College Basketball
Chris 'The Bear' Fallica's March Madness Sweet 16 best bets
College Basketball

Chris 'The Bear' Fallica's March Madness Sweet 16 best bets

Updated Mar. 27, 2024 9:36 a.m. ET

"Bear Bets" are real wagers that Chris "The Bear" Fallica is actually making.

The 2024 NCAA Tournament is cookin'! 

Outside the Super Bowl, this is up there for me as the sporting "event" of the year. And, if you want to get a couple of bucks down on the games, I have you covered.

Be sure to check back here for my best tourney bets throughout March Madness, from the first round until the final championship buzzer.


Let's jump into some of my favorite Sweet 16 wagers.

HOUSTON (-4) vs. DUKE 

The ridiculous final minute or so of the Cougars game with Texas A&M overshadowed what was a pretty good performance from Houston to reach a 99% win probability, up 74-61 late in the second half. A&M struggled all night from 3-point range, Jamal Shead, L.J. Cryer and Emanuel Sharp made big plays all night long, and Houston alleviated a lot of questions in my mind about its offensive liabilities. 

I’d expect Jared McCain to find it much harder here to get open looks as he did against JMU when he hit eight 3s, and the interior of Houston’s defense should offer a bit more resistance than the Blue Devils saw vs. the Dukes. It’s been a while since Duke beat a higher seed, and while it has been impressive in two games, doing it against one of the best two teams in the country — one that, despite having four players foul out Sunday night, still found a way to get through — is a different challenge. 

PICK: Houston (-4) to win by more than 4 points


I was on Michigan State on Saturday vs. UNC, and Tar Heel fans will be happy to hear I’m backing the underdog Tide here. Bama went 8-for-31 from 3-point range against Grand Canyon — and everyone not named Mark Sears combined to go 3-for-20. That will probably not happen for two games in a row. Michigan State had its chances last round, but just went through one too many scoring droughts. Bama will likely not have issues scoring. Maybe the lack of defense will surface here, but against Grand Canyon, players like Mouhamed Dioubate offered quite a bit when thrust into action. 

The threat exists UNC will get easy basket after easy basket, but the expectation Bama will shoot much better here, along with there being no home court edge in Charlotte for UNC, puts me on the Tide. 

PICK: Alabama (+4) to lose by fewer than four points (or win outright)

IOWA STATE (-120 moneyline) vs. ILLINOIS

Heard a lot of people on the Illini here, which is understandable after they put up 84 points on 14-seed Morehead State and 89 on 11-seed Duquesne. Things will be a bit tougher for Terrence Shannon and Marcus Domask when they face a Cyclones defense that allowed 56 and 65 points in the first two games. Sure, nobody is going to confuse South Dakota State or Washington State with Illinois, but Iowa State has been shutting down teams all year long, and I think it'll do the same here and move onto the Elite Eight. 

I laid the -120 on the moneyline, just to avoid a push or a loss depending on whether the best number you can find is one or 1.5. 

PICK: Iowa State (-120)

Chris "The Bear" Fallica has covered sports for nearly three decades. While college football has been his focus, he also enjoys the NFL, Soccer, Golf, Tennis, MLB, NHL and Horse Racing, with an "occasional" wager on such events. Chris recently won the inaugural Circa Football Invitational and finished in the Top 10 of the Golden Nugget Football Contest. He's a multiple-time qualifier for the NHC Handicapping Championship. Remember, "The less you bet, the more you lose when you win!" Follow him on Twitter @chrisfallica

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