2018 March Madness R64 Expert Betting PicksJosh Bailey
Are you looking for 2018 NCAA Basketball Title picks or expert first round March Madness betting picks, then keep reading. I have picked a trio of first-round games where there is a clear-cut ATS winner. Happy hunting hoops fans!
2018 March Madness R64 Expert Betting Picks
No. 1 Kansas (27-7) vs. No. 16 Pennsylvania (24-8)
When: Thursday, March 15 at 2:00 PM ET
Where: Intrust Bank Arena – Wichita, KS
Spread: Kansas -14.5
Kansas has won three straight and eight of their last nine games and come into March Madness off a dominant 81-70 win over West Virginia in the Big 12 conference tournament championship game on Saturday. Penn has won three straight and seven of their last eight games including their Ivy League conference championship win over Harvard on Sunday. I’m from Philadelphia where Penn is located and as much as I’d like to see an upset in this contest, it’s not happening.
No. 1 seeds are unbeaten against their No. 16 seed counterparts, plus Kansas is just too athletic and too good for their Ivy League counterparts to keep up with in this matchup. Not only that, but the Quakers are just 1-4 ATS in their last 5 vs. Big 12 and 1-5 ATS in their last 6 NCAA Tournament games. Kansas is 12-5 ATS in their last 17 non-conference games and 4-1 ATS in their last five neutral site games. The Jayhawks win and cover the spread with room to spare!
2018 March Madness R64 Expert Pick: Kansas -14.5
No. 10 Butler (20-13) vs. No. 7 Arkansas (23-11)
When: Friday, March 16 at 3:10 PM ET
Where: Little Caesars Arena – Detroit, MI – Game
NCAAB Odds: Butler -1.5
No. 10 Butler might be the lower seed in their Round of 64 matchup against No. 7 Arkansas but they’re favored to beat the Razorbacks and I believe that’s just what they’re going to do. Butler has lost three of their last four games, so you’d think that Arkansas would be favored, but that’s clearly not the case. Arkansas has the slight edge in scoring while Butler is the slightly better defensive team. For me though, it’s the fact that the Razorbacks don’t really have a signature win over an elite opponent (plus their completely embarrassing 91-65 loss to Houston in December). Butler can lay claim to beating arguably the best team in the country (Villanova, 101-93) and they’ve had a bunch of big-time battles in the Big East this season.
Butler has compiled some insane trends in going 20-5-2 ATS in their last 27 NCAA Tournament games and a blistering 40-16-2 ATS in their last 58 neutral site games. Arkansas has gone 2-5-1 ATS in their last 8 games following a straight-up loss and just 3-8 ATS in their last 11 vs. Big East teams. Forget their seeds, Butler wins outright as the lower seed.
2018 March Madness R64 Expert Pick: Butler -1.5
No. 11 San Diego State (22-10) vs. No. 6 Houston (26-7)
When: Thursday, March 15 at 7:20 PM ET
Where: Intrust Bank Arena – Wichita, KS
Spread: Houston -4
San Diego State has won nine straight and took out New Mexico 82-75 in their Mountain West Conference Tournament championship win on Saturday. While the school that produced the San Antonio Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard, is playing well and has covered the chalk in five straight and eight of their last nine, they’re going to have their hands completely full against Houston. The Cougars may have fallen to Cincinnati 56-55 in the AAC conference championship game on Saturday, but the won five straight prior to that and eight of nine overall, including an impressive 77-74 win over Wichita State in the conference tournament semis.
Houston is the statistically better team defensively and one of my picks to pull off a couple of tourney-shaking upsets. While San Diego State has gone 6-2 ATS in their last eight non-conference games, Houston is 4-0 ATS in their last four games following an SU loss and an even more impressive 5-0 ATS in their last five neutral site games. The Cougars will win and narrowly cover the chalk in this one!