First Round NCAA/NIT (Against the Spread Picks)

These are listed in chronological order by day. Spreads are based on current lines at the Caesar Sports book.

Wednesday’s Games:

Florida (-3.0) vs. UCF (7:00)– There was a huge dropoff in the AAC this year after Houston and Memphis and expect that to become very noticeable in these NIT Matchups.

Virginia Tech (+5.0) at Cincy- 9:00– see comment above

Arizona State (-2.0) vs. Nevada– Nobody in this field ended the regular season on a more sour note than Nevada who lost their last three games of the year against teams who weren’t even close to NIT consideration (San Jose State, UNLV, Wyoming). Meanwhile, Bobby Hurley (pictured below) and company have become pros at these First Four games, as this is their third trip to Dayton in the past five tournaments.

Thursday’s Games:

Missouri (+1.5) vs. Utah State (1:40)- the Mountain West traditionally performs terribly in this tourney (0-4 last year) so you can feel confident picking against them in toss up games such as this.

Arkanas (-2.0) vs. Illinois (4:30)– The Razorbacks have the talent of a 4 or 5 seed, and Ilinois hasn’t won a game outside of the friendly confines of Champaign since January.

Northwestern (-1.5) vs. Boise State (7:35)- see comment above regarding Mizzou/Utah State contest

Moneyline Parlay of the Day: San Diego State over Charleston and Virginia over Furman- I hope I am wrong about this one because I will be cheering hard for the South Carolina teams in this one; however, there are always a few NCAA tourney pods every year where everyone expects an upset to happen in one of the two games and it just doesn’t. I feel like this is one of those pods in 2023, as both San Diego State and Virginia are strong enough defensively to disrupt Charleston and Furman’s high scoring offenses.

Moneyline Upset Pick of the Day: Colgate over Texas (7-1 odds)- Call me crazy with this one but the experienced Raiders (pictured below) are due a tourney upset win after giving Arkansas and Wisconsin all they can handle the past two seasons in their respective first round games. Meanwhile, Texas may have peaked a week too early with their dominant Big 12 title run in Kansas City.

Thursday/Friday Moneyline Parlay: Arizona over Princeton, UCLA over UNC-Asheville, Houston over Northern Kentucky, Kansas over Texas A & M Corpus Christi, Baylor over UCSB, Xavier over Kennesaw State, Marquette over Vermont– I see very little chance of any of these favorites getting upset in the first round and assuming they all pull through you can almost double your money with this parlay.

Friday’s Games:

Miami (-2.0) vs. Drake (7:25)- The Canes may be a little banged up but they still have the guard play to make a deep tourney run. This upset pick has gotten too much hype which has led to a surprisingly low spread that the Canes should cover.

Kansas State (-8.5) over Montana State (9:40)- I am attending this game in person so I am obviously hoping for a good game and a potential Bobcat upset. With that being said, I think K-State just too good not to win this one by double digits.

Indiana (-4.0) vs. Kent State (9:55)- Another overhyped upset pick in which the spread is less than it should be. The Golden Flashes haven’t seen anyone like Trayce Jackson-Davis (pictured below) in MAC play.

Moneyline Parlay of the Day: Miami-FL over Drake and Indiana over Kent State- Could one or both of these upsets happen? Absolutely. But if they don’t and you take this parlay, then you will more than double your money. Like I said in my earlier analysis, I definitively lean Indiana and Miami in these two games, so a prediction that both of these teams advance is a risk worth taking.

Moneyline Upset Pick of the Day: Grand Canyon over Gonzaga (8-1 odds)- I realize this is another longshot, but Grand Canyon is extremely efficient from three point land and Zaga has struggled guarding the three all season. This just seems like one of those games where the underdog could get hot, and the higher seed won’t be able to do anything to stop it.


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