This Sweet 16 matchup on paper when you just look at the talent level of the two teams is a pretty wide gap from Kansas to Providence. Kansas, as the 1 seed in their region, is matched up against Providence as the 4 seed. This game is being played at 7:30 EST at the United Center in Chicago, IL on Friday, March 25th. The odds reflect Kansas as a pretty heavy favorite as well. They are currently 7.5 point favorites with the over/under set at 141.5.
The only moneyline play here would be to back Providence at +285 odds on BetRivers Sportsbook. There is some value there, with the OddsJam line pricing Providence ML at +259. The Kansas ML has too much juice to have any worthwhile play there. The OddsJam line prices it at -316, while the best odds you can get is -320 on FanDuel Sportsbook.
Starting with Kansas, as mentioned earlier on paper they are wildly more talented than Providence. They are led by senior guard Ochai Ogbaji, who is their leading point scorer with just under 20 points per game. They are also riding a hot streak, winners of 8 straight after losing two straight at the end of February. That includes some impressive wins too- they beat Texas, Texas Tech, TCU, and Creighton during that stretch, with Creighton being their most recent win in the NCAA tourney.
Overall, there is not a lot to dislike with this Kansas team. They are the 3rd ranked team in the NCAA according to KenPom, with the 6th best offense and 26th best defense. They are also battle tested, having the 3rd hardest schedule in all of college basketball. To put it lightly, there isn’t much to dislike with this Kansas team.
Looking over to Providence, you can find some things about their team to dislike. For starters, despite being the 4th seed in their region with a 27-5 schedule overall, they are only the 33rd ranked team in the nation. They don’t test particularly well on offense or defense either, having the 32nd and 58th rating on offense and defense, respectively. The only thing that they did test well in- is luck. Again, according to KenPom, Providence was rated the luckiest team in the nation. And by a wide margin too.
Essentially, their actual field goal % vs their expected field goal % was an outlier in how much it was in their favor, with the opposite being true in opponent actual field goal % vs expected field goal %. Providence also won a lot of close games, which is not necessarily a barometer for future success.
With all this being said, there is something to be said for a veteran led team finding ways to win close games. Providence also had the best 3 point shooting % in the Big East, with their 3 best players all having career seasons from beyond the arc. Despite not being career solid 3-point shooters, there is no reason to expect Providence to suddenly go cold from the arc. So, I actually like Providence to cover the spread here, albeit in a loss still. I also like this game going over.
Kansas vs Providence pick:
The best March Madness betting pick for this game is Providence +7.5. This bet is available on almost every book, but I specifically bet it on WynnBET Sportsbook.