March Madness is here! And I have a triple play of underdog first round March Madness betting picks. Happy hunting!
2018 March Madness 1st Round Underdog Betting Picks
#13 UNC-Greensboro vs #4 Gonzaga – West Region
When: Thursday, March 15 at 1:30 pm ET
Where: Taco Bell Arena, Boise, ID
Odds: UNC-Greensboro +13
Analysis: Gonzaga’s not a bad team, but they will be the first favorite to be upset in my March Madness underdog picks. I just don’t believe the Zags are as close to the team that almost won the National Championship in 2017. Gonzaga allows 35.5% shooting from behind the three-point line. Opponents average over 67 points per game.
The thing is, the Zags play teams that are far worse than UNC-Greensboro in the West Coast Conference. That’s a bad sign for the Zags. UNC-Greensboro’s got a lock down D. Opponents only score 62.4 points per.
On offense, the Spartans shoot close to 36% from three. They average 45% shooting from the field. That is why UNC-Greensboro is my first March Madness Round 1 underdog betting pick!
2018 March Madness 1st Round Underdog Betting Pick: UNC-Greensboro
#12 Murray State vs #5 West Virginia – East Region
When: Friday, March 16 at 4:00 pm ET
Where: Viejas Center, San Diego, CA
Odds: Murray State +9.5
Analysis: Can 12th-ranked Murray State upset West Virginia after the Mountaineers let the Big 12 title slip away? The Mountaineers almost beat rival Kansas in a 70 to 81 loss. The score doesn’t do justice to how well West Virginia played. West Virginia’s biggest issue is that they have trouble stopping teams from draining 3-pointers against them.
The Mountaineers allow 37.4% from three on average. That’s way too high. Why? Coach Bob Huggins employs a 40-minutes of hell defense. WVU presses throughout an entire game. That leaves 3-point shooters open.
Can Murray State take advantage on Friday? The problem with facing a team like Murray State is that they love to run and gun. The Racers average close to 79 points per game. They shoot 48% from the field. They shoot 38% from three.
West Virginia could be in some trouble if Murray State easily breaks the press. I expect underdog Murray State to pull off the upset looks more than possible.
2018 March Madness 1st Round Underdog Betting Pick: Murray State
#14 Charleston vs #4 Auburn – Midwest Region
When: Friday, March 16 at 7:27 pm ET
Where: Viejas Arena, San Diego, CA
Odds: Charleston +10
Analysis: No team goes into the NCAA Men’s College Basketball Tournament colder than the Auburn Tigers. Auburn has gone 2 and 4 straight up in their last 6 games. In their last game, the Tigers lost 63 to 81 to rival Alabama.
It’s always important for Auburn to beat Alabama. They could be playing four-square and Auburn would try to beat Alabama. It’s the biggest school sports rivalry on the planet.
That’s why I believe Auburn loses to Charleston on March 16. Charleston isn’t a bad basketball team. The Cougars went 26 and 7 this season. They rarely lose. They also like to run and gun. What happens when Auburn faces a team that loves to play their style?