This article is part of our Betting Promotions series.
The No. 2 seed Texas Longhorns face the No. 3 seed Xavier Musketeers in a Midwest Region Sweet 16 clash tonight in Kansas City. Sports betting apps across the country have Texas as a 4-point favorite in the final game of the Sweet 16.
Texas should feel at home as the Longhorns return to the court where they won the Big 12 conference championship just over a week ago. The Longhorns have now won six straight, including wins over Colgate and Penn State in the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament. Most of their top players are transfers, led by former Minnesota star Marcus Carr with a team-leading 15.8 points per game, 4.0 assists per game and 1.7 steals per game. Sir'Jabari Rice, Timmy Allen, Tyrese Hunter, and Dylan Disu all average between 9.1 and 12.9 PPG in a super balanced attack that went 14-8 vs. Quad 1 opponents this season.
The Musketeers currently sit 22nd in NET and 16th at KenPom, compiling a 9-6 Quad 1 mark on the way to finishing second in the Big East regular season. They then lost to Marquette in the conference tournament final. Xavier is a deep and experienced squad, led by senior Souley Boom at 16.5 PPG with a 41.8% three-point percentage. Iowa transfer Jack Nunge leads the Musketeers in rebounding, averaging 7.7 per game to go along with 14.1 PPG.
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Betting Picks For Xavier vs. Texas
Texas is a 4-point favorite, according to BetMGM, with an over/under total of 148.5. That is pretty close to the KenPom prediction of a 79-75 Texas win.
The Longhorns do just about everything well. As per KenPom, they have the 16th best Adjusted Offensive Efficiency in the nation at 116.7 points per 100 possessions and the 11th best AdjDE at 91.7. They shoot well overall with a 53% effective field goal percentage -- 52nd best in the nation -- and also limit opponents to 47.8% effective field goal percentage. They also have one of the nation's best turnover differentials, forcing turnovers on 22.4 percent of possessions while only giving it back 16.3 percent of the time. Perhaps the Longhorns only weak spot is that they do not excel from beyond the arc, making just 34.1 percent of their threes. The good news is they shoot relatively few threes and their 54 percent rate on 2-point shots ranks 38th nationally.
Xavier also shies away from the three-ball as just 31.3 percent of their attempts are from beyond the arc -- one of the lowest numbers in the nation. Perhaps they should figure out a way to take more as their 38.9% three-point percentage ranks fourth in the country. On the other hand, the Musketeers have the ninth best AdjOE at 118.5 and a 55.4% effective field goal percentage that is 12th best. The Musketeers' relative weakness lies on defense as they have a 50.1 defensive EFG% and a downright poor 16.3 percent turnover percentage.
The Longhorns' midrange and paint proficiency is going to be tough to stave off. For that reason, our betting pick for Xavier vs. Texas is for the Longhorns to win and cover the spread.
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