In sparse linear bandits, a learning agent sequentially selects an action and receive reward feedback, and the reward function depends linearly on a few coordinates of the covariates of the actions. This has applications in many real-world sequential decision making problems. In this paper, we propose a simple and computationally efficient sparse linear estimation method called POPART that enjoys a tighter ℓ1 recovery guarantee compared to Lasso (Tibshirani, 1996) in many problems. Our bound naturally motivates an experimental design criterion that is convex and thus computationally efficient to solve. Based on our novel estimator and design criterion, we derive sparse linear bandit algorithms that enjoy improved regret upper bounds upon the state of the art (Hao et al., 2020), especially w.r.t. the geometry of the given action set. Finally, we prove a matching lower bound for sparse linear bandits in the data-poor regime, which closes the gap between upper and lower bounds in prior work.