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Let the madness begin! There are 16 games Thursday and just about all of them have a chance to be interesting contests that can go either way. Let’s get ready for the first real day of the NCAA tournament by looking at the most compelling matchups and key betting trends from the afternoon slate.
One major trend to note is that BetQL entered Tuesday's First Four games scorching hot, going 99-59 (63%) on all college basketball picks in the previous three days. That included an astounding 19-7 (73%) on spread picks for a total return of $1,027 on $100 bets!
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Odds in this article are subject to change. Check the latest college basketball betting lines here: Latest College Basketball Odds | Latest Over/Under | Expert picks
The Wolverines were one of the more controversial at-large selections in the tournament, although it’s hard to deny that Michigan had enough quality wins on its resume. Perhaps that’s why the Wolverines are favored in this game despite being the No. 11 seed. Of course, consistency has been Michigan’s Kryptonite this season. Since late January, the Wolverines have only won back-to-back games once. On the other hand, the 17-14 Wolverines haven’t lost back-to-back games since mid-January. Since they lost their most recent game in the Big Ten Tournament, Michigan could be due for a win, especially after beating two other Mountain West teams this season.
MORE: NCAA TOURNAMENT MATCHUPS, ODDS & BETTING TIPS
Of course, Colorado State isn’t going to roll over in this game. The Rams are tough defensively and have a bona fide star in David Roddy, who averages 19.4 points per game. They head to the Big Dance with a 25-5 record, winning nine of their last 11 games. They are also tough defensively and have a propensity for playing close games. Of those nine wins, five were decided by six points or fewer, so the Rams know how to play in close games and find a way to win. Also, the BetQL model has a perfect 100% win rate projecting Colorado State unders this season, so be sure to check out our best bets for this game!
If momentum means anything, Marquette could be in some trouble. The Golden Eagles were as hot as any team in the country in January, only to go 4-6 in their last 10 games, albeit with a win over Villanova during that stretch. Meanwhile, the Tar Heels were 8-2 over their last 10 games and 4-1 ATS over their last five games, including that road win against Duke. Plus, the BetQL model has a 65% win rate projecting UNC overs this season, so be sure to check out our best bets for this game!
The Jackrabbits could be dangerous, which is why they’re only two-point underdogs in this game. South Dakota State is 30-4 and winners of 21 in a row. They also rank third nationally in scoring at 86.7 points per game. Even in a mid-major conference, that’s a lot of scoring. Meanwhile, Providence was 3-5 ATS coming down the stretch, including a 27-point loss to Creighton in the Big East Tournament. But the BetQL model has a 75% win rate when projecting Providence to cover this season, so be sure to check out our best bets for this game!
MORE: WATCH OUT FOR THESE BRACKET BUSTERS
The Tigers haven’t exactly looked like a tournament team all season, but Penny Hardaway has led his team to 12 wins in its last 14 games. Memphis also has wins over tournament teams like Alabama and Virginia Tech earlier in the season. However, Boise State won both the regular-season and tournament titles in a Mountain West Conference that put four teams in the Big Dance. After starting the season 3-4, the Broncos have won 24 of their last 27 games. Plus, the BetQL model has a 78% win rate when projecting Boise State to cover this season, so be sure to check out our best bets for this game!
Baylor went 26-6 this season, while Norfolk State was 24-6 on the season. Norfolk State went 17-9 ATS this season, and Robert Jones is 15-5 ATS after scoring 25 points or less in the first half of the previous game while coaching Norfolk State. Meanwhile, Baylor has covered in just two of the last seven games. Also, the BetQL model has a 67% win rate projecting Baylor overs this season, so be sure to check out our best bets for this game!
MORE: SEE THE BETQL STAFF'S FINAL FOUR PICKS
Longwood is the Big South regular season and tournament champion and they come into this game on an eight-game winning streak. Griff Aldrich is 15-0 ATS after a game where they made at least 50% of their 3-pointers while coaching Longwood, and Longwood is 14-4 ATS versus teams committing 14 or fewer turnovers per game this season. The Lancers also went 19-9 ATS (67.9% cover rate) this season, best among all NCAA Tournament teams.
Richmond won the Atlantic 10, but is a double-digit underdog here with an opportunity to upset No. 5 seed Iowa in the Hawkeyes' sixth tournament appearance in nine years. That said, Iowa is 11-3 ATS versus teams who make eight or more 3-pointers per game this season. Also, the BetQL model has a 78% win rate projecting Iowa overs this season, so be sure to check out our best bets for this game!
Gonzaga is the heavy, heavy favorite here after finishing the season with a 26-3 record, while Georgia State went 18-10 this season. But Rob Lanier is 8-1 ATS after covering six or seven of the last eight against the spread while coaching Georgia State.
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