NCAA Tournament Midwest Region Betting Primer (2022 March Madness)

Mar 16, 2022 - 1:12 AM

Out of all the regions, the Midwest Region could be the one where we see the most chaos. Think about it, we’ve got an Auburn team that struggles on the road, two teams that have been flat out lucky this season in Wisconsin and Providence, and we’ve also got an Iowa team that has average defense along with an LSU team that doesn’t have its head coach anymore.

The Midwest is going to be crazy this year. Which team will come out of the region and make the Final Four?

Here’s a detailed look at how the Midwest Region breaks down (odds courtesy BettingPros consensus):

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(1) Kansas Jayhawks

Odds to make Final Four: +200

Strengths: The Kansas Jayhawks are one of the best offenses in the nation and can shoot from inside or outside at a really solid rate. Kansas is also holding teams to a 46.9% effective field goal percentage on the defensive end.

Weaknesses: Kansas will allow some offensive rebounds, giving up 28.7% of offensive rebounds this season.

X-Factor: Ochai Agbaji. Kansas has many X-factor tye players but Agbaji is the best. He’s taking most of the shots, shooting at a high percentage, and is making his foul shots at 77.3%.

Prediction: Final Four

(2) Auburn Tigers

Odds to make Final Four: +260

Strengths: Auburn’s defensive inside the arc is elite. Teams are shooting just 42.6% against Auburn this season inside the arc and have an effective field goal percentage of just 44.1%. Auburn’s defense can be elite at times.

Weaknesses: The Tigers are shooting 32.1% from deep this season and also struggling a little bit on the defensive end. Auburn has also had trouble away from home in the second half of the season.

X-Factor: The road. Auburn lost to Arkansas, Florida, Tennessee, and Texas A&M on the road or in a neutral game. The only game Auburn won on the road during that period was an overtime game against Mississippi State. They’re having trouble winning on the road.

Prediction: Round of 32

(3) Wisconsin Badgers

Odds to make Final Four: +1100

Strengths: Wisconsin is only turning the ball over 12.7% of the time, which is second-best in the nation. The fewer turnovers the more shot attempts and the more shot attempts means the more scoring opportunities.

Weaknesses: Wisconsin is only shooting an effective field goal percentage of 48.2% and doesn’t have much scoring depth outside of Johnny Davis.

X-Factor: Johnny Davis. Of course, it’s Davis. Who else? Davis is one of the best scorers in the country and without him, Wisconsin wouldn’t even be in the tournament. He’s carried this team countless times and gets to the foul line with ease.

Prediction: Round of 32

(4) Providence Friars

Odds to win Final Four: +3500

Strengths: Providence lives at the line and is one of the top teams in the Tournament at getting to the foul line. On top of that, Providence is hitting 72.6% of foul shots this season.

Weaknesses: The Providence Friars are only earning 15.8% of turnovers this season and continue to be one of the more lucky teams in the nation. Is it luck or is it that Providence can close out tight games?

X-Factor: Luck. Will luck run out? Providence had been winning so many tight and close games but ultimately just lost to Creighton in the Big East Semifinals by 30. Is Providence as good as its record? I don’t think so.

Prediction: First Round

(5) Iowa Hawkeyes

Odds to make Final Four: +390

Strengths: The Iowa Hawkeyes are one of the best offenses in the nation and are coming off a Big 10 Championship. The Hawkeyes limited turnovers very well and shoot at a very high percentage. That kind of shooting will keep them in any game.

Weaknesses: The defense is pretty average as Iowa is allowing 30.2% offensive rebounds on the defensive end. Teams are also shooting 50% from inside the arc against Iowa.

X-Factor: Keegan Murray. Murray is one of the best players in America. He’s got an effective field goal percentage of 61.6% while dominating the offensive and defensive glass this season. Murray can also get to the line and is shooting ridiculously from three, hitting 40.5% of shots.

Prediction: Sweet 16

(6) LSU Tigers

Odds to make Final Four: +1300

Strengths: The LSU Tigers are forcing 25.3% of turnovers per game this season and holding opponents to 28% from the three-point range. This defense is terrific but the fouling can get really high due to the aggressiveness so you get the best of both worlds.

Weaknesses: Former Head Coach Will Wade has been fired. How will LSU respond to that?

X-Factor: Darius Days. The LSU Tigers are a young team and need to rely on a veteran like Darius Days to keep everything together. How he plays will dictate how this entire team plays.

Prediction: Sweet 16

(7) USC Trojans

Odds to make Final Four: +2700

Strengths: The USC Trojans are holding teams to a 44.7% effective field goal percentage on the defensive end with teams shooting just 41.6% from inside the arc this season.

Weaknesses: USC can’t close out games with a 66.6% foul shot percentage. The Trojans also force just 14.7% turnovers on the defensive end.

X-Factor: Isaiah Mobley. Isaiah isn’t his brother Evan, but he’s really good. Mobley gets to the line at a rapid pace, blocks plenty of shots, and dominates the glass on both ends of the floor. His presence needs to be felt for USC to make a run at this thing.

Prediction: Elite Eight

(8) San Diego State Aztecs

Odds to make Final Four: +2300

Strengths: The Aztecs are brilliant on the defensive end, holding teams to a 44% effective field goal percentage while also earning 21.7% of turnovers per game. On the offensive end, San Diego State isn’t going to dominate but from three, SDSU is knocking down close to 36% of attempts.

Weaknesses: San Diego State is shooting just 46.6% from inside the arc and is turning the ball over 19.3% of the time this season.

X-Factor: Matt Bradley. Matt Bradley is almost the entire offense. Bradley is shooting 41.6% from deep and 79% from the foul line. He’s a great passer and again, takes a lot of shots for this team. If he’s on his A-game, SDSU will get through the first round.

Prediction: First Round

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(9) Creighton Bluejays

Odds to make Final Four: +3200

Strengths: The Bluejays are limiting teams from getting to the foul line and have also held opponents to 31.7% from three and 43.5% from inside the arc. The defense does the talking for Creighton.

Weaknesses: Creighton is turning the ball over 20.5% of the time and also rarely gets to the foul line. Sometimes Creighton won’t get many shot attempts up per game which will sting them.

X-Factor: Ryan Kalkbrenner. Every team needs a giant center who can do it all. Kalkbrenner is that guy. He will only dunk, layup, get to the line, rebound, and block shots. He’s perfect for this Creighton team and such a tough matchup for everyone else.

Prediction: Round of 32

(10) Miami Hurricanes

Odds to make Final Four: +3000

Strengths: The Hurricanes have a bunch of shooters and rarely turn the ball over. Miami is shooting 35.3% from deep and 54.9% from inside the arc while only turning the ball over 14.2% of the time, which is the eighth-best in the nation.

Weaknesses: Miami is allowing teams to shoot 35.3% from three and 53.9% from inside the arc. The Hurricanes also aren’t great on the defensive glass, giving up 30.3% of offensive rebounds.

X-Factor: Kameron McGusty. McGusty is almost the entire offense for Miami. He’s taking over a quarter of Miami’s shots this season and still has an effective field goal percentage of 54.7%. That’s extremely impressive while shooting 37.3% from deep.

Prediction: First Round

(11) Iowa State Cyclones

Odds to make Final Four: +6500

Strengths: Iowa State is earning 24.6% turnovers this season while limiting opponents to 29.6% from three this season.

Weaknesses: The offense has been a problem. Iowa State is only hitting 32.1% from three and 5.9% from inside the arc. Add on the lack of foul shot attempts and 20.4% turnovers and Iowa State’s offense is just really average.

X-Factor: Izaiah Brockington. Brockington is playing a ton of minutes for Iowa State and still keeps his turnovers down while rebounding well on the defensive end. Brockington is also shooting 37.6% from downtown and is a threat from anywhere on the court offensively.

Prediction: First Round

(12) Richmond Spiders

Odds to make Final Four: +6000

Strengths: This team is full of super seniors. Having veterans proves to always help out during tournament time. Richmond just won four straight games in four days to win the A-10 and clinch a berth into the NCAA Tournament.

Weaknesses: Off misses, Richmond rarely earns offensive rebounds with just 22.4% of offensive rebounds this season.

X-Factor: The Seniors. Again, this is a team full of seniors that underperformed during the season and finally played up to expectations in the A-10 Tournament. This team is capable of a lot but consistency remains to be the one problem for this team.

Prediction: First Round

(13) South Dakota State Jackrabbits

Odds to make Final Four: +12000

Strengths: South Dakota State is shooting an effective field goal percentage of 59.7% while draining 44.2% of threes and 56.3% from inside the arc. There’s no team shooting it like South Dakota State right now.

Weaknesses: The Jackrabbits are the best defensively, giving up 35.2% from deep and 50.6% from inside the arc, while also only forcing 15.8% turnovers this season. If shooting shots fails, the defense won’t keep them in games.

X-Factor: Depth. The Jackrabbits have a lot of guys that can contribute. South Dakota State uses 30.4% of minutes with its bench. If South Dakota State is comfortable going deep in the Tournament, it’ll keep everyone fresh and give them a chance to make some real noise in the tournament.

Prediction: Round of 32

(14) Colgate Raiders

Odds to make Final Four: +25000

Strengths: Colgate is shooting 40.1% from deep this season and has a 55.9% effective field goal percentage. The Raiders also turn the ball over just 16.9% of the time and hit 52.7% of shots from inside the arc.

Weaknesses: The Raiders are only forcing 16.2% of turnovers on the defensive end and struggle to gain second chances with just 26.6% offensive rebounds this season.

X-Factor: Nelly Cummings. Cummings is shooting 81.5% from the foul line and is getting the bulk of possessions and shots for Colgate. If his shots are falling early, Colgate will have plenty of success on the offensive end.

Prediction: First Round

(15) Jacksonville State Gamecocks

Odds to make Final Four: +25000

Strengths: Jacksonville State is shooting 38.2% from deep this season and also limiting opponents from getting to the foul line at one of the best rates in college basketball.

Weaknesses:  Jacksonville State is turning the ball over 20% of the time and only forcing 17.1% of turnovers. That turnover ratio is going to destroy its dreams of making noise in March.

X-Factor: Darian Adams. Adams plays the most minutes on this team and takes over a quarter of the shots. He’s also assisting at a high rate and earns a solid amount of steals this season.

Prediction: First Round

(16) Texas Southern or Texas A&M Corpus Christi

Odds to make Final Four: +25000

Strengths: Both of these two teams defended the three-point line very well. Texas Southern is holding teams to a 29.6% effective field goal percentage while Texas A&M Corpus Christi is earning 22.7% turnovers.

Weaknesses: Texas A&M Corpus Christi is shooting 31.6% from deep and 47.3% from inside the arc. Meanwhile, Texas Southern is knocking down just 31.6% from three and 49.2% from inside the arc.

X-Factor: PJ Henry. Henry just won the SWAC MVP of the Tournament and is starting to feel it from the field.

Prediction: First Round

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Jason Radowitz is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Mike, check out his archive and follow him @Jason_Radowitz.

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The post NCAA Tournament Midwest Region Betting Primer (2022 March Madness) appeared first on BettingPros.

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