Top Day 1 Upset Possibilities
Those filling out NCAA Tournament brackets are all thinking about one thing: Where are the upsets?
Thursday’s opening round provides plenty of upset potential, and we’re here to guide you in the right direction with three particular matchups that have caught our eye.
We’re leaving aside any game featuring No. 8 and No. 9 seeds, because let’s face it, those games are effectively pick ‘ems.
On the other side of the spectrum, betting on any team seeded 13th or lower is too risky. It could happen, but there are safer choices available.
ADVERTISEMENT: If you are reading this article, you probably have upsets in mind. Check around, but the best odds on the underdog you want is probably at Bovada or over at Sports Interaction - Don't take anyone's word for it, check it out.
Here’s our look at the best upset possibilities on Thursday:
West Regional: No. 12 UTEP vs. No. 5 Butler (-2.5, 130 at Bovada)
This is the only first round game featuring two ranked teams, so there’s a solid chance the Miners (26-6 SU, 14-14 ATS) knock off the Bulldogs (28-4 SU, 13-19 ATS).
UTEP fell to Houston in the Conference USA Tournament championship game, but it remains one of the hottest teams in college basketball. Prior to their loss to the Cougars, the Miners had reeled off 16 straight SU wins (10-6 ATS).
This should be a close game, but look for UTEP to edge Butler, which will have had eight days off when they tip off in Spokane.
West Regional: No. 10 Florida vs. No. 7 Brigham Young (-5, 146 at Bovada)
The Gators (21-12 SU, 15-13 ATS) might not deserve to be in the Big Dance, but that doesn’t mean they won’t take down the Cougars (29-5 SU, 18-13 ATS).
Florida is an athletic team, and BYU has struggled against such opponents this season. The Cougars fell to UNLV in the Mountain West Tournament semifinals, and have lost to New Mexico (twice) and Utah State this year.
Besides, Brigham Young is known for folding the tent when the going gets tough. The Cougars have dropped seven straight games in the first round of the Tournament.
East Regional: No. 11 Washington vs. No. 6 Marquette (-1.5, 143 at Bovada)
The Golden Eagles (22-11 SU, 16-10-1 ATS) are a hard-nosed team, but they’ll be in tough against the streaking Huskies (24-9 SU, 14-18 ATS) in the opening round.
The Big East was a stronger conference than the Pac-10 this year, but Washington is riding high after winning its seventh in a row (6-1 ATS) in the Pac-10 title game last Saturday against favored California.
If you’re unsure about the Huskies SU, take them against the number. Washington is 7-2 ATS (8-1 SU) in its last nine games.