NCAA Tourney 1st Round Gambling Picks + Full Bracket

Ranking Regions Hardest to Easiest 

  1. Midwest: Top heavy with two heavyweight cheaters in UNC and UK (Wildcats also have ties to the illuminati). Both teams have had perhaps the highest level of overall tournament success in recent years along with Villanova. Features Iowa State and Kansas (2 of the top 3 Big12 teams). I wouldn’t sleep on Houston. Auburn is as hot as anyone and New Mexico State is my favorite 12 seed in the tournament.
  2. West: Probably the deepest region in terms of top to bottom. I love the Zags. They’re the NCAA’s version of the San Antonio Spurs with their propensity to enlist high level international players. Texas Tech has the best defense in the nation. Michigan isn’t the team they were last year but they have some pieces. FSU looks like an NBA team from a size perspective. Buffalo and Nevada is about as good as it gets outside the power conferences. Syracuse is a classic overachiever this time of year.
  3. East: Duke has the best player in the tournament but I’m not sold on them. We’ve seen young talented teams go down in the past. John Wall / DeMarcus Cousins UK season comes to mind. They struggle to consistently hit the three ball and their free throw numbers aren’t very good. You have to think with Michigan State’s recent tourney woes, Izzo is due for a good run. I’ll tell you right now I think LSU is being undervalued and overlooked, coaching turmoil be damned, they have a squad.
  4. South: If Virginia or Tennessee don’t make it to the Elite Eight, both fanbases have every right to be royally pissed off. The thing is teed up for both of them to rip through this region. When they meet, that will be a whale of a game. Purdue is a bit of a wildcard, if Carsen Edwards gets hot they could make some noise. Villanova is a mere shadow of what they were the past few seasons. Jay Wright is a hell of a coach, and shouldn’t be underestimated, but his team is very young and perhaps even overachieving to be a 6-seed. Oregon comes in hot, but I’m selling them. The Pac12 has been hot garbage.

First Round Moneyline Parlay

A friend asked me, if my life was literally on the line and I had to make an 8-team minimum money line parlay (if the parlay doesn’t hit I’m struck dead Ananias and Sapphira style), what teams am I going with?

The caveat? The parlay has to pay back at least what you wagered. Here’s what I came up with:

  • FSU (-560)
  • UVA (-5000)
  • Zags (-23000)
  • UNC (-10300)
  • Vols (-2200)
  • UK (-2000)
  • LSU (-310)
  • Houston (-710)

Payout: $100 to win $101.92

Thursday Picks

God bless you degenerates but I’m not playing every game. I also generally stay away from the 1 and 2 seed matchups in round one. I narrowed my focus down to 10 plays both days.

LSU -7.5 vs Yale: According to the data I looked at, LSU is the 3-seed least picked to advance in the ESPN Tournament Challenge at a little over 84%. That’s lower than 3 of the 4 seeds. As far as the spread is concerned, Yale is getting most of the action. Are y’all out of your damn mind? Have y’all seen this team? Turns out when you pay for players you end up with a ton of talented kids. Having to play without the ‘human C ‘ (Will Wade has a very strange body type) is going to fuel them. They should come out to play pissed off. The interim has plenty of head coaching experience which helps. Its one thing for Yale to hang 97 on an Ivy League school, but this is the SEC regular season champion. By the way, Yale gave up 85 in that Harvard game.

FSU -9 vs Vermont: The line is coming down and I have no choice but to try and capitalize on this value. I honestly really like this Vermont team. I wish they had a more favorable matchup. Despite this game being played in the northeast, the size discrepancy is too much for me to ignore. FSU is big af and Vermont only has one player over 6’6. Vermont does have some quality three-point shooters that could keep them in this, so I am a little concerned about a backdoor cover.

Auburn vs New Mexico State +5.5: There’s a lot of red flags for Auburn. Everyone just saw them rip through the SEC tournament so they’ll no doubt get a lot of love in brackets. They shot out of their minds in Bridgestone and there’s no way that level of shooting is sustainable. I felt like this game could be jinxed when I head them say on national TV that NMST has never won a tournament game and Auburn has never lost in the first round. Auburn is in a tough position having to go play this in Salt Lake. NMST hasn’t lost a game since January 3rd, and they have interior scorers. If they play their game instead of getting caught up in trying to run with Auburn, they’re a very live dog.

Kansas -6.5 vs Northeastern: As down as Kansas has been this year, by their standards, they’re still a solid team. Even without some key pieces, it wouldn’t surprise me if they stringed together some wins. Dedric Lawson is one smooth cat and he’ll have to play out of his mind for them to make a real run.

Marquette -4 vs Murray State: Every article mining for a first round upset seemed to list Murray State right at the top. You know what that means? Text book fade situation. Perhaps its merited considering they lost close games on the road to Alabama and Auburn. They also beat a damn good Belmont team in their conference (the great and powerful OVC). But Marquette is a hell of a shooting team if they can get it going and I had no choice but to place Murray State on auto-fade.

Nevada -1.5 vs Florida: This is a great first round matchup. The Gators have a good foundation and should be a force after they get their next hall of recruits on campus. But after watching them play this season, its apparent they’re more than flawed. Nevada went on a solid run last year and looked like they belonged. There was nothing flukey about it. This year they have the most experienced team in the whole tournament (6 seniors, 1 junior in the rotation).

Nova -4.5 vs Saint Mary’s: The thing that makes St Mary’s thrashing of the Zags in the WCC conference championship all the more perplexing is that this team isn’t that good. They were hanging onto the bubble before they earned the automatic bid. They won that championship by slowing the game down, but I don’t foresee them having a repeat performance here. Nova should out class them and the defending champs aren’t about to go out quietly in round one.

Wofford -2.5 vs Seton Hall: Wofford is not your run in the mill Southern Conference team (they ball in that league by the way). They went 18-0 in conference play and blew through that tournament. My UK buddies reading this better be on the lookout in round two. Fletcher McGee is 41 percent from 3 point land and 93 percent from the free throw line. The crazy thing is he’s not the only player with a Step Curry level green light. Two other players on the team shoot an even better three ball percentage.

Purdue vs Old Dominion +12.5: ODU plays very solid defense and when you do that I like your chances of covering a bigger number. Especially in the first round where players have that extra adrenaline.

Syracuse -2 vs Baylor: Why even fight it? After you see a team overachieve in the tournament year after year, at what point do you just assume they’re going to make noise? Is it solely that tricky zone defense or is Boeheim involved in some nefarious dealings with the underworld? He literally killed a guy during this basketball season. Was it a blood sacrifice? Frankly, this is my biggest concern in picking the Zags to win it all considering this Cuse matchup is looming in round two.

Friday Picks

Cincy vs Iowa +3.5: Talk about a team that seems to perpetually let their fanbase down in late March. Cincinnati typically underachieves in the Big Dance. How funny would it be for them to fall on their face in round one in their own backyard of Columbus? Sure, Iowa lost their last four regular season games. But this line is short for a reason. They managed to beat Iowa State and Michigan earlier in the year and they have a veteran presence.

Ole Miss -1.5 vs Baylor: Don’t sleep on the SEC. The level of basketball in the the league has risen a couple notches and a big reason for that is the coaches. Ole Miss has a solid one at the helm. He’s the guy that had Middle Tennessee State beating big boys in the tourney the last few years before he took this job. You may laugh at this, but UVA could be on upset alert in round two. Ole Miss is the type of team that can really heat up offensively.

Kansas State -4.5 vs UC Irvine: UC Irvine is another one of those trendy underdog plays. And rightfully so. The Anteaters can ball a little bit. But even if Wade misses the tournament again, Kansas State is a proud group. They managed to make an Elite Eight run last year and this team made noise in the Big12. By the way, did anyone else find it weird that multiple fans were shown crying their eyes out during the conference semifinal against Iowa State? Good lord Kansas State people, save the tears for the real tournament.

Virginia vs G. Webb +22.5: Yes I’m going here. Especially since I’ve heard the predictable narrative of UVA dick slapping whatever 16 seed they play in lieu of last year’s utter debacle. Truth be told, Virginia’s style makes it hard to totally dick slap people in general. They certainly could do it here, but G. Webb happens to be by far the best 16 seed of the 4.

Wisconsin -2 vs Oregon: In case you haven’t noticed, I lean heavily on contrarian plays. They suck me in like a siren song that I can’t help but gravitate towards. Another principle of becoming sharper is learning to fight off recency bias. Especially in the NCAA tourney. How often do teams come out of nowhere while the hot team that just won their conference tourney has an early exit? Oregon went on a tear but they entered the Pac12 tournament as a 6th seed. That league was terrible. And they were the 6th seed. Eventually water finds its level (can I get a hell yeah from the Flat Earthers?). Wisconsin is 3rd in the nation in defensive efficiency and has a go-to play maker in Ethan Happ.

Houston -11.5 vs GA State: This isn’t GA State’s first rodeo and they’ve pulled off the big upset in this spot before. But this Houston team is legit. I put Houston in the my-life-on-the-line-ML-parlay, so to say I like this play is an understatement. But hey, if the parlay doesn’t hit, the Apostle Paul did tell me ‘to die is gain’.

Miss State vs Liberty +6.5: Oh Liberty. How I admire your spirit. Evangelical values can be swept aside when it comes to winning ball games, am I right Hugh Freeze?? Everyone makes mistakes, and redemption is a beautiful thing. I like this Mississippi State team, this is actually more of a confidence play for Liberty. That squad balled out on a good Lipscomb team and clinched the automatic bid in Lipscomb’s own gym.

VCU +1 vs UCF: Tournament experience vs a popular dog? Yes please. VCU has been here before and they’re use to this kind of spotlight.

Iowa State -5.5 vs Ohio State: Recent history tells us to be weary of 11-seeds, but this Ohio State squad just isn’t very good. There should be a rule that if you’re under .500 in conference play, and unless you miraculously win the conference tournament, you’re barred from the NCAA Tourney. Not only was Ohio State below .500, they were 8-12… Iowa State is flakey but they have the pieces to be a legitimate threat to anyone they play.

Virginia Tech -10.5 vs St Louis: Virginia Tech was on a whole other level when they had Justin Robinson earlier in the season. They get him back, and albeit even if he’s not 100 percent, he should still be a big boast to this team. St Louis struggles to make their free throws which makes me confident they won’t be able to hang with the Hookies in this one.

Full Bracket

Last year I hit 3 out of the 4 Final Four teams. Dammit Tennessee. That thing was wide open for the Vols. Good thing Sister Jean and her mythical powers are nowhere near this one.

East Region 

Round 1:

  • Duke over NC Central/NDSU
  • VCU over UCF
  • Liberty over Miss St
  • Virginia Tech over St Louis
  • Belmont over Maryland
  • LSU over Yale
  • Louisville over Minnesota
  • Michigan St over Bradley

Round 2:

  • Duke over VCU
  • Virginia Tech over Liberty
  • LSU over Belmont
  • Michigan St over Louisville

Sweet 16:

  • Duke over Virginia Tech
  • LSU over Michigan State

Elite 8:

  • LSU over Duke

West Region

Round 1:

  • Zags over FDU
  • Cuse over Baylor
  • Marquette over Murray State
  • FSU over Vermont
  • Buffalo over ASU/St John’s
  • Texas Tech over N. Kentucky
  • Nevada over Florida
  • Michigan over Montana

Round 2:

  • Zags over Cuse
  • Marquette over FSU
  • Buffalo over Texas Tech
  • Nevada over Michigan

Sweet 16:

  • Zags over Marquette
  • Buffalo over Nevada

Elite 8:

  • Zags over Buffalo

South Region 

Round 1:

  • UVA over G. Webb
  • Ole Miss over Oklahoma
  • Wisconsin over Oregon
  • Kansas State over UC Irvine
  • Nova over St Mary’s
  • Purdue over ODU
  • Iowa over Cincy
  • Tennessee over Colgate

Round 2:

  • UVA over Ole Miss
  • Wisconsin over Kansas State
  • Purdue over Nova
  • Tennessee over Iowa

Sweet 16:

  • UVA over Wisconsin
  • Tennessee over Purdue

Elite 8:

  • Tennessee over UVA

Midwest Region 

Round 1:

  • UNC over Iona
  • Washington over Utah State
  • NMST over Auburn
  • Kansas over Northeastern
  • Iowa St over Ohio St
  • Houston over GA State
  • Wofford over Seton Hall
  • Kentucky over Abilene Christian

Round 2:

  • UNC over Washington
  • NMST over Kansas
  • Houston over Iowa St
  • Kentucky over Wofford

Sweet 16:

  • UNC over NMST
  • Kentucky over Houston

Elite 8:

  • UNC over Kentucky

Final Four 

  • Zags over LSU
  • Tennessee over UNC

National Champion: Gonzaga 

Didn’t wanna jinx it. Please Vols. Please.

Twitter Picks

I’ll be tweeting out my picks round by round after Friday so be sure to give me a follow @AdamRobertson13

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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