March Madness is about to begin – and with it comes the insane amount of bets placed at online sportsbooks.
Did you do your homework and pick out the best March Madness bets to place yet?
If not, stick with us as we share our predictions for the first round of this highly anticipated college basketball tournament, as well as take a look into some of the best online sportsbooks accepting March Madness wagers – with MyStake on top.
Best March Madness Bets
- Utah vs Missouri: Over 155
- Kansas Jayhawks: Over 84.5
- Houston Cougars vs Kentucky Norse: -19.5 point spread
- Kansas State vs Montana State: Over 139.5
Related Reading: March Madness Bracket Strategy
Utah State Aggies vs. Missouri Tigers (Over 155 @ MyStake)
With March comes the madness, and when the Utah State Aggies and Missouri Tigers hit the court, expect two explosive offenses to light up the scoreboard.
The Aggies come into this contest looking to break the Mountain West Conference curse – which has seen the last eight teams out of the conference bow out in the first round/first four. Playing strong of late, the Aggies have won seven of the last eight and are averaging 80 points in victory.
The Aggies have been profitable this season for over betters, going 20-13. Thanks to a high-octane offense, which ranks among the top 50 teams in the nation in several categories.
- Three-point percentage: 38.5% (11th in the nation)
- Two-point percentage: 54.1% (36th in the nation)
- Free throw percentage: 76.7% (29th in the nation)
- Free throws made: 15.3 (44th in the nation)
- Points per game: 77.7 (32nd in the nation)
The Missouri Tigers too have been relatively hot, winning five of the last six and are averaging 78.6 in victory. Going 18-15 over/under, the Tigers have brought in a profit for over-backers. The Tigers’ offense has been their lifeline all season and ranks among the top 100 teams in the nation in several categories.
- Three-point percentage: 36.1% (75th in the nation)
- Two-point percentage: 55.9% (13th in the nation)
- Free throw percentage: 75.8% (42nd in the nation)
- Free throws made: 11.3 (66th in the nation)
- Points per game: 79.5 (18th in the nation)
In addition to exceptional offenses, both teams are vulnerable on defense. Utah State is below average in forcing turnovers and at stopping foes from downtown, while Missouri, outside of forcing turnovers, is dreadful in nearly every defensive statistic.
With both teams used to playing up-tempo, we believe the high point total is one of the smartest March Madness bets you can place on the first round of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
Kansas Jayhawks (Over 84.5 points @ Bovada)
The defending national champions, the Kansas Jayhawks, open their bid to repeat against the sixteen-seed Howard Bison.
The Jayhawks had an excellent season, going 27-7 while accumulating a record-setting 17 quad-one wins. Finishing the season with nine wins in the last eleven games, Kansas heads into the tournament with excellent momentum.
Equipped with a top-thirty offense, Kansas averages a solid 74.9 points per game. Led by forward Jalen Wilson, who is one of four double-digit scorers on the roster, Kansas is a nightmare to match up against.
The Howard Bison earned their first bid since 1992. While an excellent story, their time in the tournament will be short. Having gaping holes on both offense and defense, the Bison are ripe to be taken advantage of by Kansas.
For starters, Howard is the 5th worst team in the nation in turnovers at a disturbing 16.2 per game. Kansas forces 14.3 turnovers per game, which is 56th in the nation. Given Kansas is forcing turnovers against elite teams, whereas Howard is coughing the ball against lesser competition, one could assume this game might get ugly quick.
Howard on defense is below average. Giving up 72.6 points per game, Howard is susceptible to giving up offensive rebounds (8.9 – 252nd in the nation), sending opponents to the charity stripe (20.1 – 280th in the nation), and getting dominated inside the paint (50.8% – 208th in the nation).
Kansas happens to do most of their dirty work inside the paint, shooting 52.9% and scoring 41.4 of their 74.9 points via two-pointers. In other words, expect Howard to get bullied down low.
When Howard faced a college basketball team ranked among the top 125, they gave up 85 points in five of six games.
Meanwhile, Kansas has scored 85 points in two out of their three games against opponents ranked above 200 like Howard.
Given both teams like to push the pace, and with Howard having a bottom-six average possession length on defense, expect Kansas to put up points fast and furious – eventually passing the 85-point over.
Houston Cougars vs. Northern Kentucky Norse (-19.5 @ BetOnline)
The Houston Cougars open their quest for a national championship against the sixteen-seed Northern Kentucky Norse
Ranked as the number one team in the nation heading into the AAC tournament, Houston, without their leading scorer Marcus Sasser, lost to the Memphis Tigers. The defeat was only their third of the season but dropped them to second in the rankings.
Regardless of the final weekend mishap, Houston is an elite team that can certainly make it to the national championship game.
Playing against Northern Kentucky, Houston should have little issue dominating. Ranked as the number one team according to KenPom, Houston is the only team with an offense and defense ranked in the top eleven.
Houston is only 18-16 ATS this season. Which, albeit very little, is still a profit. Northern Kentucky is 15-17 ATS but is notably 7-1 ATS in their past eight games. Obviously, these metrics lean towards the Norse.
However, styles make matchups.
Houston is elite defensively and is top twenty-five in several categories:
- Three-point percentage against: 27.8% (2nd in the nation)
- Two-point percentage against: 43.1% (4th in the nation)
- Blocks: 4.8 (20th in the nation)
- Steals: 8.3 (24th in the nation)
- Points allowed per game: 56.5 (2nd in the nation)
Meanwhile, Northern Kentucky is not very strong offensively. Averaging 67.2 points and shooting 42.6% this season, the Norse are among the bottom eighty teams in both statistics. Where they have excelled is from downtown, averaging 24.3 points from three-pointers.
However, given Houston’s stout defense and particularly their excellence in defending the perimeter, Northern Kentucky could have a tough time scoring.
As for offensively, Houston is very efficient. They rank 12th in the nation in turnovers at 9.9 per game, 4th in the nation in offensive rebounds at 11.7 per game, 61st in the nation in two-point percentage at 53.2% and 104th in the nation in three-pointers made at 7.8 per game.
Against Northern Kentucky’s defense, Houston should feast. The Norse are 228th in the nation in opponent offensive rebounds and 319th in the nation in opponent three-point percentage at 36.7%.
On the season, Houston has defeated fourteen teams by twenty points and has limited twenty-one opponents to 60 points or less. Northern Kentucky has lost seven of their twelve losses by double-digits and has lost by over twenty points three times.
Even if Sasser is out, back the 19.5-point favorite Houston to embarrass Northern Kentucky.
Kansas State Wildcats vs. Montana State Bobcats (Over 139.5 @ Bovada)
The Kansas State Wildcats and Montana State Bobcats lock horns in an opening-round game that has the ingredients to be high scoring.
Kansas State ended the season relatively well, winning four of the last six games. The Wildcats averaged 73.66 points while giving up 71 points during that span.
On the season, Kansas State was a mediocre 16-16 in over/under. In the last three games, however, the over has hit twice.
As for Montana State, the Bobcats have won eight straight. During the winning streak, the Bobcats are averaging 73.62 points.
On the season, Montana State is an ugly 14-18 in over/under. However, in the last five games, the over has hit four times.
Kansas State features a top-sixty offense. They rank 64th in the nation in points per game at 75.5, 133rd in the nation in offensive rebounds at 8.8 per game, 40th in the nation at free throws attempted at 21.3 per game, and 58th in the nation in free throw percentage at 75%.
Meanwhile, Montana State is mediocre at best on offense. Yet, they rank 169th in the nation in points per game at 71.1, 77th in the nation in two-point percentage at 52.4%, 11th in the nation in free throws attempted at 23.2 per game and 32nd in the nation in free throw percentage at 76.3%.
The area which will aid the over tremendously is that both teams not only foul too much but send the opposition to the free throw line frequently. In other words, both teams strength’s feed into both teams’ weaknesses.
Kansas State is 237th in the nation in fouls per game at 17.7 and is 306th in the nation in opponent free throws attempted at 21 per game. Montana State is 301st in the nation in fouls per game at 18.7 and is 231st in the nation in opponent free throws attempted at 19 per game.
Lastly, Kansas State likes to push the pace. They average only 16.4 seconds per offensive possession, which is the 44th quickest in the nation. Montana State falls on the slower side, but their average defensive length is in the bottom third of the league.
Obviously, both teams haven’t fared well for over-backers this season. However, given all the data and the outlook that this game could become a free throw shooting contest – time stopped and points scored is a solid route to cracking the over.
The Final Four Round
The annual NCAA March Madness extravaganza is entering its final stages. The field has been narrowed down to just four teams who will do battle on Saturday. Only two will survive to go on to the big game which is scheduled for Monday, April 3, 2023. So, the big question is which two teams will advance. Our experts have studied the Final Four round and have made the following predictions.
#9 Florida Atlantic Vs. #5 San Diego State (-2)
This matchup features two smokin’ hot teams in FAU and SDSU. The Owls continued their recent trend of winning as an underdog when they knocked off the Kansas State Wildcats in a thriller. FAU has covered four of their last 5 spreads and 7 of their last 10. They will have their hands full against an even hotter Aztecs squad that has reeled off 8 straight wins and six consecutive covers.
The Owls are 23-9-1 ATS in their last 33 games after winning ATS and 19-7-2 ATS in their last 28 against teams with .600+ winning percentages. They are 17-6 ATS in their last 23 Saturday outings and 4-1 ATS in their last 5 neutral site games.
Meanwhile, the Aztecs are 13-3-2 ATS in their last 18 games against teams with winning percentages of .600+ and 15-5-2 ATS in their last 22 matches overall. They have covered in their last 6 straight and in their last 4 tournament games. The Aztecs are 6-0-1 in their last seven Saturday games and a perfect 6-0 ATS in their last six after a SU win.
While we could certainly make a case for FAU in this spot, we feel that the Aztecs are the stronger play at -2. They have been the hotter team in recent weeks and their defense has been lights-out. FAU’s had a nice run, but it’s about to end.
#5 Miami Vs. #4 Connecticut (-5.5)
Both of these teams have been quite profitable this year. The Hurricanes have gone 22-14 ATS while the Huskies are 25-11-1. Miami has covered four straight with their last three covers being by double digits as an underdog. However, the UConn Huskies have covered 9 of their last 10 and 11 of their last 13 to get here. Their average ATS margin of victory in their last four straight covers is close to 18 points. They were very impressive in their 82-54 pounding of Gonzaga.
Miami is a wallet-fattening 38-16-1 ATS in their last 55 games against teams with a .600+ winning percentage and they are 23-9-1 ATS in their last 33 games against teams with winning records. The Hurricanes are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 after an ATS win and 4-0 in their last 4 games on a neutral court.
The Huskies are 20-7-1 in their last 28 after a SU win and 20-6 ATS in their last 26 tournament games. They are also 9-2-1 in their last dozen following a win of 20 points or more and 7-1 ATS in their last 8 after an ATS win.
This will be another case of going with the hotter team. The Huskies have been on fire throughout March. The 5.5 points gave us a bit of pause, especially considering how well Miami’s been performing throughout the tournament. However, we feel that the Huskies have more than enough of a defensive advantage to cover the 5.5-point spread.
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