DFS & Sports Betting Tools, Exclusive Content, and Expert Chat
DFS & Sports Betting Tools, Exclusive Content, and Expert Chat

NCAA March Madness Betting: First Four Games

The NCAA tournament begins tonight in Dayton with the first set of First Four games being played. However, the Madness started last week as we saw an insane amount of upsets in the Conference Tournaments. Bid stealers, as some would call them, left some prominent teams home. While I say the difference between the 68th and 69th team doesn’t make a significant impact on the overall tournament, it is fun to debate. And the simple fact that the Big East got just 3 teams in the dance is laughable. Not as bad as FSU not making the playoffs in College Football but not too far away.

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.

ARTICLE UPDATE: WEDNESDAY MARCH 19th Games Added. Results from Day 1 is +0.45 units.


Game 3: #16 Grambling State Tigers at #16 Montana State Bobcats (Midwest Region 640pm)

Well Howard made a heck of a run at it late in the game yesterday to almost pull off a historic comeback. But they fell just short, literally speaking as all three of their final attempts to tie the game fell woefully short. But for a “Fun Bet” at 0.5 units, I got the price of admission. Speaking of admission, I feel like I struggle in 16 seed vs 16 seed matchups every year. So take this one for what it’s worth. Or maybe give it some extra juice as I’m bound to hit one!

Grambling State comes in this game on a significant hot streak. They started the season 2-10 and finished with a 20-14 record. Of late, GSU is 9-1 in their last 10 games with the only loss coming in double OT versus Alabama State. The Tigers finished first in their conference and ran away from each team in the Southwestern Athletic Conference to claim their first ever NCAA appearance. The issue with the Tigers is that they don’t do anything particularly well. On offense, they rank in the bottom 10% of the nation in scoring. The only thing that stands out is they get to the line, and Montana State will help them with that. But they’re FT% is just 112th in the nation.

As for Montana State, the Bobcats are a prolific offensive team ranking in the top 65 in effective FG%, 2-pt FG% and 3-pt FG%. And defensively they create turnovers with a top 50 steal percentage. And Grambling State will cough it up as they rank 344th in TO%.

I’m going back to the well and taking the more profound shooting team in a 16 seed matchup. Hopefully this one will give it a little more legs to get us to the window and cash us a ticket before the real games start.

PICK: Montana State -4.5 over Grambling State (FUN BET / 0.5 units)

Game 4: #10 Colorado Buffalo at #10 Boise State Broncos (South Region 910pm)

I know this is hoops but imagine this matchup on the gridiron. Coach Prime dressed in all white bubble jacket standing out on the Blue Field of Boise State. Sitting there shining like the star he is in a place known for ruggedness and being the Cinderella story. Well maybe for another year, but hopefully Deion makes an appearance in Dayton tonight to give the Buffalo’s some added juice, and flair.

Colorado was on the bubble coming into the Pac 12 tournament. Then three straight wins and an appearance in the last ever Pac 12 Championship game was enough for the committee to punch their ticket to the Big Dance. In fact, they won eight straight games at the end of the season before losing to Oregon on Sunday. I love their shooting prowess, as they are 5th best in the NCAA with a 39.4% three-point percentage. They are led by guard KJ Simpson who will play every minute and do it effectively, scoring 19.6 ppg. They also have a big force in the middle in Eddie Lampkin who will undoubtedly post you up and try a multitude of spin moves. From inside to out, this team is solid and there’s a good reason they’re 25th in KenPom’s rankings.

Boise on the other hand, bowed out in the first round of the MWC tournament. But they got in based on their resume, making this the 5th appearance under Head Coach Leon Rice. However, they’ve yet to win one NCAA tourney game in his tenure. This one will be even more special, as his son G Max Rice is a senior and playing his last season. The Broncos play at a slow pace and have a solid defense, allowing opponents to shoot just 30% from 3, good for 23rd best in the country. They also have size and a big front line that causes issues at the rim.

I’m going with the unconventional pick here and the Boise State Broncos. I saw Oregon dominate the paint against Colorado. Lampkin is big but has just 5 blocks all season. Boise is a good rebounding team and doesn’t give up extra shots. Additionally, the Buffs haven’t beat anyone in KenPom’s top 42 all year. The Broncos have 6 wins against such competition. I’ll ride with the Mountain West once again as they are out to prove to everyone how good of a conference they truly were this year. And plus, I like the dad and son combination going for one last win (or maybe more).

PICK: Boise St +3.5 over Colorado (NORMAL BET / 1.0 units)


Game 1: #16 Wagner Seahawks at #16 Howard Bison (West Region 640pm)

Who doesn’t love a good battle between one-word universities. Simple yet profound and proud, both Wagner and Howard had to pull off several upsets to win their respective conferences. For Howard, they started the year 5-11 but found something midseason to finish strong with 13 wins in their last 18 games. Per KenPom.com, they struggle protecting the ball ranking 354th out of 362 teams in TO%. But they crash the boards well (39th in OReb% in NCAA) and get to the line often with the 11th highest FT rate in the country. The other thing they do well is shoot the three, led by G Marcus Dockery who shot over 41% from behind the arc in over 200 attempts.

Wagner on the other hand got to Dayton with bully ball. In the three games in the NEC tournament, they held their opponents to a combined 35.3% shooting and outrebounded them 116 to 95 (average of +7 per game). It’s been their recipe for success all year as they allow just over 62 points per game which is top 10 in the nation. The problem is, they are one of the worst shooting teams in the country ranking 353rd in effective FG%. They also struggle at the FT line shooting just 70% (249th).

Wagner wants to win with defense and playing at a slow pace. In the end, I think Howard will have enough offense to get their first ever NCAA Tournament win. That will send them to Charlotte to face #1 UNC on Thursday.

PICK: Howard -3 over Wagner (FUN BET / 0.5 units)

RESULT: LOSS / -0.55 units

Game 2: #10 Colorado State Rams at #10 Virginia Cavaliers (Midwest Region 910pm)

The Mountain West Conference landed 6 teams in the NCAA tournament. And tonight, we’ll get to see one of those teams play and gauge how good their conference really was. For one, I love the top teams in the MWC and think several can make it to the second weekend. I do question the bottom half, including the Rams, and how they compare to other teams that were left out.

But simply put, this is a great matchup for Colorado State. The Virginia Cavaliers come into this game with one of the worst offenses in college basketball. As typical of a Cavs team, they play excellent defense and try to bleed the clock on offense to minimize possessions. But the thing that stands out to me is that they have been bludgeoned by good teams, losing games to Duke by 25, Wisconsin by 24 and UNC by 10 (Va Tech beat them by 34 but they’re not a “good” team). The only teams they beat in KenPom’s top 35 were Florida, Clemson and Wake. And that was by a combined 6 points. Overall, Virginia is just 2-7 in Quad 1 games.

On the other hand, Colorado State has 6 wins against teams in the tournament this year. They are 6-7 in Quad 1 games in NCAA this season. Their pace is solid and they shoot the ball very efficiently (32nd in Effective FG%). CSU also has a significant advantage at the FT line, as they shoot 75.4% from the charity stripe (54th in NCAA) and Virginia shoots just 63.7% (355th). That’s important in these closely contested games.

We’ve seen some money movement as this line opened at -1.5 and is now at -2.5. My simple model says this should be at -3.5. So, I’ll lean on the above metrics and take the more well-rounded in the Rams to pull this one off. If so, they will head over to Charlotte to matchup with #7 seeded Texas in a very winnable game.

PICK: Colorado St -2.5 over Virginia (NORMAL BET / 1.0 units)

RESULT: WIN / +1.0 Units


To be posted by 10am Wednesday March 19th


Subscribe to our newsletter

The best bets and resources to make you more profitable

    Our Company

    At WIN DAILY®, our motto is to “change your game and change your life.” We want to help you win that bet, parlay, and big DFS tournament and have some fun while you do. Our goal is to help you turn your love of sports into a profit center while playing responsibly and enjoying your time with a like-minded community.


    This site is 100% for entertainment purposes only and does not involve real money betting. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem and wants help, call 1-800 GAMBLER. This service is intended for adult users only.
    Update Required Flash plugin