March Madness Thursday Betting Preview

The Round of 64 tips off on Thursday with three No. 1 seeds scheduled to begin their NCAA Tournament run.

The first No. 1 to see action on Thursday will be from the West Region where the No. 1 Kansas Jayhawks face the Howard Bison. At Bovada Sportsbook, the Jayhawks, who are the defending national champions, are 21.5-point favorites.

As the defending champs, the Jayhawks have won six straight tournament games with a 3-3 record against the spread. When listed as a favorite in the tournament, they’ve won 11 straight at 5-6 ATS, and in the first round they’ve won 15 in a row at 10-5 ATS.

Howard is back in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1992 when the Bison coincidentally were knocked out by Kansas in the first round. When listed as an underdog of 20-plus points, the Bison are 0-18 straight up and 8-10 ATS.

Tide have been a bad bet as a March Madness favorite

In the South Region, the No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide will face the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Islanders as 24.5-point favorites.

Alabama was 27-3 SU and 18-12 ATS when favored this season. In the NCAA Tournament, the Crimson Tide have been an awful bet when favored at 1-8 ATS in their last nine. In the first round of the tournament, the Tide are 5-4 SU and 2-7 ATS in their last nine.

The Islanders defeated the Southeast Missouri State Redhawks 75-71 as a 3-point favorite in the First Four on Tuesday night. They’re 13-1 SU and 11-2-1 ATS in their last 14 games. As an underdog, they’re 2-5 SU and ATS in their last seven.

Top-seeded Cougars face Norse in first tournament test

The other No. 1 seed in action on Thursday is from the Midwest Region where the overall No. 1 Houston Cougars face the Northern Kentucky Norse as 19.5-point favorites.

Houston had a 13-game winning streak snapped in the AAC tournament final in a 75-65 loss to the Memphis Tigers as a 5.5-point favorite. When favored by 19 points or more this season, Houston was 15-1 SU and 10-6 ATS.

Northern Kentucky is 7-1 ATS in its last eight games. This season as an underdog, the Norse were 2-6 SU and 3-5 ATS. In their two previous appearances in the tournament, they were bounced in the first round.

If you’re looking for matchups where the lower seed is favored, there are a couple on tap Thursday and both are in the South Region.

Aggies, Tigers both riding long tournament losing streaks

In one, the No. 10 Utah State Aggies are 1.5-point favorites vs the No. 7 Missouri Tigers.

The Aggies have been a perennial one-and-done in the tournament, having lost nine straight and 15 of their last 16 games. When favored, Utah State has won seven straight both SU and ATS, and the Aggies were 25-4 SU and 21-8 ATS when favored this season.

Missouri is also riding an NCAA Tournament losing streak, having dropped six straight both SU and ATS. As an underdog in the tournament, the Tigers are 4-8 SU and 6-6 ATS in their last 12.

Terrapins have been strong UNDER play as underdogs

Also in the South, the No. 9 West Virginia Mountaineers are 2-point favorites vs the No. 8 Maryland Terrapins.

West Virginia is 5-1 ATS in its last six games and when favored the Mountaineers were 16-3 SU and 12-7 ATS this season. In their last 10 tournament games, they’re 5-5 SU and 4-5-1 ATS.

Maryland has lost 10 straight as an underdog with a 3-7 ATS record. The Terrapins were also 9-0-1 UNDER in those 10 games.