Hoops fans, we’re finally here.  It’s the most wonderful, yet terrifying time of the year.  I’ll preface this column by saying this.  Betting spreads and totals is NOT the best way to bet on March Madness…  While betting spreads is the sexy thing to do, I will continue to share picks ATS and maybe a total here and there.  All of this being said, I implore you to bet some ML parlays.  Before we dive into the spreads, here are my favorite ML parlays from the round of 64:


(The slight dogs)Iowa State/Marquette: +550

(The toss ups with a twist)Memphis/San Diego State/Miami: +590


Thursday 4:15 PM EST – Gonzaga vs Georgia State: Gonzaga 1H -12

The Zags come into this game as the #1 team in the entire country in first half scoring, averaging 43.8 points per first half.  Meanwhile Georgia State averages just 33.5 per first half and it’s no secret that the Panthers are the far inferior team between the two.  This pick is extremely simple.  Gonzaga is the #1 overall seed in the entire tournament and should blow the doors off Georgia State from the opening tip.  The Panthers are on a respectable 10 game winning streak to close out the year, but when looking at their matchups earlier in the season against formidable opponents, the results are ugly.  A 35 point loss to Rhode Island, a 29 point loss to Mississippi State, and a little 10 point loss to Georgia Tech.  This Georgia State team is a 16 seed for a reason and the Zags should come out hot.  The reason I’m going with the first half line is because I know Gonzaga will be playing their starters.  I do like the Zags -23.5, but in a tournament like this, Mark Few may want to rest his stars towards the end of the game opening up a backdoor cover possibility.  I rely on Zag domination early and cash the winning ticket before the second half even starts.


Thursday 7:10 PM EST – Kentucky vs St. Peters: Kentucky -18

This bet comes strictly from my belief that Kentucky is a fantastic well rounded team, and that I didn’t know St. Peters was a school.  If you don’t know about Oscar Tshiebwe by now then you better start to learn.  Tshiebwe is a first team All-American and received the most votes, making him a major candidate for player of the year honors.  Nobody in college basketball dominates rebounds like Tshiebwe.  On top of that Kentucky has star guard Ty-Ty Washington who looks like he’s returned to full form after suffering an injury late in the season.  Kentucky is so damn good while Saint Peters score just 66.2 PPG (277th in the country), shoot 42.5%(243rd in the country) and rebound at an extremely average rate.  I expect to Kentucky to absolutely steam roll the St. Peters’ Peacocks.


Friday 3:10 PM EST – USC vs Miami: Miami +1.5

As I wrote about in my last article, Miami has been disrespected all season long.  They’ve collected wins and taken care of teams they’re supposed to.  USC on the other hand has also collected wins, but are lacking a season changing win.  They did squeak by at home against UCLA not too long ago, but got trounced hosting Arizona late in the regular season, then proceeded to take a couple rough losses to UCLA to close the season out, almost canceling out their first win against the Bruins.  Miami has a season defining win at #2 Duke earlier this year and do a great job of shooting efficiently without turning the ball over.  Meanwhile USC HATES pressuring their opponent and I think it bites them big in this game.  The Hurricanes should be able to run their offense exactly how they want and slowly chop away at the Trojans.  USC has lacked a go-to guy in the big moment this whole season and I think it bites them big in the tourney.  The U with the slight upset, go take +1.5 but I’m on the moneyline as well.


Friday 4:30 PM EST – Texas vs Virginia Tech: Virginia Tech +1

One of the most popular upsets early on in the bracket season, and for good reason.  It’s been a season of ups and downs for the Hokies, but they’re certainly ending the season on a high note.  Va Tech rattled off four wins in as many days to steal the ACC tournament which is the only reason they’re even in this tournament, but that’s not to say they haven’t been battle tested.  Va Tech has faired decent away from home, closing out the season 8-1 in games away from home.  On top of that the Hokies don’t have a single eye-sore on their season resume.  Texas is a rather odd team in my eyes.  I loved the hiring of their coach Chris Beard and believe the Longhorns have a lot of talent…  They just haven’t been able to put it together especially away from home.  Texas went 0-6 when facing ranked opponents away from home… Not great!  While Virginia Tech isn’t quite a ranked team, the sentiment still stands in my eyes.  Texas has shrunk in the big moment and look no further than last Sunday to see the resilience and fight of the Hokies, ride with Va Tech.

Photo: Marc Lebryk

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