How did your college basketball picks go last weekend? I went 2-1 for the second week in a row. That means I end the regular season at 20W-27L and generated -8 units.
It sucks that the regular season is over now because I feel like I was hitting a nice groove. Ideally, that groove follows me into March Madness.
Here are my three picks from last weekend as well as the results:
Hofstra -14.5 vs William & Mary (-110): I didn’t want to bet against a Hofstra side that’s 4-1 ATS as the double-digit favorite in its last five home games. And I was right not to. They destroyed William & Mary 94-56.
Furman -12.0 vs Western Carolina (-110): I thought the Paladins could come away with another big win over the Catamounts. I was wrong. They only won by three points.
St. Thomas -3.5 vs Western Illinois (-110): St. Thomas was the better side going into the game and came out as the better side, covering the -3.5 spread with a 67-60 win.
Instead of making three picks this week, I’m going to make four – one for each region of the NCAA Tournament that begins Thursday, March 16:
If you’re new to the sport, check out our How to Bet on March Madness page. Don’t forget to check out our college basketball national championship odds. If you’re more interested in where everyone gets drafted, our NBA news is where you can find all of those answers.
College Basketball Weekly Picks
Pick #1: Duke -6.5 (-115)
The Game: Oral Roberts Golden Eagles vs Duke Blue Devils, 7:10 p.m. ET
|Oral Roberts||+6.5 (-115)||+230||O146.0 (-110)|
|Duke||-6.5 (-115)||-275||U146.0 (-110)|
There’s no reason to think there’ll be an upset here. I know a 12 seed has taken out a 5 seed in the first round 53 times, but this won’t be No. 54. Not only does Duke win, but I’m backing the Blue Devils to cover as 6.5-point favorites.
With all due respect to Oral Roberts’ 30-4 record, the Summit League isn’t exactly the cream of the crop. It’s a bottom-half conference with the Golden Eagles running the show. While Oral Roberts got to the Sweet 16 in 2021, they missed out on the tournament altogether last year.
The Golden Eagles offense is ranked third in college basketball with 84.2 points per game, but more than a quarter of that production comes from Max Abmas (22.2 PPG). Forty-eight percent of Abmas’ scoring is from three-point range and Duke allows the 48th-fewest three-point field goals per game at 6.1.
They’ll win and cover the spread by shutting down Abmas’ main source of production and thus the Eagles’ main source of offense.
Pick #2: Texas A&M -3 (-110)
The Game: Penn State Nittany Lions vs Texas A&M Aggies, 9:55 p.m. ET
|Penn State||+3 (-110)||+130||O134.5 (-110)|
|Texas A&M||-3 (-110)||-150||U134.5 (-110)|
One of our tips when betting on March Madness is to look for a side that isn’t particularly strong away from home or in neutral-site games. That’s Penn State. The Nittany Lions have gone 9-10 away from home compared to Texas A&M’s 10-8.
It’s a subtle advantage for the Aggies, but add to that Texas A&M’s better offense (134th vs Penn State’s 162nd) and much better defense (56th to 128th) and you’ve got the recipe for a winning side.
I’m betting the Aggies to win and cover as 3-point favorites.
Pick #3: UNDER 128.0 (-105)
The Game: Boise State Broncos vs Northwestern Wildcats, 7:35 p.m. ET
|Boise State||+1.5 (-110)||+105||O128.0 (-115)|
|Northwestern||-1.5 (-110)||-125||U128.0 (-105)|
My bet for this game between two defense-first teams is that the total goes UNDER 128 points.
The total has gone UNDER in Northwestern’s last six games. Specifically, they’ve gone UNDER 128 points three times (and pushed once) in those six games. Their opponents in those three particular games were Purdue, Ohio State and Wisconsin.
Sure, Wisconsin is 333rd in offense this year but Ohio State is a respectable 160th and Purdue is 146th. Boise State has the 160th-ranked offense, right in the same ballpark as the Buckeyes and Boilermakers.
When it comes to offense, neither side is lights-out. Boise State holds the advantage with 72.7 points per game. But when it comes to facing March Madness-level competition this season, the Broncos are scoring 66.5 points per game.
This game is definitely going UNDER 128.0 points.
Pick #4: Maryland ML (+110)
The Game: Maryland Terrapins vs West Virginia Mountaineers, 12:15 p.m. ET
|West Virginia||-2 (-110)||-130||O137.5 (-110)|
|Maryland||+2 (-110)||+110||U137.5 (-110)|
To me, defense is No. 1 when it comes to tournament play. I prefer a really solid defensive side to a solid offensive side because, after all, offense is still pretty random. Throwing a ball in the air and hoping it falls into an 18-inch wide basket 10 feet up in the air is a heck of a skill. And not always sustainable. Defense, on the other hand, is sustainable.
This matchup features the 26th-ranked defense (Maryland) against the 70th-ranked offense (West Virginia). When boiling down the Mountaineers’ offensive stats, it’s clear they generate a considerable amount from the charity stripe. Their 16.9 free throws per game are the 12th most in the NCAA. Maryland has done well in limiting free throws all year with 11.0 per game (57th in the nation).
When it comes to the turnover battle, Maryland holds an upper hand there too with 10.5 turnovers per game compared to West Virginia’s 13.
The Terrapins should be able to hobble the Mountaineers offense enough to keep this game close and with the slight turnover edge, I believe they’ll change the momentum of the game just enough to win it.