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NCAA March Madness Betting: Day 3 Saturday March 23rd

I had another day of mixed results on Friday, posting a consecutive 7-9 ATS mark. Sitting at 15-21 ATS is not sitting well with me. But if you’ve followed me since my starting days at Win Daily, I’ve never had a losing campaign. So I look at this like glass half full and we have 31 more games to pull out of this rut. But even with the bad beats and sitting in neutral, we once again saw the magic of March as two #12 seeds won outright and so did a #13 seed. It’s crazy! And it’s what we dial into our TV’s for this time of year.

We’re going to do something cool for this tournament, and that’s pick all 67 games against the spread. Realistically, that’s a bad idea for your bank roll. And I will not bet every game nor advise you do unless you manage the unit size you bet. But for the readers out there, I want to include info on each game in case you’re dialed in on a contest that doesn’t fall on my radar. So we’ll make three groups, BEST BETS (1.5 to 2 units), NORMAL BETS (1 unit), and FUN BETS (0 to 0.5 units). Now, let’s lace up the old Converse sneaks, make a few odd stretching movements, and hit the hardwood for what is going to be an awesome two weeks of betting. Just don’t pull any muscles in the process.

Feel free to read my quick breakdown of each game. But in short, here are my plays for today (All Games Posted by 3pm today).

BEST BETS (1.5 to 2.0 units):

  • Dayton +8.5 over Arizona (Loss)
  • Tennessee -6.5 over Texas
  • Creighton -4 over Oregon

NORMAL BETS (1.0 units):

  • Michigan State +3.5 vs UNC (Loss)
  • Kansas +4.5 over Gonzaga (Loss)
  • NC State -5.5 over Oakland (Win)
  • Duquesne +10 over Illinois
  • Iowa State -1.5 Live Bet (Win)

FUN BETS (0.5 units):

  • Washington State +7 (Loss)

2024 Tourney Record: 15-21 / -7.7 units

SATURDAY MARCH 23rd – ROUND 2

Game 37: #7 Dayton Flyers vs #2 Arizona Wildcats (1245pm)

Both these teams got here in different ways on Thursday. Arizona needed a wake up call at halftime and then proceeded to pull away from LBSU. They also failed to cover the spread by 0.5 points which put some people (me pointing to me) in a small rage as the Wildcats led by 24 late and allowed Long Beach to score the last four points. But that’s March! As for Dayton, they went on a 24-4 run in the last 7 minutes of the game to turn a 17-point deficit into a 3-point win. This one stung the most as it was a best bet that actually would have move the needle to plus money on Thursday. But we roll with the punches and try to figure out where to get an edge in this game.

If you believe more in ELO ratings then Dayton is your team today. ELO doesn’t like the Wildcats like other rating systems, ranking them behind a team from their own conference, Colorado, a #10 seed. Overall Arizona is 15th in ELO. And while it doesn’t love Dayton, they are 34th making the gap much closer than other metrics. One other area that is obscure is the old RPI ratings, which is no longer used by anyone and has been replaced by NET. This has Dayton as the #4 team in the country! The other standards you’ll see all have Arizona in the top 5 (KenPom, NET, Donchess) so those are where you’ll see a wider spread for today’s game.

When I start putting them all together, and weighing each one based on recent results, I get a spread at 6.5. So because of that, I’m going to take the extra points and back the Flyers. They’ve lost 7 times this year, and outside of the loss to Houston, all other losses are by eight points or less. Meaning last game against Nevada was somewhat of an aberration when they got down 17. They have the look of a giant killer playing a solid out of conference schedule and ranking 3rd overall in 3-point percentage. If they get hot, they could pull off the outright upset today against Zona.

PICK: Dayton +8.5 over Arizona (BEST BET / 1.5 units)

Game 38: #5 Gonzaga Bulldogs vs #4 Kansas Jayhawks (315pm)

The college basketball world and betting public is down on Kansas. One reason is the Kevin McCullar injury as he is Kansas’s leading scorer. The other is the viewpoint from their last game where a curious call disallowed a block that could have given #13 Samford a win over KU. And then everyone saw Gonzaga rip apart McNeese State leaving two teams heading in completely different directions. Now over 80% of money and Bets are on the Zags

What I’ve seen this year is a Gonzaga team that struggles to guard good big men. Case in point Edey, LeDee and Clingan all scored over 20 points and shot over 60% against the Bulldogs. This looks like a favorable matchup for Hunter Dickinson and think he’ll have a big game and keep it close.

PICK: Kansas +4.5 (NORMAL BET / 1.0 units)

Game 39: #9 Michigan State Spartans vs #1 North Carolina Tarheels (530pm)

Michigan State is back and playing it’s typical feisty ways come March Madness. They ran away in their first matchup on Thursday with Mississippi State. Now, they come in as a short underdog versus the #1 seeded UNC Tarheels. And considering they’ve been through the battle tested Big 10, they should be ready to give North Carolina everything they have today. As for UNC, they earned the #1 seed but haven’t faced upper echelon competition of late with just Duke being their only ranked team since January. Because of that, I’ll take the Fighting Izzo’s to keep this one close.

PICK: Michigan State +4 (NORMAL BET/ 1.0 units)

Game 40: #7 Washington State Cougars vs #2 Iowa State Cyclones (610pm)

It’s hard for me to fade the Cyclones right now. But the Cougars play such a methodical game and will try to slow this down to a hault. We’ve seen money come in on the Cougars as this line opened at ISU -8. I’ll follow the money and take WSU to play a tightly contested battle today.

PICK: Washington State +7 (FUN BET / 0.5 units)

Game 41: #14 Oakland vs #11 NC State Wolfpack (710pm)

PICK: TBD (FUN BET / 0.5 units)

Game 42: #7 Texas Longhorns vs #2 Tennessee Volunteers (800pm)

Texas was able to completely neutralize Colorado State and dominate the paint. And they won easily without their star Max Abmas having an efficient night. But Tennessee is much like a Big 12 team, losing 10 of their 12 games to conference opponents. I like the Vols to play a suffocating defense and keep Texas in the 50’s. By doing so, they’ll get enough from Knecht and company to punch a ticket to the Sweet 16.

PICK: TBD (FUN BET / 0.5 units)

Game 43: #11 Duquesne vs #3 Illinois Fighting Illini (840pm)

Can anyone stop Terrance Shannon Jr for Illinois? But can anyone stop the Dukes who have won 8 straight? It’ll come down to defense tonight and if Duquesne can play the style they have for the past 3 weeks, they will keep this game in striking distance. The Dukes were ranked top 50 in defensive efficiency all season and will create defensive pressure hoping to turn the Fighting Illini over.

PICK: Duquesne +10 (FUN BET / 0.5 units)

Game 44: #11 Oregon Ducks vs #3 Creighton Blue Jays (940pm)

Oregon has been one of the few teams that has come up big for me in the college postseason. But I think Dante finally goes up against someone that can give him trouble in Kalkbrenner. And Oregon does not defend the three point line well. They play multiple zones and try to create havoc. A veteran team like Creighton will expose those zones and get quality looks all night.

PICK: TBD (BEST BET / 2.0 units)

TOURNAMENT BETTING RECORD: 15-21 / -7.7 units

To be posted by 10am Wednesday March 19th

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