2023 March Madness Round 1 Best Bet Picks & Predictions (Friday)

Mar 17, 2023 - 10:25 AM

Yesterday was certainly one of the more exciting first days in tournament history. Most people’s brackets have already been disintegrated, as we’ve seen a No. 2 and 4 seed suffer an upset.

We have another full day and more possibilities for memorable moments. Let’s look at some of the best bets for Friday.

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2023 NCAA Tournament Guide (March Madness)

Friday’s Best Round 1 Bets

All odds courtesy of FanDuel

Creighton vs. NC State Over 148.5 Total Points (-110)

Creighton is one of those teams that shoots and defends well while being smart with the ball. What the Blue Jays are going to do is shoot threes. They come into this game averaging about 25 shots from behind the arc. When they’re on, it’s tough to keep up, and Creighton is 9-1 when scoring 11 or more triples.

NC State does have the offensive talent to stay competitive. They only average one less three than their opponent and are 36th in Adjusted Offense, according to KenPom. They are a finesse offense that likes to move the ball and find open shots.

Both teams know they will have to play fast and volume-shoot their way to a win. I expect a lot of possessions on each side, resulting in the total going over.

USC Under 31.5 First-Half Points (-106)

MSU plays very slowly and is 304th in Adjusted Tempo, according to KenPom. They also know how to control the pace for both sides and slow down their opponent.

This will be one of those games where each team will want to gain leverage inside and use their physicality. The Spartans are quick starters and have a much better first half. They rank in the top 40 in first-half points allowed, but that drops to 150th in the second. That plays well for USC, scoring nearly seven points better in the second half. Take the Trojans to get off to a slow start.

UC Santa Barbara Over 65.5 points (-108)

UC Santa Barbra is coming into this game-winning seven straight, which includes the Big West Championship.

The Gauchos are an explosive offense that will look for the opportunity to drive the lanes. This will play to their advantage as Baylor is  233rd in Opponent Effective Field Goal Percentage and 314th  in Opponent Two Point Field Percentage.

I love for this game to be over 141.5 and for both teams to score into the 70s. So rather than taking the game total, there is a slightly better value in grabbing UCSB’s team total.

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