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College Basketball March Madness Picks for March 18: NCAA Best Bets on DraftKings Sportsbook

Julian Edlow gives his top NCAA basketball bets on DraftKings Sportsbook for the first round of March Madness on Friday.

March Madness has finally arrived! We had a pretty good run through the end of the regular season and into Conference Tournaments, but now the big dance is here. Time to lock in some college basketball bets on DraftKings Sportsbook!

Here’s how I’m going to construct these articles during the NCAA Tournament. Rather than just give bets with unit size, I’m going to write up all the bets/leans I’m considering. That way you get more content and insight on more games. But with that said, please be careful. These aren’t all games that I’ll ultimately bet on.

It’s still pretty early as I write these articles. Plenty of time to lock in bets, and also wait for some of these numbers to move in our favor. For my official plays, I’ll continue posting the play to Twitter, but will loop you back to these articles for the analysis.

Everything below is what jumps out to me on the Friday card. Let’s crush this tournament!


South Region

No. 10 Loyola Chicago vs. No. 7 Ohio State — 12:15pm ET

Loyola Chicago ML (-110)

Depending on Ohio State’s final injury report, this could wind up being my largest wager of the first-round. The Buckeyes have been extremely dinged up, and could be without a few bodies, including Kyle Young. Regardless of who plays, I’ll be on the Ramblers, but Young being out would really tip the scales here.

I’ve said I plan to fade the Big Ten in a lot of spots in this tournament, and this is most definitely one of those spots. The Ramblers are obviously beatable in the right matchups, but I don’t think this is one of them. Analytics love this team, and in this case I tend to agree — a very smart team that knows how to play and is still well coached. The Ramblers also play terrific away from home — a combined 13-5 record away from home, and 6-1 ATS on a neutral floor.

Ohio State is limping into tournament play following a dreadful finish to Big Ten play. The Buckeyes have gone 1-4 SU/ATS over their last five, with all four of the losses as favorites. Those losses came laying -4, -15, -6 and -5.5, so the market has been way off on them. Yes, it’s somewhat adjusted now, but I don’t think it’s all the way there. Ramblers dominate if Young is out.


East Region

No. 11 Virginia Tech vs. No. 6 Texas — 4:30pm ET

Virginia Tech +1 (-110)

This example is going to be a bit extreme, but I think there is something to it so I’m going to use it. When a team has high expectations, eventually we reach a point that it just isn’t working. Think of the Lakers in the NBA. Some people are still chasing that talent, but it clearly isn’t going to come together for them. Texas was a team that assembled a ton of talent following the Chris Beard hire, and it clearly hasn’t worked.

Following an extremely disappointing regular season, this team led TCU by almost 20 points at halftime in the Big 12 tournament, yet found a way to lose. This isn’t a bounce-back spot for them. The Longhorns have talented players, but just aren’t good. Enter a red-hot Virginia Tech team that had a terrific run in the ACC Tournament, dominating Duke to round things out. The Hokies seem to have all the right pieces, and a very veteran squad that knows how to play. After a terrible start to the season, this team rallied to finish 13-2. I love them to advance in this spot.


South Region

No. 13 Chattanooga vs. No. 4 Illinois — 6:50pm ET

Chattanooga +7.5 (-110)

The Mocs won their conference tournament in thrilling fashion. Besides cashing a very exciting ticket, I was also really happy that meant we’d see Chattanooga in the dance, because they are a very good team. Illinois feels like a middle of the pack matchup for the Mocs — a very talented team, but it also could be worse.

The Mocs were a very good road/neutral team this season, and even better as dogs — 4-2 outright. They don’t have a really big test on their resume, which does concern me, but I believe they’ll be up to the task. Ultimately, I’m not sure they can win this can with the talent Illinois has, but I’m confident it’ll be close. Keep this within a few possessions and this one cashes.


Midwest Region

No. 11 Iowa State vs. No. 6 LSU — 7:20pm ET

LSU -4 (-110)

I’m very surprised to see this number come down, but with the strange timing of the Will Wade firing I understand why. I just feel Iowa State is going in the complete wrong direction, and LSU has the talent to roll in this game no matter who the coach is. If anything, the Tigers may rally and make a run in a wide open region.

The Cyclones are here on their full season resume, but the team they are right now is nowhere close to a tournament team. After starting 12-0, Iowa State finished the last part of the season going 10-12.

Meanwhile, while LSU comes in without their coach, but as healthy as they have been all season. The Tigers are extremely tested out of an SEC that I feel is the best conference in basketball, and should dominate this game with their talent.


Midwest Region

No. 14 Colgate vs. No. 3 Wisconsin — 9:50pm ET

Colgate +7.5 (-110)

I really wish this game wasn’t being played in the Badgers’ home state, but I still love the matchup for Colgate and will take the points. Colgate is a very veteran team, and you may recall was a trendy pick last year against Arkansas. While the Raiders jumped out to a big early lead, and were actually favored on the live line, Arkansas was just too skilled and athletic, ultimately winning and covering.

This time around, Colgate gets a matchup it can actually win. Wisconsin really overachieved this season, and their style of play really isn’t one that will blow anyone out. Colgate does a terrific job of keeping games close, but isn’t as tested as you’d hope. That said, the Raiders did go to Syracuse and win on the road by 15 this season. They should be able to hang around in this game, particularly if the pace is slowed.


South Region

No. 9 TCU vs. No. 8 Seton Hall — 9:57pm ET

TCU ML (-110)

A lot of these No. 8 vs. No. 9 seed games this year are really tough to call, but this is one that I do have a strong feel for. TCU played in a really tough Big 12 conference, with their last three wins coming over Texas, Kansas and Texas Tech. This team has a high ceiling, entering tournament play on a nice 6-2-1 ATS run.

Seton Hall is 6-1 over its last seven games, but you have to look at the schedule here. They’ve been beating up on bottom of the barrel Big East teams, and are just 2-5 ATS in those games. Seton Hall is 0-4 ATS on a neutral floor this season, while TCU is a combined 10-5-1 ATS away from home. I’ll take a higher ceiling team from the better conference here in TCU to come through.


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All betting odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.


All views expressed are my own. I am an employee of DraftKings and am ineligible to play in public contests.


The contents contained in this article do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment.


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