Top NCAAB Betting Predictions for 2018 March Madness First Round

Top NCAA Predictions for 2018 March Madness First Round

Written by on March 13, 2018

Every year, it seems, a No. 12 seed upsets a No. 5 in the NCAA Basketball tournament. At least one No. 12 seed has beaten a 5 seed in 29 of the past 33 years (1988, 2000, 2007, 2015 are the only exceptions). Last year, Middle Tennessee took out a Big Ten opponent in the first round for the second straight tourney, knocking off No. 5 Minnesota in Milwaukee. Let’s find out the safest NCAAB betting pick to carry on with the tradition this year while making some other predictions based on the latest March Madness odds at MyBookie.

Top NCAAB Betting Predictions for 2018 March Madness First Round

My NCAAB Betting pick to an early upset this year? South Dakota State over Ohio State in the West Region (and one more below). The Jackrabbits (28-6, 13-1 Summit League) enter the NCAA Tournament on an 11-game winning streak with three victories in The Summit League Tournament. The Buckeyes (24-8, 15-3 Big Ten) finished tied for second in the conference standings and are coming off a tournament loss to Penn State (69-68). This game features two of the best individual players in the nation: Ohio State’s Keita Bates-Diop and Mike Daum of South Dakota State. Bates-Diop averages 19.4 points and 8.4 rebounds per game while Jae’Sean Tate is second among Buckeyes with 12.5 points and 6.2 rebounds per game. Daum averages 24 points and 10 rebounds while shooting better than 40 percent from 3-point range. The last guy to do that? Kevin Durant while at Texas. Daum is the two-time defending Summit League Player of the Year and ranks among the best nationally in scoring this season. Daum is one of just three players nationally – joining Gonzaga’s Jock Landale and Duke’s Marvin Bagley III – to average a 20-10 double-double on the season with 23.8 points and 10.4 rebounds per contest. He has 21 double-doubles on the campaign (including 12 in 14 Summit League games) and has reached double figures in all but one contest, including 12 30-point performances. It’s the first meeting between the schools.

Double-Digit Seed Reaches Sweet 16

Just as we see a No. 12 upset a No. 5 each year, we often see a double-digit seed reach the Sweet 16 – sometimes that No. 12. And I’m going with another No. 12: New Mexico State (I don’t think South Dakota State will win its second game after beating Ohio State). The Aggies boast wins over Davidson and Miami. They’re ranked among the top 20 teams in adjusted defensive efficiency and top 10 in 3-point defense. NMSU has lost 13 straight NCAA tournament games dating to 1970, the longest streak in tournament history (they vacated wins in 1992 and 1993). Is this the year that one of the country’s most successful mid-majors gets over the hump? It opens against Clemson. With Zach Lofton (19.8 PPG), they’ll attack Clemson and Auburn at the rim and upset the Tigers in Round 1. Clemson (Donte Grantham) and Auburn (Anfernee McLemore), a probable second-round opponent, are each missing one of their biggest pieces in the paint. Jemerrio Jones is one of the reasons to consider New Mexico State as a potential NCAAB Betting Pick for 2018 March Madness. They haven’t been the same teams without those contributors. New Mexico State will expose those vulnerabilities. Jemerrio Jones was the WAC Player of the Year. At 6-foot-4, Jones led Division I in defensive rebounds per game (9.4), hauling in a ridiculous 37 percent of available boards on the defensive glass. What makes him so special is that he is capable of running the fast break after the opponent misses, often leading to easy opportunities in transition (3.1 assists per game led his team). He and Lofton are as good a 1-2 punch as you will find outside the power conferences.

Virginia Won’t Win Its First Title

Virginia deserved to be the top NCAAB Betting favorite after winning the ACC regular-season and tournament titles – that’s the best conference in the land. But I’m here to tell you the Wahoos won’t win their first national title. Virginia was picked in the preseason to finish sixth in the ACC. Now the Cavaliers, who headline the NCAA South bracket, will try to make the Final Four for only the third time and first since 1984. Virginia is the overall No. 1 seed in this year’s tourney. In the 14 years since the selection committee began specifying the overall No. 1, that team has reached the Final Four half the time (the other three No. 1s have combined to reach the Final Four just 33 percent of the time). Oddly, the overall No. 1 has won the title as often as it has been eliminated in the round of 32 (three times each). Last year, Villanova joined the “eliminated” when the Wildcats saw their hopes. Coach Tony Bennett has sent uber-efficient and effective squads to the postseason in past years. Still, he has just one Elite Eight appearance in his tenure. This year, he doesn’t have a Malcolm Brogdon or Justin Anderson on this roster to carry his offense through rocky chapters in the postseason. The Cavaliers’ offense relies heavily on the 3-ball. In their lone ACC regular-season loss to Virginia Tech, Bennett’s club shot poorly from behind the arc (11-for-38), and it ultimately cost them. Teams like Virginia, who live by the 3, sometimes die by the 3.