NCAAB

NCAA Tournament Betting: Can Texas Cover the Spread Against Tennessee?

Gabriel Santiago
Gabriel Santiago@gps_onthemic
NCAA Tournament Betting: Can Texas Cover the Spread Against Tennessee?

Very few things on the sports calendar can match the excitement and unpredictability of the NCAA Tournament. So why not add betting to the mix via the college basketball odds at FanDuel Sportsbook?

The 2024 edition of the big dance has arrived, and here at FanDuel Research, we'll have you covered with a betting guide for each game.

In the Midwest region, Saturday evening will present an orange-on-orange meeting that is sure to turn heads. Tipping off from Charlotte's Spectrum Center, the No. 7 Texas Longhorns will attempt to upset the No. 2 Tennessee Volunteers in the tourney's second round.

Simply, this is one you will not want to miss. Entering the weekend, FanDuel Sportsbook has the Volunteers labeled as 6.5-point favorites.

All college basketball odds come from FanDuel Sportsbook, and lines may change after this article is published.

NCAA Tournament Betting Picks

Texas vs. Tennessee Betting Odds

Date and Time: Saturday, March 23rd at 8:00 p.m. ET

Spread: Tennessee -6.5 (-110)

Total: 146.5 (-110/-110)

Moneyline:

  • Texas: +225
  • Tennessee: -280

Texas vs. Tennessee Statistical Breakdown

Advanced stats from KenPom, Bart Torvik and numberFire.

Texas

  • numberFire Ranking: 32nd
  • Bart Torvik Ranking: 22nd
  • KenPom Ranking: 29th
    • Adjusted Defensive Efficiency Ranking: 61st
    • Adjusted Offensive Efficiency Ranking: 20th
    • Adjusted Tempo Ranking: 197th

Tennessee

  • numberFire Ranking: 6th
  • Bart Torvik Ranking: 7th
  • KenPom Ranking: 7th
    • Adjusted Defensive Efficiency Ranking: 3rd
    • Adjusted Offensive Efficiency Ranking: 28th
    • Adjusted Tempo Ranking: 79th

Texas vs. Tennessee Best Bet

Texas +6.5 (-104)

When it comes to the Vols and the 'Horns, I'd prepare for a spirited effort on the hardwood. Showcasing two explosive rosters along with a couple of boisterous fanbases, Saturday night's affair from "Queen City" will be loud and proud.

Texas might not have been as dominant as the Volunteers in 2024, but the Longhorns did well enough to compile a 21-12 overall record while playing in a hyper-competitive Big 12 circuit. Under head coach Rodney Terry, the 'Horns have shown balance in their half-court style of play. Texas has scored 75.9 PPG this year while allowing 69.1 PPG -- both figures are within college basketball's 70th percentile.

For Rick Barnes' ninth season at the helm in Knoxville, the Vols once again managed to win at least 25 games. From there, Tennessee's 14-4 SEC record was good enough to earn a regular-season conference title for the first time since 2018. Much of that success was drawn from discipline on defense. In 2024, the group from Rocky Top has surrendered only 67.3 PPG.

In Thursday's first-round action, Tennessee dismantled No. 15 St. Peter's by a score of 83-49. Senior guard Dalton Knecht was particularly big in that contest, producing 23 points and eight boards. For the Longhorns, they managed to outlast a solid team from Colorado State. Notably, Texas held the Rams to just 11 points through the first half.

I am not ready to count on an upset outright for Saturday's bid, but I genuinely believe Texas has a lineup that can put pressure on Tennessee behind a starting frontcourt duo of Dylan Disu (6-foot-9) and Dillon Mitchell (6-foot-8). With a noticeable length advantage versus the Vols, I like Texas getting six and a half points at FanDuel Sportsbook.

Per numberFire's college basketball game projections, we see an estimated 73.89-69.35 score in favor of Tennessee. That presents a scoring differential of just 4.54 points, which supports my Longhorns (+6.5) play. All things considered, numberFire gives Texas a 56.2% chance to cover on Saturday.

Texas vs. Tennessee Prop Bet

Tyrese Hunter Over 9.5 Total Points (-120)

In an attempt to keep aspects simple, I like Longhorns point guard Tyrese Hunter to go over his set scoring total at FanDuel Sportsbook.

Pitted against an approachable number like 9.5 points (-120/-108), Hunter could be in an advantageous situation. Through 32 appearances in 2023-24, he's averaged 11.0 PPG. From there, he's logged double-digit point totals in 18 separate games, which translates to a 56.25% win rate against 9.5 points.

Hunter has produced back-to-back games with fewer than 10 points, but this is a player who has gone for as many as 30 in a single game this year (thrice scoring 20 or more points). Additionally, Hunter is a 34.3% shooter from three-point range, which warrants respect. When looking to go over 9.5, shots from beyond the arc could be our best friend(s).

On Thursday, Tennessee stifled St. Peter's with the exception of Peacocks point guard Latrell Reid. Reid had 17 points in that game. Now facing Texas, a similar performance from Hunter would work brilliantly in this market.


If you’re betting on any NCAA basketball action on March 23rd, take advantage of FanDuel Sportsbook’s Profit Boost Token! See the promotions page for more information.

Looking for more NCAA basketball betting opportunities? Head over to FanDuel Sportsbook to check out all of the upcoming college basketball odds.

Sign up for FanDuel Sportsbook and FanDuel Daily Fantasy today!


The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author's advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.