet (or two or three) that mobile sportsbooks are offering. It might be a traditional spread bet, a player prop or one of the various odds boosts that books offer.

Here are our best bets for Thursday, March 23:

TOP PLAY

The play: NCAA Tournament money line parlay: UConn over Arkansas and Tennessee over Florida Atlantic

The odds: +122

The book: FanDuel Sportsbook

Time/TV: UConn-Arkansas at 7:15 p.m. (CBS); Tennessee-FAU at 9 p.m. (TBS)

Our take: This is the time when the cream begins to rise and Cinderella’s glass slipper begins to crack a bit. For UConn, one could make an argument they are playing as well or better than any other team in the tournament and be a bargain at around +1000 to win the national championship.

Also, the Razorbacks are dealing with a couple of injuries that could affect their play in this one.

For the Volunteers, not only did they have a good draw to begin with, being placed in the same bracket as possibly the weakest No. 1 seed, they don’t even have to worry about Purdue with them being knocked out in the first round. Now, they get the ninth-seeded Owls, and should be able to overmatch them early.

Both of these favorites have an excellent chance to get out of their bracket and make it to Houston, and there seems to be great value on a parlay here.

SWEET 16 TOTAL

The play: NCAA Tournament total: UCLA-Gonzaga alternate over 146 points

The odds: +102

The book: BetRivers

Time/TV: 9:45 p.m. (CBS)

Our take: For the past six weeks or so, Gonzaga has been nearly an automatic over team until they played a couple lesser opponents in their conference tournament and against Grand Canyon in the first round. UCLA, meanwhile, is the opposite – unless they play a featured, high-powered type offense.

That’s what the Bruins have here. It seems like many of the experts and even Joe Public is on UCLA, but although I am high on the Zags as they continue to fly lower and out of as much prominence as the last couple seasons, I expect a fun, potent matchup to watch all night even more.

HOW WE’VE FARED

Wednesday’s best bets

NIT money line: Vanderbilt over UAB (LOST)

NBA total: Golden-State-Dallas over 236 points (WON)

Wednesday’s record: 1-1

Total for the week: 4-2

Total for March: 24-21

Total for 2023: 56-61

NOTE: If a line or odds are minus, it considers the juice one must lay to place the bet. Ex: Team A is -160 on the money line, one would have to bet $160 to win $100 (or $16 to win $10). OR Team B is a 5-point favorite at -110, one would have to bet $110 to win $100 (or $11 to win $10.)

Conversely, on positive lines, if Team C is +140 on the money line, $100 would bring in $140 (or $10 to win $14).

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