After missing out on March Madness last year, I am incredibly excited for this year’s tournament. With many teams playing most of their games in-conference only, expect even more madness then normal this year.
Betting the tournament is tricky. #1 and #2 seeds are typically favored by 20+ points making spread bets risky and moneyline picks nearly meaningless. However, if you look past the higher-ranked seeds there is decent value. Here are your First Round best bets:
(All lines taken from FanDuel Sportsbook as of 4:30 p.m. on 3/18)
Rutgers (10) -1.5 vs Clemson (7)
Friday 3/19 9:20 p.m.
It’s not often the lower seed is favored in a Tournament game, especially in a 7/10 match-up. In this game, it makes sense. Rutgers may have finished 15-11 but the majority of those losses came against highly ranked Big 10 opponents. Clemson had a couple of impressive victories this season, including wins over Alabama and Florida St., but overall benefited from an unchallenging schedule. Rutgers wins this one.
Syracuse (11) +3 vs San Diego St. (6)
Friday 3/19 9:40 p.m.
Jim Boeheim’s infamous 2-3 zone prevails yet again against a team not used to facing anything other than man-to-man. Yes, San Diego State put together a 23-4 season. But in the Mountain West Conference that is equivalent to, or worse, than Syracuse’s 16-9 in the ACC. Take the points here and consider Syracuse on the ML at +136.
Georgetown (12) +5.5 vs Colorado (5)
Saturday 3/20 12:15 p.m.
Momentum is king in college sports. After a dismal start to the season Georgetown hit a hot streak on their way to winning the Big East Championship. Colorado is a solid, well-rounded team, but this game will come down to the final minutes. Georgetown +5.5 is the pick.
Who do you like in the First Round? Comment below and let me know!