As we head through the men’s NCAA Tournament, FTN Bets’ resident college basketball junkie, Brad Evans, will attempt to posterize the ‘books with his favorite selections, whether sides, totals, teasers or parlays. As always, fade or follow Brad’s picks — fading is encouraged — that’s up to you. 

2-leg alternative line parlay play: Baylor first half (ML), UCLA/Gonzaga UNDER (151.5) (Tipico Sportsbook)

Odds: +148

Leg 1: Houston vs. Baylor (first half ML)

From a show cause to the resurrection of a once-mighty program, Kelvin Sampson has run the gamut on his redemption tour. Houston isn’t a hollow Final Four participant. It earned its keep through exhaustive efforts on both ends of the floor. Offensively, the Cougars overcome rather porous shooting (No. 133 eFG% in March) by generating ample second chances. A vicious bee swarm on the glass, they grabbed an offensive rebound 40.3% of the time over their last eight games. Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua, Mark Vital and Matthew Mayer absolutely must box out to hold the Cougars at bay. Declaw them in that capacity and the Bears will roll, especially early on. Baylor’s bevy of sharpshooters drill targets relentlessly. Over their past nine contests, they’ve totaled 38.9% from distance. Much improved defensively down the homestretch, the Bears will be Houston’s stiffest test to date. Keep in mind, it hasn’t squared off against a KenPom top-30 team the entire season. Similar to showings against Wisconsin and Arkansas, Scott Drew’s crew sprints off the line. 

Leg 2: UCLA vs. Gonzaga (UNDER 151.5)

Zig against the ‘Zags and chances are you’ll lose your shirt … and your pants ... and your undergarments. Mark Few’s club undresses the competition, evidenced by its convincing triumphs over Oklahoma, Creighton and USC en route to the Final Four. Over the last month, the Bulldogs have tallied an otherworldly 1.294 points per possession, totaling 60.4% from inside the arc and 40.7% outside of it. Radiant in transition and underrated defensively (0.874 pts/poss allowed in their last six contests), they are the odds-on favorite to finish the season unblemished, the first team to accomplish the feat since Indiana in 1976. UCLA, despite the No. 11 seed next to its name, is a formidable foe. Mick Cronin’s Cincinnati toughness has rubbed off on his team over the second season. Johnny Juzang’s torrid shooting aside, the Bruins survived and advanced largely due to their stingy defense. In March they allowed a mere 0.927 points per possession and 29.9% from three. To compete, bank on them downshifting whenever possible to keep the Zags tied to the halfcourt. Remember, they rank No. 338 nationally in adjusted tempo. Even if Gonzaga races out to a large early lead, expect it to hit the cruise control setting in the second half, limiting possessions and scoring. In the end, a final score around 75-60 feels right. 

Season record: 37-41

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