clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

College Basketball March Madness Picks for March 20: 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 Sunday.

State Farm Champions Classic - Duke v Michigan State Photo by Lance King/Getty Images

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.

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 Sunday card.

No. 7 Ohio State vs. No. 2 Villanova — 2:40pm ET

Villanova -4.5 (-110)

It took ‘Nova until the last few minutes of the first half to get going in their tournament opener, but they still managed to find a way to cover both the half and the game. I can’t give as much credit to Ohio State for its work in the first round, as it feels like Loyola Chicago just handed them the game.

Loyola locked down on defense, but has a historically bad shooing game — 3-for-10 from the free throw line and under 30% from the field. The Ramblers shot 4-for-18 on layup attempts in the game. That’s not a typo. Now this Buckeye squad that can really struggle will face a Villanova team that isn’t going to make those mistakes. The Wildcats are going to make their shots, and specifically free throws (‘Nova is the best FT shooting team in the country.)

Prior to the Tournament, Ohio State was on a 1-4 SU/ATS skid with all four of those losses as favorites. I think they’re overvalued in this spot and Villanova should pull away.

No. 7 Michigan State vs. No. 2 Duke — 5:15pm ET

Michigan State +6.5 (-110)

Tom Izzo in March! No, that’s not actually the analysis here, but I do think this is too many points for Sparty. Tough luck on the backdoor cover if you bet Duke in the first round, as the Blue Devils failed to cover for the fifth game in a row.

Meanwhile, Michigan State has covered five in a row (depending on what number you got in the first round), and has been terrific at neutral sites this season — 6-3 ATS. Duke is 2-4 ATS on neutral floors. Obviously, those numbers go back a while and don’t mean a ton now, but I think it shows us how overvalued Duke can be.

This is far from one of Tom Izzo’s best teams, so I’m not expecting a deep tournament run here. But it’s also far from any of Coach K’s classic Duke teams too. These two know each other well, and you just know Izzo is going to be up to the task for this one. I see the Spartans keeping it within two possessions.

Place your college basketball bets at DraftKings Sportsbook and bet online by downloading the DraftKings Sportsbook app.

Put your knowledge to the test. Sign up for DraftKings and experience the game inside the game.

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.

If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, crisis counseling and referral services can be accessed by calling 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537) (IL/IN/MI/NJ/PA/WV/WY), 1-800-NEXT STEP (AZ), 1-800-522-4700 (CO/NH), 888-789-7777/visit (CT), 1-800-BETS OFF (IA), 1-877-770-STOP (7867) (LA), 877-8-HOPENY/text HOPENY (467369) (NY), visit (OR), call/text TN REDLINE 1-800-889-9789 (TN), or 1-888-532-3500 (VA).

21+ (18+ NH/WY). Physically present in AZ/CO/CT/IL/IN/IA/LA/MI/NH/NJ/NY/OR/PA/TN/VA/WV/WY only. Eligibility restrictions apply. See for full terms and conditions.