If there’s one thing you can be sure about the first round of the NCAA Tournament, it is that we will have quite a number of upsets from the 32 games set to take place in the college basketball lines, starting this Tuesday. And if this belief holds true, as it has consistently done since the Field of 64 was introduced by the NCAA, then the first round of the college basketball games should be due for some sweet values. Here are some of the first round games we believe will offer you a chance to cash on some solid upset March Madness betting picks.
Sure Betting Upsets for March Madness First Round
No.8 USC v. No.9 Providence, Thursday March 17
Outside their go-to star in future NBA draft pick Kris Dunn, the Friars are pretty much an average shooting team. This doesn’t bode well for them as they will be going against USC team that can light it up from beyond the arc and rarely gives up many easy points. Not to mention, the Friars aren’t good defensively, so keeping up with USC’s offense won’t be easy. Added to the fact the Trojans tend to be dominant on the offensive glass, this games looks well set up for an upset win by USC, in spite of strong scoring effort from Dunn. Upset NCAAB Pick: USC (+1).
No. 5 Purdue vs. No. 12 Arkansas-Little Rock, Thursday March 17
Every season, a 12-seed team upsets a 5-seed team, and we believe Arkansas-Little Rock could be a potential team to continue with that betting tradition. Obviously, Purdue’s stingy half-court defense and massive size will be tough to deal with, along with the fact that the Boilermakers are quite good when shooting hot from downtown (they are averaging 37 percent from the three). That said, the Trojans should be able to combat that, given they are equally good at shooting from deep, led by sharpshooters Josh Hagins and Marcus Johnson Jr. Plus, on the other side of the ball, Little Rock has proven quite efficient at making it difficult for opponents to hit their threes this year. And as an added bonus, the Boilermakers struggle a lot from shooting within the paint, nailing just 37 percent of their two-point field goals in the halfcourt. Against the balanced Little Rock, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the currently-sputtering Boilermakers cook themselves out of the Tournament. Upset NCAAB Pick: Arkansas-Little Rock (+8).
No. 5 Baylor vs. No. 12 Yale, Thursday March 17
In another No.5 seed vs. No.12 seed matchup, the Bears will be facing a Yale team that is dangerous enough to cause an upset. Obviously, Baylor is a very solid shooting team and its ability to crash the offensive boards makes it a tough opponent. But then again, Baylor’s zone defense often makes them vulnerable from the three-point range, which could be a deal-breaker against Yale that shoots a high volume from the three-point line. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs are also strong on the defensive glass, something that could easily allow them to neutralize one of the Bears’ strongest suits: offensive rebounding. With that, this game could be a classic 12-5 upset. Upset NCAAB Pick: Yale (+5).
No. 3 West Virginia vs. No. 14 Stephen F. Austin, Friday, March 18
You all know about West Virginia and its famous Press Virginia halfcourt defense that ranks second in the league in defensive turnovers. What you probably don’t know is that the team that ranks No. 1 in the nation in defensive turnovers is Stephen F. Austin. This means the Mountaineers will have a tough climb in their bid to use their defense, as the Lumberjacks are just as impressive when it comes down to felling down their opponents via a fierce cut-throat defense. As if that isn’t enough, the Lumberjacks are impressively ranked at No. 12 in the league for effective field goal percentage (55.5 percent), hitting 37.5 percent from downtown, yet WVU’s offense ranks near the bottom of the league in offensive turnover percentage (19.6 out of every 100 possessions) and their mistake-prone defense puts teams on the free throw line more than any other team in the nation. Even more impressively, Stephen F. Austin enter this game on an incredible 20-game winning streak, including wins by 36 points and 22 points in Southland tournament, something that will boost their confidence of pulling an upset this Friday. After all, this is the same Stephen F. Austin team that sent VCU home early in 2014, so it’s not like they don’t have the experience of doing it big at the grandest of stages in college basketball. Upset NCAAB Pick: Stephen F. Austin (+7).