How to Bet the Round of 64 in March Madness
Day 1 of the NCAA Tournament was a complete rollercoaster from a gambling perspective. The favorites came out to blistering start, going 5-0 ATS in the first 5 games. The dogs came back with a vengeance as the day went on though, going 7-4 against the spread, with 4 winning outright. Somehow there are still a reported 192 brackets alive once it was all said and done.
The picks from yesterday were just as much of a rollercoaster, we started the day a horrendous 2-7, but came all the way back to finish the day 8-8. With all the juice given away from 16 bets it was a small losing day. Overall things now sit at 11-9.
As always, I’ll be betting on each and every game in the NCAA Tournament so be sure check back for more picks and a recap each and every morning!
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Loyola-Chicago vs Ohio State -1| O/U 132.5
I’m going to use this game as a lesson from yesterday. Avoid the square dogs. I liked South Dakota State, Vermont and Longwood yesterday. Yes Vermont narrowly covered but this still isn’t the way I want to bet. The Buckeyes seem to already be dead and gone in the minds of many today, but should we really dismiss the #12 offense in the country? The Buckeyes have the type of length that the Ramblers haven’t seen much this season. I’m taking EJ Liddell and Ohio State.
OHIO STATE -1
Jacksonville State vs Auburn -15.5 | O139.5
The recipe for Jacksonville State in this matchup is clear as day. They are undersized, play at one of the slowest paces in the country, and rely heavily on the three ball. The Gamecocks are going to limit possessions and will need to shoot at or above their 38.2% efficiency from behind the arc. But the Tigers defense is elite and turnovers have been an issue for JSU. I think the under is a clear play here, much like Akron and Richmond yesterday.
Montana State vs Texas Tech -15.5 | O/U 132.5
We all know how good the Texas Tech defense is, it’s the #1 defense in adjusted efficiency according to KenPom. But if there is one thing the Bobcats may be able to find offensively it’s getting to the free throw line, which is an integral part of their offensive success. The Red Raiders rank outside the top-200 in opponent free throw attempts per offensive possession. This is yet another game with a slow pace and with Texas Tech not boasting an elite offense I like the dog to keep it close.
MONTANA STATE +15.5
Yale vs Purdue -16.5 | O/U 144.5
This is a game that I don’t have a major read on. The Boilermakers are going to have a massive advantage when it comes to size, the Bulldogs tallest starter stands at 6-7. It’s going to be tough to stop 7’4 Zach Edey and 6’10 Trevion Williams like that. Typically the Ivey League teams can shoot well from the perimeter but that isn’t the case with Yale. On Thursday, the team that won the game was 13-3 against the spread and I don’t see a way the Bulldogs pull off the upset.
Delaware vs Villanova -15.5 | O/U 133.5
This is yet another game that will be played at a slow pace. Villanova is one of the 20 slowest teams in average offensive possession length, the Blue Hens are 229th as well. Collin Gillespie and the Wildcats score 38.4% of their points behind the arc (26th) and Delaware has been poor defending the three this season, opponents are shooting 35% (256th). Meanwhile the Blue Hens boast an efficient offense of their own, they’re 35th in effective FG%. I think the ball won’t have a problem finding the bottom of the hoop.
Miami vs USC -2.5 | O/U 139.5
This game seems to me like a complete mismatch, so much so that it has me questioning how short this spread is. The Hurricanes are one of the most undersized teams among the power conferences. They’ve got great guard play from Kameron McGusty and Isaiah Wong, scoring majority from inside. But USC has elite length and is the #2 interior defense, allowing opponents to shoot just 41.6% from 2-pt. Miami will likely win the turnover battle but they’re going to get killed on the glass in this game.
Notre Dame vs Alabama -4.5 | O/U 153.5
This is my favorite play of the day on Friday. We have two high volume 3-pt offenses that have two major discrepancies. One is extremely efficient, the other isn’t. One takes care of the basketball, the other cannot. Both of those are in favor of the Fighting Irish. Who shoot 37.6% from deep and are top-20 in offensive turnover rate. Meanwhile Alabama is 6th in 3-pt attempts and is 305th in efficiency at 30.8%. You could buy low on Quinerly and Schackelford against a Notre Dame team that played an exhausting 2-OT game on Wednesday night but I can’t fade those earlier numbers.
NOTRE DAME +4.5
Virginia Tech vs Texas -1.5 | O/U 123.5
The Hokies come into this game scorching hot, they look to be the most popular public side of the day. But it’s hard to bet against a Chris Beard coached defense. The Longhorns are 14th in adjust defensive efficiency. Virginia Tech likes to score from outside with Hunter Cattoor and Storm Murphy, but that’s something Texas’ opponents haven’t been able to do. Only 27.2% of their opponents points have come from 3-pt. The Longhorns will be able to win the turnover battle with ease and in a game that will have limited possessions that pushes me to back Timmy Allen and co.
Chattanooga vs Illinois -8.5 | O/U 135.5
How well can Silvio De Sousa defend Kofi Cockburn in the paint? Opponents are shooting 52.1% from 2-pt range against the Mocs, which ranks 272nd in the country. As good as Cockburn is down low, the Illini like to score from the perimeter with Andre Curbello, Alfonso Plummer and Trent Frazier. Chattanooga defends well from three, opponents shoot 30.6% from deep. I think Malachi Smith can keep this game within a possession.
Cal State Fullerton vs Duke -18.5 | O/U 145.5
The Coach K haters would love to see Duke fall in the opening round, but Cal State Fullerton is not the type of team that can do it. Their calling card is pounding the ball inside to EJ Anosike who stands at 6’7. That won’t be the way to score against a Duke team that has 7-footer and ACC defensive player of the year Mark Williams. Not to mention that the Blue Devils keep teams off the free throw line at one of the best rates in college basketball and the Titans rely on scoring 21.7% of their points from the charity stripe.
Iowa State vs LSU -4.5 | O/U 128.5
There are a number of games going on in and around the 7pm window. If there is a game you have to miss the majority of, make it this one. We may see the turnover fest of the century here. The LSU defense is 2nd in defensive turnover rate while Iowa State in 6th. Meanwhile the offense’s both rank outside the top-300 and turn the ball over on more than 20% of possessions. I like Tari Eason to get inside and LSU to win around the glass and close this game out at the free throw line.
Wright State vs Arizona -21.5 | O/U 156.5
We’ve got a sizeable total in this 1vs16 matchup as both teams exceed while playing at a fast pace offensively. The scoring focus is going to come on the interior, Arizona is 5th in percentage of points from 2-pt and Wright State is 14th. Arizona is going to be able to defend against the Raiders inside like nobody they’ve ever played, allowing opponents to shoot just 41.9% from 2-pt (3rd). But this is also an Arizona team without tournament experience so we could see a rocky start.
1H UNDER 74.5
UAB vs Houston -8.5 | O/U 137.5
i know about Jelly Walker, I know about how exciting the Blazers are to watch. Houston certainly isn’t a must watch program but they beat the hell out of these types of teams and I’m not sure that will be much different here. It’s so tough to score around the rim against the Cougars or even just score in general. Opponents are shooting just 37.3% from the field against them, which is 1st in the country. Are you really going to bet that 5’11 Jordan Walker can overcome that? This isn’t the game for the upset, I hate to say it.
Davidson vs Michigan State -1.5 | O/U 140.5
Can we get another A-10 upset over the BIG10 here? The Wildcats were the class of the conference this season, with an incredibly efficient offense but mediocre defense. They shoot 38.5% from 3-pt which ranks 5th in the country. The Spartans can shoot it from deep too at 37.8%. With both teams lack of ability to force turnovers I think we see a really smooth game with the pace picking up more than what Davidson is used to.
Colgate vs Wisconsin -7.5 | O/U 139.5
This is not the type of opponent that the Badgers want to see in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. Especially when you consider that Johnny Davis isn’t at 100%. Wisconsin likes to play at a slow pace and take care of the basketball, but their shooting efficiency isn’t all that impressive. The Raiders are lights out from three, shooting over 40% and scoring nearly 39% of their points from the perimeter. A spread of this size as a slow paced favorite going against an efficient shooting team is peculiar to me. I’ll take the bait here and hope to make it out alive.
TCU vs Seton Hall -1.5 | O/U 128.5
Both of these teams are quite similar offensively in that they use their size to their advantage and play inside a lot. They also get a lot of second chance opportunities on offensive rebounds. The Horned Frogs struggle with turnovers though and are one of the worst free throw shooting teams in the country (66.8%). In a game with such a tight spread that may be all I need here.
SETON HALL +1.5
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