March Madness 2017 First Round Betting Underdogs

Posted by Michael Hunt on Tuesday,March 14, 2017 10:07, EDT in

I’m sure you know by know that at least one No. 12 seed tends to upset a No. 5 each year in the NCAA Tournament. Since 2009, favorites are just 11-21 ATS, including 5-11 since 2014. A 12 seed has defeated a 5 seed outright in 18 of the past 21 seasons, and the series is tied 8-8 over the past four NCAA tournaments. No. 12 seeds are also the lowest seeds that have been favored in NCAA tournament games since 1985. Here are two No. 12 seeds I recommend in this Big Dance for your March Madness betting picks.

March Madness 2017 First Round Betting Underdogs

No. 12 Middle Tennessee vs. No. 5 Minnesota (pick’em)

This line tells you all you need to know about how good oddsmakers think Middle Tennessee is. Last year, the Blue Raiders were a No. 15 and upset No. 2 Michigan State in dominating fashion, ruining more than a few brackets. Last year’s Blue Raiders went temporarily unconscious for one afternoon. This edition, which generates more of its points from inside the arc (58 percent) than any other team in the field, has been lighting it up for four months. Their 2015-16 leading scorers in Giddy Potts and Reggie Upshaw returned and were joined by Arkansas senior transfer JaCorey Williams, who led Middle Tennessee with 17.3 points per game. Middle Tennessee also takes care of the ball and can make shots. This team is going to score on Minnesota, and the Big Ten team has had trouble putting the ball in the basket all season with an effective field goal percentage of 48.6, which ranks 249th nationally.

Minnesota is one of the great turnaround stories as the Golden Gophers won eight games last season.! Richard Pitino suspended or dismissed five players; the athletic director who hired him, Norwood Teague, resigned in disgrace the previous summer; a school audit in May found Pitino had drastically overspent his travel budget in his first two seasons. The Golden Gophers are one of the tournament’s least consistent teams. They had three winning streaks of at least six games while also posting a five- game losing streak at one point.

No. 12 Nevada vs. No. 5 Iowa State (-6)

Nevada (28-6, 14-4 Mountain West) enters the tournament having won nine straight games, which is one of the longest active streaks in the nation. The Wolf Pack were the Mountain West’s best, and while that may not mean what it did when Jimmer Fredette and Kawhi Leonard were around, it’s an impressive accomplishment all the same. The Wolf Pack are making their first trip to the NCAA Tournament in 10 seasons behind their prowess at the three-point line. Nevada ranks in the top 30 in three-point accuracy (38.9%) and made three-pointers (312). During the national broadcast on CBS, analyst Seth Davis predicted a Nevada upset. “I actually like Nevada to go all the way to the Sweet 16,” Davis said.

After a slow start, the Cyclones dominated the second half of the Big 12 season. They won 9 of their last 10, including a three-game run in the Big 12 Tournament where they finished with their third championship in four seasons. Iowa State (23-10, 12-6 Big 12) reached the Sweet 16 last season and has won at least one tournament game in four of the last five years. Iowa State also scored two wins over top-10 teams this season, including a victory over Kansas (ranked third at the time) and Baylor (ranked ninth at the time). ISU is similar to Nevada. Both are smaller, athletic teams filled with excellent shooters. Monte Morris is one of the best point guards in the nation. The senior, and winningest player in program history, averages 16.3 points, 6.1 assists and 4.8 rebounds per game.