Saturday Elite 8 Picks: Houston vs. Villanova and Arkansas vs. Duke

Saturday's Elite 8 predictions and picks from handicapper John Hyslop. John breaks down both of Saturday's Elite 8 matchups and gives us his favorite play from each game. Make sure you tail these picks.
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Saturday Elite 8 Picks: Houston vs. Villanova and Arkansas vs. Duke

Yesterday was perfect. It was exactly what we needed in terms of revenge. We won. Revenge is dumb if you don't win. Everyone knows that. But today is a new day. It's kind of sad that we are only getting two games but that's what happens as we get deeper into this thing. It's just how single-elimination tournaments work. Still, the stakes are higher now, which makes things a little cooler. Also, it is kind of fun to not have another game to check while you're watching another game. It's must-win for us gamblers too. There's no other game that can save us. Luckily for us, tonight's board is probably the easiest one I've ever seen in my life. We're talking kindergarten easy here people. It almost makes me feel like my phone is an ATM. Just crazy.

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Jamal Shead Over 11.5 Points @ +100 (Bet $100 to win $100)

Odds available at FanDuel at time of publishing

Do I want to do a player prop? No. Not even a little but I legit have no idea what is going to happen in this game. Other than Jamal Shead scoring all over the place. The kid has really come on in the tournament and I think he deserves a chance tonight. I'm giving it to him.

I was put on Shead because at first, I thought team totals were the way to go. Just figure out which team was going to go over and bang it. That's just what you do with team totals on Saturdays. The thing is, we don't even know if both teams will hit their team totals. The pace of this game could be insanely slow. Especially early. If we're smart, we'll pray for it to be low scoring early on, then hit the over (team totals too) on a low number. That's the only safe way to do the total in my opinion.

The thing is, in all of the number crunching I realized one thing. Jamal Shead can ball. He's been taking more shots in the last two games and it's worked out well. Against Arizona, the kid threw up 16 attempts from the field. That's crazy. Obviously, that's unlikely today but we only need 12 points. Both Eli Brooks and Malaki Branham went over that total in their games with Villanova in the tournament. I think you beat the Wildcats with guard play and even if Houston comes up short, Shead should still get home on this number.

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Arkansas/Duke Over 150 @ +115 (Bet $100 to win $115)

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This one feels a little bit wild but I think it's the right move. First off, it's Saturday night. This game is scheduled to start at 8:49 pm ET but you know it will start later. You have to ask yourself, "self, do I want to be the kind of person that bets on kids or against kids?" I think the answer is clear people. We should bet ON the kids.

The haters are going to say that Arkansas plays enough defense to keep this under but keep in mind, these people are haters. Haters lie all the time. It's sad. Sure the Razorbacks held Gonzaga to 68 points but that team was the softest team I've ever seen. You can bully those soft teams and that's exactly what Arkansas did. Plus the Zags missed wide-open shot after wide-open shot.

Tonight the Razorbacks won't get bailed out by kids laying bricks. We're talking Duke here. I'm not a Duke guy but those kids can score. I highly doubt Arkansas will slow pace so that means points since they play at the 32nd fastest pace in the country. I also have confidence that they can score on Duke since the Blue Devils have given up at least 73 points in their last two games. The over will be a fun bet tonight.

ROI 31%
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John has spent the past 20+ years betting sports on a daily basis and is considered by many to be a walking sports betting encyclopedia. From obscure player props to sides and totals, if there is an angle, John will find it. His work has appeared on Rotogrinders and he has been a regular on sports talk radio stations across the country. Based in the US, John operates a blog & podcast, Sports Bets Beers, which covers betting angles in the NFL, NBA, MLB, & NHL.

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