March Madness Upset Predictions for 2023 NCAA Tournament - First Round
What makes March Madness so fun is the constant variable of uncertainty. This is the time of the year where anything can happen, and we’ve seen it time and time again. We had the first ever #1 seed break in the first round back in 2022 as UMBC took down Virginia as +2200 underdogs. What about Saint Peter’s last season pulling off the six-point victory over Kentucky as +1200 dogs? The biggest one was back in 2012 when Norfolk State won a nail biter over Missouri as +2,500 dogs. While those huge upsets are few and far between, the mid-tier upsets are more common, and we are often able to spot some valuable situations to take a shot at. Let’s see if we can uncover a few opportunities to profit on a few moneyline upsets for the First Round that aren’t too far-fetched?
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743) Vermont +450 (vs. Marquette) [Friday, March 17 at 2:45 p.m. ET]
Let’s start out with the most unlikely of the bunch. Marquette are undoubtedly the better tea but have overperformed all season against market expectations with an ATS record of 22-12. However, we can see that teams entering the first round with at least a 64% win rate ATS have struggled in terms of spread performance, including some decent outright losses as favorites. The Golden Eagles come into this game fresh off a beatdown of Xavier, which we believe is giving them too much respect in the market. The Catamounts have quietly covered in three straight games. And while their strength of schedule is weak; they do have a solid frontcourt that can be backed up by a serviceable defense. The current betting line of +450 indicates an 18.2% win probability. We believe the number should be closer to +355, which would equate to a 22% win probability. That’s a decent size edge. However, due to the low probability, we would not recommend going too crazy. It’s worth a shot for some entertainment money.
Pick: Vermont +450
793) N.C. State +190 (vs. Creighton) [Friday, March 17 at 4:00 p.m. ET]
Now for something a little more believable. This is a spot we really like NC State. Creighton has shown cracks when playing away from home all season long, and they just got smoked by 22 against Xavier as 3.5-point favorites. Who knows how that will affect them from a confidence standpoint. The Wolfpack are coming off a loss themselves, but that’s when they have been most dangerous, with a record of 4-0 ATS In their L/4 games following a straight up loss. Creighton have also shown an inability to play their brand of basketball against more elite teams, which can be seen by their 0-4 ATS record in their L/4 games when playing a team with a .600 or higher win percentage. Lots of the Bluejays success in terms of their metrics comes from their home performances, but this is a vulnerable spot for them in this tournament on neutral ground. They rely heavily on the outside shot, and N.C. State does a masterful job of locking down perimeter scoring. Time will tell, but this feels like a huge value spot for the Wolfpack at the current market price.
Pick: N.C. State +190
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