NCAA Tournament First Four Betting Preview
March Madness tips off this week with the First Four from Dayton, Ohio. The first two games on the schedule on Tuesday see the Mount St. Mary’s Mountaineers face the New Orleans Privateers and the Kansas State Wildcats take on the Wake Forest Demon Deacons.
The Privateers are a 1.5-point favorite at the sportsbooks and will be looking for their first berth in the Round of 64 since 1996. They won the Southland conference tournament last week and have won their last three games straight up and last two against the spread.
Mount St. Mary’s took the Northeast conference tournament. They’re on a four-game winning streak SU at 2-1 ATS. They’ve had trouble against teams with winning records though, at 2-5 SU in their last seven games.
The Wildcats head into the First Four after an up-and-down Big 12 tournament. They started out with a 70-64 upset win over the Baylor Bears as a 4.5-point underdog, but bowed out with a 51-50 loss to the West Virginia Mountaineers as a 5.5-point underdog.
Wake Forest was knocked out in the second round of the ACC tournament after a 99-90 loss to the Virginia Tech Hokies as a 3-point favorite. They’re still 4-1 SU and 3-2 ATS in their last five games and have been a strong OVER play at 15-2 OVER in their last 17 games.
The sportsbooks list the Demon Deacons as a slim 1-point favorite.
In the two First Four matchups set for Wednesday, the North Carolina Central Eagles face the UC Davis Aggies and the Providence Friars get the USC Trojans.
The Eagles won the MEAC tournament and have won three straight both SU and ATS. On the season they were a perfect 6-0 ATS.
UC Davis took the Big West tournament title after upsetting the UC Irvine Anteaters 50-47 as a 5.5-point underdog. In their last seven games the Aggies are 6-1 SU and 5-1-1 ATS.
The Eagles are 4-point chalk as they look for their second trip ever to the Round of 64.
Providence was one and done in the Big East tournament after a 70-58 loss to the Creighton Bluejays as a 2-point underdog. That snapped a six-game winning streak, but they are still 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games and as the underdog they’re 8-1 ATS in their last nine.
USC were edged by the UCLA Bruins 76-74 as a 10.5-point underdog in the Pac 12 tournament quarterfinals. Coincidentally they faced the Friars in the Round of 64 in last year’s tournament and lost 70-69 as a 2.5-point underdog.
In the rematch the Trojans are a 3-point betting favorite.