Pro Bookmaker: March Madness Upsets, Final Four Picks

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Pro Bookmaker: March Madness Upsets, Final Four Picks
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With March Madness games underway this week — and March Madness betting going strong — asked oddsmaker Casey Lewless for his bracket predictions.

A former Las Vegas handicapper and college basketball betting expert, Lewless manages Penn Entertainment sportsbooks in Northwest Louisiana.

Below are his picks for March Madness bracket betting.

South Region 

The top teams in this region are Alabama, San Diego State, Creighton and Arizona. 

Before it gets to those teams, here are some games for sports betting enthusiasts to keep an eye on in the region’s early stages: In the second round, look for Utah State to beat Missouri, Creighton to take down Baylor, and San Diego State to defeat Virginia.


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By default, Alabama probably will make it to the Final Four out of this region, but if the Tide runs into a physical team, Bama could face an early exit. That means it will be football time sooner than expected in Tuscaloosa.

East Region 

In the East, keep these first-round games in mind: Florida Atlantic to upend Memphis in a mild surprise, Louisiana to upset Tennessee and USC to take down Michigan State.

There won’t be many surprises in round two, but I like Duke over Purdue in the Sweet 16 and Marquette over Kentucky. 

Duke will advance in the East.

Midwest Region 

I can see three big upsets in this region’s first round. I like Iowa defeating an Auburn team that struggles to put the ball in the basket, Drake upsetting Miami and Kent State getting the best of Indiana.

Kennesaw State could give Xavier fits, now that Xavier’s Zach Freemantle, a 6-foot-9 inside presence, is sidelined with foot surgery. 


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So, in round two, I have Drake playing Kent State, with Drake advancing. 

Ultimately, I see Xavier, Texas, Houston and Drake emerging. 

I will go with Texas advancing to the Final Four, as I don’t expect Houston’s high-scoring guard Marcus Sasser to be healthy with the groin injury.

West Region

During the first round, I see Virginia Commonwealth over Saint Mary’s as the 12 vs. 5 upset, Boise State topping Northwestern, and Arkansas beating Illinois. Arkansas will become the first shocker of the dance by upsetting Kansas in the next round. 

In this region, I get down to Arkansas, UConn, Gonzaga and UCLA, with UCLA making its way to the Final Four.

My Final Four picks, the teams with the best chances to win March Madness this year: Alabama, Duke, Texas and UCLA. It’s a bit chalky from that point, so it’s your pick on who wins the title game.

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Larry Henry

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