NCAA Tournament Best Bets for Round 1: Thursday, March 17 (2022 March Madness)

Mar 15, 2022 - 11:06 AM

The Madness has officially arrived as 68 teams have their first assignment beginning on Tuesday. This year, there are no clear-cut #1s and the field, and the bracket feels as wide open as it has in recent memory. With plenty of upsets sure to fill the days, let’s take a closer look at two matchups I have my eye on for the first full day of action.

Buckle up.

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South Dakota State ML | +115 at DK Sportsbook

Currently the #1 team in the country in eFG% and 3PT%, the Jackrabbits can shoot the lights out on any given night and they tend to so more often than not. Winning the Summit conference in a decisive fashion, this team has not lost since December and has covered four of their last five to close out conference play.

On the other side of this matchup is one of the most overrated teams in the country, as the Friars limp into the round of 68 after being mightily exposed in the Big East Tournament, losing to Creighton 58-85. According to Ken Pom, the Friars are the #1 luckiest team in the country, a metric that looks at games decided by 10 points or less and games going their way.

Add in the fact that the Jack Rabbits are averaging 15 more points per game while shooting 8% better from the field, and I don’t see the Friars as having the offense power to keep up with the best shooting team in the country.

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Vermont +5 | -110 at DK Sportsbook

Another high-seeded team that I think could be in big trouble come Thursday is the Arkansas Razorbacks. Dominating the American East conference, Vermont just lost one game (Hartford in overtime, 74-75) since December 7th before making light work of their conference tournament. In their three tournament games, the Catamounts won by an average of 38.5 points per game.

As for the Razorbacks, points weren’t an issue this season ranking in the top 40 scoring an average of 77.3 points per game. The Catamounts, however, might have an answer for that as they allowed just 61.5 per game while shooting 48.6%$ from the field in their own right. Having covered six of their past eight, the Catamounts are well adjusted for but I think can stay within this number as one of the deepest lower-seeded teams in the tournament.

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