As the entire sporting community anxiously awaits the 2023 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, the tone is always set by the hostile win-and-in scenario presented at the First Four. This year, the West region’s First Four will showcase the 11-seed Nevada Wolf Pack (22-10, 4th place in Mountain West) versus the 11-seed Arizona State Sun Devils (22-12, 5th place in Pac-12). Hosted at UD Arena in Dayton, Ohio, tipoff is scheduled for Wednesday, March 15 at 9:10 p.m. ET.; TruTV will carry the broadcast.
Via DraftKings Sportsbook, let’s glance at some of the betting lines for this contest:
West Region — First Four — (11) Nevada vs. (11) Arizona State picks
Spread: Arizona State -2
Over/Under: 134.5 (O -105/U -115)
Moneyline: Nevada +105, Arizona State -125
With such a small number on the spread here (ASU -2), it almost nullifies any enticement of taking the moneyline chalk with Arizona State (-125). Admittedly, that’s reading the line before taking a deep look at the on-court matchup between the Wolf Pack and Sun Devils, wherein both sides boast enough talent to make a fun run through the Big Dance.
Nevada had a very respectable year in 2022-23, going 12-6 in a Mountain West Conference that wound up being a four-bid league (San Diego State, Utah State and Boise State also received tourney nods). Yet, the Wolf Pack’s play has slipped as of late, dropping three consecutive games heading into the First Four. In regards to Arizona State, they did well to scrap with the cream of the Pac-12, upsetting Southern Cal in the conference quarterfinals. For Wednesday, I believe the Sun Devils show up just a little more ready for the moment.
Pick: Arizona State -2