Betting Favorites to Avoid on March Madness First Round

Posted by Joe Solari on Wednesday,March 16, 2016 5:08, EST in

Nothing defines March Madness better than its knack for unpredictability, and nothing makes us fall in love with the NCAA Tournament every year than seeing the so-called favorites tumble down to the delight of our beloved underdogs. Now, for the record, no one is telling you not to bet on favored teams, but if you know what is best for you, steer clear of the following favorites because nothing is guaranteed about their potential to emerge victorious in their First Round March Madness NCAAB odds.

Betting Favorites to Avoid on March Madness First Round

Georgia Tech (-4)… Playing vs. Houston

Both Georgia Tech and Houston have won 7 of their last 10 games and pretty much compare closely in most important categories. For example, both teams are damn average in shooting threes and both compare rather similarly when it comes to defending three-point attempts (the Yellow Jackets allow 29.8% from beyond the arc, while Houston allows 32% from downtown). But as a big difference-maker, the Cougars are quite good at shooting inside the arc (hitting 52 percent inside the paint) and ranking 24th in the country averaging 28.1 field goals made per game. This could be a big concern against Georgia’s subpar offense and a leaky inside-the-paint defense that allows opponents to shoot 49.7% (good for a bottom-half ranking in the nation). If Houston can exploit such weaknesses, the Yellow Jackets will really be hard-done in their efforts to claim the win here, hence making the favored Georgia Tech a risky bet for the win.

Gonzaga (-1)… playing vs. Seton Hall

Commendable as it is that the Bulldogs manned up to win the WCC Tournament, I would be very wary of trusting them against the high-flying Seton Hall Pirates, the Big East Tournament champs. Not to mention. The Bulldogs had just one quality non-conference win in the regular season, beating then No. 18 UConn in a Thanksgiving holiday tournament. Outside that win, the Bulldogs flunked their non-conference tests against Texas A&M, Arizona, UCLA and SMU this season. Against the Pirates who took care of two top-5 ranked opponents in their last two games—beating then No. 5 Xavier 87-83 and No. 3 Villanova 69-67 in the Big East Tournament—I doubt if the erratic Bulldogs will be able to measure up for a win here.

Providence (-1)… Playing vs. USC

As long as Kris Dunn is playing well and his baskets are falling, then this Providence has the opportunity to go forward. Unfortunately for the Friars, there’s not much to the team outside Dunn. This doesn’t really bode well for Providence, as the will be going against the Trojans team that doesn’t allow points cheaply. In addition, USC is a capable shooting team, especially from the three-point line, and their ability to crash the offensive glass means they are likely to dominate the game in terms of second-half opportunities. With that, Providence will really be hard-done in its quest for a win here.

Texas (-4.5)… Playing vs. Northern Iowa

Shaka Smart’s Texas Longhorns aren’t a press-defense type of team, but they are quite good at keeping opposing offenses at bay, thanks to their stellar interior defense. That, may however, not be much of a problem to Ben Jacobson and his Northern Iowa team that can shoot the three ball. If the threes fall when the two teams meet, then Texas will have a problem containing Northern Iowa. Additionally, Northern Iowa can also defend the ball, contesting shots and fighting to clean up the defensive glass at every chance, something that could prove troublesome to the Longhorns’ average offense.