Looking beyond the selections, let's get to the picks

Mar 13, 2018 3:07 AM

We’ve heard all about the top seeds (Virginia, Villanova, Kansas and Xavier), the “bid-stealers” (San Diego State, Davidson and Marshall) and the major snubs (USC, Oklahoma State and Notre Dame) heading into the 2018 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship, so let’s get straight to some picks.

The lines come c/o the Westgate SuperBook.

LIU-Brooklyn (+4, 135) vs. Radford (Tue., 3:40, truTV): The Blackbirds appeared to be taking a majority of the early action. Both of these teams were 0-3 to the UNDER in their conference tournaments, including Radford’s UNDER 119 in its title game. Radford, 69-63

St. Bonaventure (+3.5, 158) vs. UCLA (Tue., 6:10, truTV): Plenty of points expected here as sharps are sure to like the Bonnies despite the questionable status of forward Courtney Stockard (hamstring). Tickets were sided to the Bruins in early betting, but the money was more evenly split. UCLA, 83-81

N.C. Central (+4, 148) vs. Texas Southern (Wed., 3:40, TruTV): Big-time rebounding edge for the Eagles. Teams are combined 11-2 ATS in lined games this season. Line moved off an opener of +5. Early tickets were 3-to-2 on Tigers, but money was equally heavy on Central. NCCU, 76-74

Syracuse (+1.5, 141) vs. Arizona State (Wed., 6:10, TruTV): Oddsmakers switched favorites after opening the Orange a one-point choice after widely-reported opening steam on ASU. Sun Devil stumbles well-known with 3-7 ATS mark down-the-stretch, but SU “win resume” pales to ASU early-season work. SU, 71-69

Oklahoma (+2, 165) vs. Rhode Island (Thu., 9:15, CBS): This game appeared to take the most action following the opening of the numbers and most of the money looked to be on the Rams. Trey Young took his lumps in conference and Sooners are 11-20 ATS this year, so Oklahoma likely contrarian. OU, 85-82

Wright State (+13, 128) vs. Tennessee (Thu., 9:40, truTV): Raiders were the public lean in early action and are 5-2 ATS as a ‘dog this season. The Vols were a decent favorite at 13-11 ATS, but failed three of their last four, including twice at the SEC tournament. Teams combined to go 25-38 to the UNDER this season. UT, 66-57

UNCG (+12, 136) vs. Gonzaga (Thu., 10:30, TNT): Greensboro a terrific cover this season with a 17-9-1 ATS mark, but just 3-2 as a ‘dog, so consider the Spartans in the first half here. UNCG also 11-16 to the UNDER this season. GU, 71-61

Penn (+14.5, 146.5) vs. Kansas (Thu., 11, TBS): Jayhawks center Udoka Azubuike (knee) was questionable heading in so that doesn’t make this 1-16 match-up any easier against elite three-point defense of Quakers. Penn expected to “slow it up” but caution in its 18-11 OVER mark this season. KU, 79-70

Iona (+20, 161.5) vs. Duke (Thu., 11:45, CBS): Duke was taking most of the money in light early action, causing a half-point move to the favorite. The Blue Devils were terrific against the number this season, going 20-12 ATS, but Iona has been here plenty before. Duke, 92-75

Loyola-Ill. (+2.5, 134) vs. Miami, Fla. (Thu., 12:10, truTV): Former national champ Ramblers an awesome 21-10 ATS this season, while ‘Canes were a dismal 12-17 versus the number. Loyola also a solid UNDER against their kind down-the-stretch. Loyola, 67-65

South Dakota State (+8, 150) vs. Ohio St. (Thu., 1, TNT): Early apparent wise move on the Buckeyes up from -7.5 as public bettors seemed to prefer experienced underdog ‘Rabbits (19-9 ATS this season) by a reasonable margin. OSU 9-20 to the UNDER overall. OSU, 75-50

N.C. State (+2, 161) vs. Seton Hall (Thu., 1:30, TBS): Slight move reported to the ‘dog Wolf Pack as some shops opened +2.5. Veteran Pirates were 19-12 to the OVER this season and 6-3 ATS when getting points. SHU, 84-80

Davidson (+6, 143) vs. Kentucky (Thu. 4:10, CBS): Slight move came in on sudden-title contender UK at a -5.5 opener at some places here in town, but consider Davidson’s 19-12 ATS record this season. Nightmare first-round match-up. UK, 72-71

San Diego State (+4, 143.5) vs. Houston (Thu., 4:20, TBS): Aztecs got hot late in the season and stayed hot. SDSU is 20-10 against the number this season, but Cougs a strong 18-10-1 ATS, as well, with strong defense. UH, 74-66

S.F. Austin (+11.5, 139) vs. Texas Tech (Thu., 4:27, truTV): Tech is 0-7-1 ATS coming in here and the committee throws them a curve ball in Dallas as the teams meet nearly half-way. SFA, which went UNDER in all three of its conference tournament games, was getting the public’s attention early. TTU, 70-65

Alabama (+2, 142.5) vs. Virginia Tech (Thu., 6:20, TNT): Hokies were 11-5 ATS as a favorite this season, though Tide defense plays to some of Virginia Tech’s strengths. Alabama was 11-21-1 to the UNDER this season. Alabama, 71-69

Buffalo (+9, 162) vs. Arizona (Thu., 6:40, CBS): Bulls were 19-12 ATS this season, while the Wildcats posted just a 14-19-1 spread mark. UB also went 19-12 to the OVER this season and that’s the direction we see this one. U of A, 88-81

Montana (+12, 134) vs. Michigan (Thu., 6:50, TBS): Michigan was taking a majority of the action early as these teams were a combined 41-22-2 ATS this season. Wolverines also 6-0-1 to the OVER coming into this and Griz went OVER in all three conference tourney games. Michigan, 76-64

Providence (+4, 135.5) vs. Texas A&M (Fri., 9:15, CBS): That Ed Cooley magic worked again at The Garden last week, nearly winning the tournament against ‘Nova, and Friars have an 11-7 spread mark as an underdog this season. TAMU, 67-65

Cal Fullerton (+20.5, 149) vs. Purdue (Fri., 9:40, truTV): This looks like the bad news for the high-as-a-kite Titans with early start against a team hungry to get back on track in a sure mismatch. Fullerton had a great spread record this season at 19-9 and also went 9-18-1 to the UNDER. Purdue, 84-58

Marshall (+12, 171) vs. Wichita State (Fri., 10:30, TNT): Marshall attracting most of the tickets and money early as bettors souring on Shockers after WSU went just 12-18 ATS for the season. MU, 91-90

Georgia State (+14, 125) vs. Cincinnati (Fri., 11, TBS): Georgia State was actually getting the early attention from bettors as Cincy opened as high as -15 in some spots. GSU went 19-11 ATS this season. Bearcats 13-20 to the UNDER this season. UC, 68-52

Lipscomb (+19.5, 167) vs. North Carolina (Fri.,11:45, CBS): This one opened -18.5 at a few spots, but moved higher behind steady public support early. Tar Heels get that close-by venue for a home-court advantage. UNC, 95-77

Butler (-1, 154.5) vs. Arkansas (Fri., 12:10, truTV): Should be a wild 7-10 game with lower-seeded Butler the slight favorite in their best role at 12-9 ATS laying the points this season. Teams a combined 37-28-1 to the OVER this season and this pace should be hot, hot, hot. BU, 83-80

Murray State (+10.5, 150) vs. West Virginia (Fri., 1, TNT): Racers have been a nice cover this season at 17-11 ATS, including 7-3 over their last 10, and 4-2 as a ‘dog. Murray also UNDER in seven of last eight coming in. WVU, 75-73

Texas (PK, 141.5) vs. Nevada (Fri., 1:30, TBS): Nevada looks to be in all sorts of trouble here against elite Longhorn defense, especially given woes here at MWC tourney last week. UT, 70-65

Kansas State (+1, 145.5) vs. Creighton (Fri., 3:50, TNT): Early tickets were nearly 3-to-2 on Creighton, but approximately two-thirds of the money was on the Wildcats. Still, Creighton is in their better role as a favorite (12-8 ATS). Creighton, 73-69

Bucknell (+14, 150.5) vs. Michigan State (Fri., 4:10, CBS): The Spartans moved 1.5 points higher in some spots behind a majority of public action early. Michigan State nothing special against the number, but this is a bad matchup for the Bison. MSU, 85-65

Coll. of Charleston (+10.5, 151) vs. Auburn (Fri., 4:27, truTV): The Cougars were reportedly getting more than 75 percent of the early action against an Auburn team that went 17-10 ATS as a favorite this season. Auburn, 86-72

UMBC (+22.5, 118) vs. Virginia (Fri., 6:20, TNT): Retrievers might be best story of the tournament, but just an unfortunate matchup against a Cavalier team that went 20-9-1 ATS. A recommendation is on the UNDER in the first half here. UVa., 71-46

Florida State (+1, 150.5) vs. Missouri (Fri., 6:50, TBS): A near toss-up, but early reports show the Tigers taking a heavy amount of the overall spread money. Seminoles stumbled to the finish, so we like the Mizzou fundamentals with or without big minutes from Michael Porter Jr. UM, 75-71

New Mexico State (+5.5, 131) vs. Clemson (Fri., 6:57, truTV): Tournament experienced Aggies looked to be one of the most heavily bet sides money-wise by early punters, taking 5.5 points on the opener. Both clubs were solid against the number, but committee did Tigers no favors here. NMSU, 65-63