NCAA Tournament Best Bets for Round 1: Friday, March 18 (2022 March Madness)

Mar 18, 2022 - 11:19 AM

After a year missed due to the pandemic and 2021 that still felt off with empty stadiums and less fanfare than years past, the NCAA Tournament is officially back this season. With games running from Tuesday night through April 2nd, there will be no shortage of action to get down on for betters.

Let’s take a closer look at a few games I have my eye on for this Friday’s action in the round of 64.

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#10 Loyola Chicago -1 | -110 at DK Sportsbook

Few teams are limping into the tournament as gingerly as the Buckeyes, having gone from a ranked team in February to losing four of their last five. One and done in the Big Ten Conference Tournament losing in the first round to Penn State as six point favorites, the Buckeyes need to pull it together and quick as they draw a red hot Loyola-Chicago team.

Coming into Friday, the Sister Jeans Ramblers ran through Missouri Valley Conference Tournament, covering all three games and winning by an average of 15 points per game. The #9 3PT% and #5 eFG% in this field, the Ramblers have all the offensive tools to make another deep run in this tournament. This could spell trouble for a Buckeyes team ranking in the bottom half of Division I and #55 in this field of 68, allowing 68.4 points per game.

I’ll take the Ramblers to win this one outright and set themselves up for a battle with Villanova over the weekend.

#10 Davidson ML | -105 at DK Sportsbook

My numbers have Davidson as a two point favorite in this one, so I’ll gladly take the shallow money line here. In the current field of 68, Davidson ranks eighth in eFG% and sixth in 3PT%, with shooters all over the court that can make you pay for not closing out effectively. Allowing 80 points or more in three of their final four games down the stretch, the Spartans will need to match the Wildcats’ efficiency from the field if they want to compete in this game.

I expect that to be an issue for the Spartans, who will be with an at-best 60% Tyson Walker, a guard who averaged 18.5 points per game last season when healthy. In a season, they were likely helped more by name recognition in their seeding than merit, I expect an early exit for the Spartans at the hands of the A10 runner-up Wildcats.

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