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The NCAA Basketball Tournament is in full swing, and one of the most fascinating matchups of the First Round tips off Friday afternoon with the UConn Huskies squaring off against the Iona Gaels. 

UConn has title aspirations for this season, but Iona coach Rick Pitino has primed his Iona team to play spoiler. A battle between the No. 4 seeded Huskies and the No. 13 seeded Gaels, we take a deep dive into the Iona vs. UConn predictions, odds, and trends and whether a March Madness upset is on the horizon.

Iona vs. UConn March Madness Betting Odds: Spread, Moneyline, Total

The Huskies enter as the higher seed and are favored in this first-round matchup. The UConn vs. Iona spread has remained consistent at sportsbooks since the game was announced on Selection Sunday, staying just beneath double-digits.

The UConn moneyline is likely too high to bet on its own. It can be used as a useful leg in a chalk parlay, as combining it with two to three other similar moneylines can get you to positive odds. Betting the Iona moneyline, on the other hand, will get you at least a three-to-one return depending on the book.

For those who like to bet tournament Over/Unders, the UConn vs. Iona total is set in the low-140s range.

Iona vs. UConn Predictions, Odds, Trends: Bet on the Underdog in This March Madness Game
Bet on Walter Clayton Jr. and the Gaels, according to our Iona vs. UConn prediction. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Iona vs. UConn Betting Overview

Pitino has turned the Gaels program around and shouldn’t be overlooked when it comes to March Madness betting. His team is determined to be this year’s Cinderella team, but will they be able to upset a solid UConn program?

We look at the important stats and trends to know before making any UConn vs. Iona bets.

Also read: Friday’s March Madness player props and parlay picks | USC vs. Michigan prediction, odds

Connecticut Huskies Betting Overview

The Huskies had an impressive showing in the Big East conference this season. They fell short in the conference tournament, however, losing to eventual champion Marquette in the semifinals. UConn still managed to earn a No. 4 seed and will travel just a few hours up the road for the first round in Albany.

UConn will look to avenge its disappointing tournament campaign last year, where the Huskies were upset in the first round by San Diego State. That’ll likely fuel this year’s team who have their sights on a Final Four appearance — if not more.

These are the Huskies’ key players to watch for ahead of Friday’s first round.

  • F Adama Sanogo: 17.0 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 1.3 APG
  • G Jordan Hawkins: 15.9 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 1.4 APG
  • G Tristen Newton: 10.2 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 4.7 APG
  • F Alex Karaban: 9.5 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 1.7 APG
  • C Donovan Clingan: 7.3 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 0.4 APG

NCAA Tournament pro betting: How sharp gamblers are moving March Madness lines | How to hedge NCAA Tournament futures bet

Iona Gaels Betting Overview

The Iona Gaels earned a spot in this year’s tournament after winning the MAAC Championship. Iona took down a sub-500 Marist team for the conference title and tournament qualifier. The Gaels’ success this season has come from the backs of their defense, which has been one of college basketball’s best teams at defending the three-point shot.

Iona has kept opposing offenses in check, and teams have scored over 80 against them only once since Christmas. If the Gaels want to pull off the first-round upset, the Iona defense will have to keep UConn from converting possessions and keep the scoreboard low. If the game tempo gets too quick or turns into a shootout, the Gaels lack the firepower to keep the game in check.

The Iona roster is bolstered by 7-foot-1 Osborn Shema, who has been a menace in the paint for opposing offenses.

  • G Daniss Jenkins: 15.6 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 4.9 APG
  • G Walter Clayton: 16.9 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 3.2 APG
  • F Nelly Joseph: 15.1 PPG, 9.4 RPG, 1.1 APG
  • F Berrick JeanLouis: 7.8 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 2.0 APG
  • F Osborn Shema: 7.2 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 1.6 APG

Iona vs. UConn Betting Trends

Both programs made bettors some money this year. Iona and UConn have been covering the spread at an impressive clip as of late, so which team will keep the momentum going into the tournament?

  • UConn went 18-9 against the spread (ATS) this season
  • UConn is 8-2 ATS over the last 10 games
  • Iona went 15-8 ATS this season
  • Iona is 7-3 ATS over the last 10 games
  • The Over is just 4-6 in both teams’ last 10 games

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Iona vs. UConn Prediction

Which of these teams will punch their ticket to the second round? Whoever does will play the winner of the Saint Mary’s vs. VCU game. Saint Mary’s is the betting favorite to be in the second-round matchup and is favored by four points over VCU.

We lean towards the underdog when it comes to UConn vs. Iona betting. The Gaels’ defense should manage to keep the Huskies’ offense in check and keep the game within reach. A well-coached Iona is a candidate to be one of this year’s brackbusters. Sprinkling some on an Iona moneyline bet may also prove profitable by Friday night.

If the Huskies succeed in breaking the Gaels defense, a bet on the UConn vs. Iona Over may also be in play. Iona may have held most of their opponents to a relatively low total, but they haven’t played a team quite as efficient as UConn. A final score of 75-70 would be ideal, hitting on both Iona covering and the Over.

Pick: Iona +9.5

How to Watch Iona vs. UConn

Both teams may have some good representation in the crowd for this matchup. New Rochelle and Storrs, the location of both colleges, are just over two hours from the first-round venue.

Date: Fri, March 17

Time: 4:30 P.M. ET

Venue: MVP Arena

City: Albany, NY

Broadcast: TBS

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About the Author
Ken Bates

Ken Bates

Ken Bates is a sports betting writer at Gaming Today. With years of experience in the industry, he’s covered several sports and is always on the lookout for an angle to bet. Bates resides in upstate New York and, as difficult as it may sometimes be, roots for the Jets, Mets, and Islanders.

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