Statistically, the NCAA Tournament’s round of 64 has the most underdogs covering the spread than in any other point in the sport, but the more I scan through the East Region Bracket betting matchups, the more my picks lean towards the favorites. See for yourself.
Thursday’s East Region Bracket Betting Picks for the 2014 NCAA Tournament
#12 Harvard Crimson +3.0 over #5 Cincinnati Bearcats (2:10pm EST)
The Harvard Crimson are absolutely worth backing in the 2014 NCAA Tournament, especially in a second round matchup against the overstated Cincinnati Bearcats who have gone a dismal 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games. Opponents have a relatively easy time keeping games close with Cincinnati, and this Harvard team is a potent scoring offence worth putting your faith in. The 5-vs-12 matchup always gets picked on in terms of upsets, and the one in the East Region Bracket is worth fronting the dog in my betting picks.
#13 Delaware Blue Hens +14.0 over #4 MSU Spartans (4:40pm EST)
I’m only taking Delaware in this East Region Bracket betting pick because underdogs cover prevail in unexpected matchups. Michigan State rolled through the Big Ten Tournament with a vengeance, trouncing Michigan, Wisconsin and Northwestern by +12.7 points. That’s a lot – obviously – but even that won’t be enough to cover a number I expect to balloon by Thursday.
#7 UConn Huskies -4.5 over #10 St. Joseph’s Hawks (6:55pm EST)
This is another tough East Region bracket betting pick to decipher. The running and gunning Hawks excel at generating second half points by being fierce overachievers on the boards, but I just don’t know if they have the overall talent to compete with UConn. The Huskies proved that they can outpace anyone, they literally just can’t play against teams that have daunting size which is why I’m airing on the side of caution and standing by Shabazz Napier one more time. As long as they avoid Louisville (and Florida and Kentucky) they have a shot at winning any game.
#2 Villanova Wildcats -16.5 over #15 Milwaukee Panthers (9:25pm EST)
Both teams have been stalwarts in the book, and the underappreciated Panthers went a very strong 20-12 ATS during the season while finishing the pre-NCAA Tournament phase of the season with a stiff 5-0 SU and ATS run. I’m not sure if any of that matters against the hungry Villanova Wildcats who have tons to atone for after an early exit in their conference tourney. I think the Wildcats do what the oddsmakers are expecting by winning an absolute blowout, but this number makes me worried. It doesn’t scare me enough to like the Panthers though. Maybe that says it all.
Friday’s East Region Bracket Betting Picks for the 2014 NCAA Tournament
#8 Memphis Tigers -3.0 over #9 Georgetown Hoyas (6:55pm EST)
This has been an abysmal season for Georgetown. There’s simply no other way to write it. I’m actually sort of shocked they even made the NCAA Tournament in 2014, let alone as a ninth seed. So obviously, there’s no way I can side with them in my East Region Bracket betting picks especially as they face an explosive Memphis team. The Tigers were buried by VCU in their last conference game and neither team is fully trustworthy to be honest, but the Tigers have a slight edge in terms of respect with a manageable betting line here in the East Region Bracket.
#6 Providence Friars +4.0 over #11 UNC Tar Heels (7:20pm EST)
I think Providence proved what they’re worth by winning the Big East, even the watered down version of the conference. They withstood a second half onslaught by Creighton which is built eerily similar to these Tar Heels. And quite frankly, I trust UNC about as far as I can throw them which isn’t very far (despite the fact I’m crazy strong). UNC’s 0-5 ATS run over their last five games, which includes two back-to-back losses straight up against Duke and Pittsburgh, pails in comparison to Providence’s gorgeous 7-3 ATS run over their last 10 games. The Friars are upset specialists I can get behind in my East Region Bracket betting picks.
#1 Virginia Cavaliers -21.0 over #16 Coastal Carolina Chanticleers (9:25pm EST)
The only thing interesting about this line is that I got to research what a “chanticleer” was. I thought it was a bird. It actually just translates in to “sing clear” and has been the university mascot of both Coastal Carolina and Rutgers before Rutgers smartened up and turned in to the much cooler (and actual) Scarlett Knights. It’s also the name of an all-male ensemble of choir singers. So hopefully those guys will be available to sing at the funeral of Coastal Carolina when they get buried by Virginia as massive dogs. This is one of those 2014 NCAA Tournament lines where the oddsmakers are begging you to underestimate Virginia and right now, I don’t.
#3 Iowa State Cyclones -9.0 over #14 NCCU Eagles (9:50pm EST)
The only player of interest for North Carolina Central is Jeremy Ingram, a do-it-all dynamo who is capable of really making a name for himself in this game. Unfortunately history doesn’t remember losers that often, and Iowa State is too busy etching their name in the annals of college basketball lore to care about Ingram or the lowly Eagles. I am not certain of what Iowa State’s capable of in the 2014 NCAA Tournament overall, but going 3-0 SU and ATS in decisive fashion during the Big 12 Tournament caught my attention and they’re virtually a no-brainer against a reasonable line in East Region Bracket betting picks.