Arguably the most entertaining stretch of basketball of the year is finally here — the opening round of March Madness. With 16 games going off on each of the first two days, let’s focus in on Friday’s betting card.
Let’s breakdown some college basketball bets on DraftKings Sportsbook!
No. 13 Furman vs. No. 4 Virginia (Thursday 12:40pm ET)
South Region — Orlando, FL
Furman +6 (-110) — 1-unit
Outside of the exciting 2019 Championship team for Virginia, this just seems to be their typical tournament team. That 2019 team had NBA talent on it, including a top-five pick in De’Andre Hunter. Coaching and defense is strong, but you need more balance on both sides of the ball come March. Furman has that to a degree, with a bunch of veteran players that should be ready for this stage.
The Paladins went 13-5 in games played away from home this season, and were able to keep it within five points in a game at Penn State. In a game with a low total, I think Furman should be scrappy enough to keep it close.
No. 10 Utah State vs. No. 7 Missouri (Thursday 1:40pm ET)
South Region — Sacramento, CA
OVER 154.5 (-110) — 1-unit
This should be a rapid paced game — both teams go up and down the floor and like to get up a lot of threes. Neither side is known for defense, particularly on the Missouri side, which should create plenty of scoring opportunities. Between the amount of possessions and attempted triples in this game, we could should see this game get into the eighties on the scoreboard.
No. 9 Auburn vs. No. 8 Iowa (Thursday 6:50pm ET)
Midwest Region — Birmingham, AL
Auburn ML (-115) — 2-units
On the surface, this felt like a coin flip game, but a deeper dive helped push me onto Auburn. Iowa was a terrific home team this season, but really struggled away from home. If we combine road and neutral games, the Hawkeyes went 5-10 SU/4-10-1 ATS, and this one should be much closer to a road game for them then a neutral.
Keep in mind this game is in Birmingham, so we should see a very pro-Tigers crowd here. Saying this is an Auburn home game is a stretch, but the Tigers did go 14-2 at home this season. Auburn has nice balance on both sides of the ball, where as Iowa can shoot the lights out with an elite offense, but is one of the worst defenses in the tournament. I tend to think in this “road” atmosphere, some of the shots the Hawkeyes need to fall won’t, and their defense hasn’t proven the ability to stop anyone.
No. 12 Oral Roberts vs. No. 5 Duke (Thursday 7:10pm ET)
East Region — Orlando, FL
Oral Roberts +6.5 (-110) — 1-unit
Both Duke and Oral Roberts were teams I thought I may want to back entering the tournament, and when they drew each other, I thought maybe I’d pass. But it seems like the whole world not only has Duke advancing, but making a deep run. It makes sense, the Blue Devils are getting hot at the right time, ripping off nine wins in a row, on their way to the ACC Tournament Championship.
That said, Duke is running into a veteran Oral Roberts team that can really play. Remember, just two years ago, this Golden Eagles team defeated Ohio State and Florida as a 15-seed, and nearly beat Arkansas to reach the Elite Eight. Many of those tournament-tested veterans are back, including one of the best guards in the country in Max Abmas. Of course, Duke has plenty of size, but that’s also something Oral Roberts has an answer for with 7’5” center Connor Vanover.
While Duke is hot right now, I think its youth will catchup and this one should be a nail-biter.
No. 15 Colgate vs. No. 2 Texas (Thursday 7:25pm ET)
Texas -13.5 (-110) — 1-unit
I have Texas making a deep run in this tournament, and a big future on the Horns to reach the Sweet Sixteen. To do so, they’ll have to start by getting past Colgate, which I feel has the potential to be a blowout.
You could argue that nobody in the country is playing better than Texas right now. They have plenty of veteran guards that are studs on both sides of the ball, and then plenty of size and athleticism up front. Colgate is really going to struggle defending on the perimeter and in the paint. KenPom has Colgate ranked 232 in terms of adjusted defensive efficiency, and the Longhorns have the defense to shut Colgate down. Perfect combination here for Texas to runaway and win by a decent margin.
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All views expressed are my own. I am an employee of DraftKings and am ineligible to play in public DFS or DKSB 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.