NCAAB Betting: Which Top Seed is the Most Vulnerable Heading into the Sweet 16

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Michael Savio
USA Legal Betting Basketball


  • Alabama led the country in scoring (90.7 PPG)
  • Purdue beat Utah State by 39 points on Sunday
  • Duke has five players averaging 10+ points per game

After a wild 2023 NCAA Tournament that saw two mid-majors make the Final Four, this year’s March Madness betting season have been far less “mad”. The Sweet 16 field is set, with just one double-digit seed making the cut.

Below, we will preview matchups for all four of the tournament’s one-seeds. We’ll share the latest odds for each to advance to the Elite 8 as well as insights into which our USA Legal Betting experts believe to be the most vulnerable.

#5 San Diego State vs. #1 UConn






+10.5 (-105) 


Over 135.5 (-115) 


-10.5 (-115) 


Under 135.5 (-105) 

Odds courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook 

This Sweet 16 matchups give us a rematch of last year’s March Madness Final. UConn is again a dominant favorite to win, but the Aztecs should not be overlooked. They withstood a red-hot UAB team’s best shot in the first round before pummeling Yale in the second. While those wins are impressive, neither can hold a candle to the UConn team they’ll see on Thursday.

Unlike last season, the Aztecs are no longer the defensive powerhouse they were. While a breakout season from forward Jason LeDee has boosted their scoring; the Aztecs don’t have enough behind him to keep up with a team like UConn. The Huskies will focus on shutting LeDee down, leading to another blowout win for the reigning champs.

#4 Alabama vs. #1 North Carolina






+4.5 (-120) 


Over 173.5 (-115) 

North Carolina 

-4.5 (+100) 


Under 173.5 (-105) 

Odds courtesy of BetMGM Sportsbook

North Carolina is believed by many to be the most vulnerable one-seed heading into the Sweet 16. They are set to meet an Alabama team that led the country in scoring (90.7 PPG) and finished with a 23-11 record. The Tide crushed Charleston in their first-round game and outpaced a dangerous Grand Canyon team over the weekend.

While there is no question that this is a dangerous matchup, we see the Tar Heels covering the spread and advancing. As good as Alabama's offense is, they finished dead last in the SEC in opponent scoring, allowing a whopping 80.9 PPG. UNC is far more balanced, finishing the season with an impressive +11.8-point differential.

We see the Heels being reasonably safe for at least one more game.

#5 Gonzaga vs. #1 Purdue






+5.5 (-110) 


Over 154.5 (-112) 


-5.5 (-110) 


Under 154.5 (-109) 

Odds courtesy of BetRivers Sportsbook 

The Boilermakers sent a message with their 40-point blowout of Utah State on Sunday. We have seen the team struggle in past tournaments, but something feels different this year. Zach Edey has been playing as well as he ever has, while Purdue’s shooters have been ruthless from the outside. It’s hard for any team to cover a player like Edey, but that is especially true for mid-majors.

As good as Gonzaga has looked, we think their season comes to a crashing end on Friday. The Zags don’t have the size to stop Edey. The Utah State Aggies are a bigger team than Gonzaga but had zero answers for stopping the Purdue big man. The Zags have a high-flying offense, but their tallest player is just 6’9”. Expect Purdue to feed him down low, forcing Gonzaga to foul or collapse into the paint, allowing their three-point shooters to do some damage.

We see Purdue as being safe heading into the Sweet 16.

#4 Duke vs #1 Houston






+4.0 (-110) 


Over 134.0 (-110) 


-4.0 (-110) 


Under 134.0 (-110) 

Odds courtesy of bet365 Sportsbook 

Houston is the one seed we see as the most vulnerable in the Sweet 16. They came very close to losing to Texas A&M in the second round, needing overtime to put away the upstart SEC team. While their scoring was impressive, they allowed the Aggies to finish with 95 points. Houston’s edge comes from their elite defense, making their play on Sunday concerning.

We saw Houston bow out of last year’s tournament early, and we see that happening again. Duke has a far better offense than Texas A&M, with five players averaging 10+ points per game. The Blue Devils have size to play with Houston down low and lead the ACC in three-point shooting (38.1%). They crushed a very good James Madison team last round, and we see that momentum rolling into the Sweet 16.

Houston’s defense will likely bounce back, but we don’t think they can do enough to contain Duke on both ends of the floor.