Sure Winning Picks For 2017 First Round
If you’re fired up for March Madness and you’re looking for value all around when it comes to the opening round matchups in all four regions, then look no further.
Thanks to this expert college basketball betting lines preview on three first round matchups, you’re going to have a great chance to get your 2017 NCAA Tournament wagering campaign off to a very positive start. Now, let’s get down to business.
Analyzing The Sure Winning Picks For 2017 First Round
No. 9 Vanderbilt (19-15) vs. No. 8 Northwestern (23-11)
When: Thursday, March 16, 2017 at 4:30 PM ET
Where: Vivint Smart Home Arena, Salt Lake City, Utah
NCAAB Odds: Northwestern +1
Analysis: The eighth-seeded Northwestern Wildcats (19-12 ATS) may be making their first ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament, but I like the Wildcats to get the ‘upset’ win over ninth-seeded Vanderbilt (20-12 ATS) when they square off on Thursday night.
I know the Wildcats got blitzed in their humbling 76-48 loss to Wisconsin in the Big Ten tournament semifinals and that they’re just 5-5 over their last 10 games, but they also managed to beat the Badgers 66-59 on the road as an 11.5-point underdog on Feb. 12 and they’ll take on a Vanderbilt squad that lost to lowly Missouri 72-52 on Feb. 11 while also getting smacked around by Arkansas 76-62 in their SEC tournament matchup on Saturday.
Vanderbilt is the first team to earn an at-large bid with 15 losses. The Commodores and Wildcats both average just over 71.0 points per game, but Northwestern gives up three fewer points per game and plays a better caliber of competition in the Big Ten than Vandy does in the watered-down SEC. Four players average double digits in scoring for Vanderbilt while Northwestern has just three players that average double figures in scoring.
Still, the Wildcats have two players that average at least 14.0 points per game while Vanderbilt’s top scorer averages just over 13.0 points per contest. The Northwestern Wildcats are the pick to win and cash in as they look to extend the excitement of making their first tournament appearance in school history.
Pick: Northwestern 73 Vanderbilt 71
No. 3 Florida State (25-8) vs. No. 14 Florida Gulf Coast (26-7)
When: Thursday, March 16, 2017 at 9:20 PM ET
Where: Amway Center, Orlando, Florida
Analysis: Florida State (17-12-2 ATS) may be back in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in five years, but I believe the Seminoles are going to have their hands full against a dangerous Florida Gulf Coast (4-0 ATS) ballclub when they square off on Thursday.
Florida State averages three more points per game than Florida Gulf Coast, but the unheralded Eagles limit the opposition to three fewer points per game defensively. Florida State is coming off a 77-73 loss to Notre Dame in the ACC tournament on Friday that dropped them to 2-2 over their last four and 4-4 over their last eight games overall.
Florida Gulf Coast has won seven straight games and 12 of their last 13 games and beat North Florida 77-61 in the Atlantic Sun conference championship on Mar. 5. The Eagles have our players that average double digits in scoring including leading scorer Brandon Goodwin (18.2 ppg). Florida State has just three players that average double figures in scoring including leading scorer Dwayne Bacon (16.9 ppg).
Florida Gulf Coast has covered the spread in three straight while Florida State has gone 3-4-1 ATS over their last eight games overall. I like the Seminoles to get the win, but Florida Gulf Coast to cover the spread with room to spare.
Pick: Florida State 78 Florida Gulf Coast 75
No. 9 Virginia Tech vs. No. 8 Wisconsin
When: Thursday, March 16, 2017 at 9:40 PM ET
Where: KeyBank Center, Buffalo, New York
NCAAB Odds: Wisconsin -5
Analysis: The eighth-seeded Badgers (25-9 SU, 15-16 ATS) may be making their 19th consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament, but the Badgers certainly aren’t playing their best basketball as they’ve dropped six of their last 10 games and come into the NCAA tournament off a 71-56 loss against Michigan in their Big Ten conference championship loss on Sunday.
On the flip side of the coin, ninth-seeded Virginia Tech (22-10 SU, 16-11 ATS) had won four of their last five games before falling to Florida State in their 74-68 ACC tournament loss on Thursday. I was really high on Wisconsin this season and believed they could make a deep tourney run, but right now, I think they’re in danger of losing outright to a Virginia Tech ballclub that has recorded some quality wins over Michigan, Duke, Syracuse, Virginia and Miami.
Virginia Tech averages almost eight points per game more than Wisconsin and ranks a stellar 13th nationally in field goal percentage shooting (49.0%) and three-point shooting percentage (40.3%). While the Badgers are one of the nation’s best defensive teams (61.4 ppg, 9th), they’ve also been held under 60 points four times in their last six games while losing to lesser teams like Michigan (twice), Ohio State, Michigan State and Iowa.
Virginia Tech forward Zach LeDay (16.3 ppg, 7.4 rpg) will likely be the best player on the floor in this matchup while leading the Virginia Tech Hokies to the ATS cover at the very least.
Pick: Virginia Tech 68 Wisconsin 65