March Madness First Round Locks, Upsets, And Chaos

Date IconLast Updated: Oct 5th, 2023
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March Madness First Round Locks, Upsets, And Chaos
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March Madness is here! This is quite the time for college basketball fans and even casual sports fans. Hope springs eternal; Cinderella finds that blasted slipper and one hears the word “onions” far more than at any other time. 

While this is far from the world’s most comprehensive guide, we offer a simple way to enjoy the first round and help you with your March Madness betting

One thing is sure. Many of us will be tearing up our March Madness bracket after one day, likely less. Have patience, bet sensibly, and don’t plow through your bankroll for the first round. 

First-Round Upsets And Locks

Everyone has them, and no, this will not go perfectly. For every 12-seed that beats a five, there is that top seed that goes out and wins by 30+ with ease. It does not seem possible to get March Madness scores that volatile, but that is true. Instead, we are going over some of the more straightforward choices. 

Yes, there will be some Overs and Unders which get examined, too. Anyway, let's begin.

Drake Over Miami - Upset - Drake Moneyline

This would be considered a mild upset. Remember, injuries play a huge role this time of year in spreads and picks. Now is no exception. Norchad Omier cleaned up rebounds for Miami but did not appear 100% after an injury suffered during the ACC tournament. 

Drake is one of those teams that rebounds pretty well. Plus, Miami is known for not having a lot of depth. Get past that first layer, and the Hurricanes are probably little more than a .500 team.

Drake could run away with this game, and at +120, this is a reasonably small bet which can be made. 

Furman Over Virginia - Upset - Furman Moneyline

This could blow up in our faces, but Virginia can quickly blow up one’s brackets. Tony Bennett’s team did win the national championship in 2019. However, they were last eliminated in the tournament as a four-seed. 


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Again, they are a fourth seed against Furman (a 13). The Paladins play at a lightning-quick pace (fourth in the NCAA in offensive rating). Virginia showed trouble against playing such a style but is not unaccustomed to it. 

Furman shoots around 35% from the 3-point range and has several serious threats. Can the Cavaliers cover them all? If Virginia tires out in any way, look out!

Memphis over FAU - Lock - Memphis ATS

Naturally, a 2.5-point spread might scare some, but not here. Florida Atlantic is now going up against the All-American Conference champions. 

Memphis easily disposed of Houston (who played without Marcus Sasser). However, the Tigers showed they could take the best of the Cougars during the year. It is safe to say the Owls will not put up the same resistance. 

Penny Hardaway has the Tigers believing they can make a deeper run in their region. Are they March Madness favorites? Maybe not, but their athleticism gets them past the first round, at least. 

Indiana over Kent St. - Lock - Indiana ATS

This is another of the March Madness bets that could backfire. However, the Hoosiers only laying 4.5 points was hard to pass. 

Indiana is built more for the tournament than, say, Purdue. That is a fact. Trayce Jackson-Davis and Jalen Hood-Schifino form quite a duo. It is more than combining for nearly 34 points a game. In the case of Jackson-Davis, he creates havoc and matchup nightmares galore. 

Kent St. is one of the better teams not talked about. However, this late game could be over early if they do not slow down the inside-outside play of the Hoosiers. Mike Woodson will have Indiana ready.

Quick Over And Unders

Thanks to BetMGM again for the timely numbers here. However, picking Over-Under is the only way to end a column like this.

Michigan State vs. USC - Over 137.5 points

Again, these two teams can break the 70-point mark by themselves. USC does not rebound the ball well, which could allow Michigan State to stay in the game. 

Both teams make their foul shots and can get to the line, which helps a line that has come down a couple of points. 

Princeton vs. Arizona - Over 154.5 points

This line keeps coming on and off, but for a good reason. 

Arizona gets one of the best matchups in the tournament. The Wildcats are a lock to blow this one out of the barn, too. Expect a lot of points and some fun basketball. 

Louisiana vs. Tennesee - Under 136.5 points

Again, injuries are concerning, and the Volunteers are a touch banged up coming into the NCAA Tournament. 

Zakai Ziegler getting hurt late in the season impacted a team that was struggling on offense already. Louisiana can get to the foul line. If it gets Tennessee into foul trouble, that should slow the game down further. 

What To Stay Away From

There is a minimal explanation here, but some may be self-explanatory. Maybe. 

Saint Mary’s and VCU come to mind as does Creighton vs. NC State. These are games where too many variables could throw these contests off kilter.

Providence and Kentucky could be scary. Providence plays much better at home but can lose to anyone. Kentucky finds ways to lose games no one has any business losing. The best course of wagering is to run far away from this one. 

Again, best of luck as the Madness descends. All it truly takes is one shot to change the tournament and betting fortunes. Good luck!

 


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