2017 March Madness Picks of the Day, Saturday March 18th

Arizona Wildcats NCAA basketball team players celebrating first round victory during 2017 Tourney

Saturday, March 18, 2017 1:04 PM GMT

With my last two losses being of the one point each ATS variety, I’m sticking to my guns with the hopes that a half a bucket will go my way here as I make my Saturday college basketball picks.

 

2016-17 NCAAB Record 54-40-2, +10.31 Units 

   Middle Tennessee State vs. Butler

 

Middle Tennessee is one of my dark horses to make it to the Sweet 16 as a double-digit seed this year. Well, I don’t know if you can be a dark horse with a 31-4 SU record.

The 24-8 Butler Bulldogs get a tough draw in the second round, as they match up with 31-4 Middle Tennessee in the round of 32. Even as a 12 seed the Blue Raiders are picking up 59% of public support as I write this as a 4-point underdog across the board. Middle Tennessee easily beat 5th seeded Minnesota on Thursday, covering as a 1.5-point favorite with an 81-72 win. Butler also covered in their first-round game, this time a 10.5-point spread with a 76-64 win against Winthrop.

That win against Minnesota brings MTSU into this game on a 5-0 ATS trend, but since they are an underdog the 11-0 SU trend is in play as well. They’ve done this by being very good on the defensive side of the ball, and even with their up-tempo approach have held opponents to 72 points or less in seven games straight. Butler has only won 7 games all year when scoring this amount, which I see as a sign that this game could be very tight. I have MTSU winning in my bracket, but in this case, I will take the 4 points as one of my Saturday, March Madness Picks.

Free NCAAB Pick: Middle Tennessee State +3.5 Best Line Offered: at BookMaker 

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 Saint Mary’s vs. Arizona

 

Arizona will be tested inside as Jock Landale and the Gaels bring most of the Australian bush with them for this game. The side looks sharp, but the side has an angle I like.

The 7th seeded Gaels get a crack at the 2nd seeded Wildcats on Saturday, and with both teams having lost only 4 games each this year the matchup should be a competitive won. Of course, 4 of those 8 combined losses were to the Gonzaga Bulldogs. The line has opened with Arizona being 4-point favorites, while the O/U total is sitting at 132 across the NCAA Basketball odds board.

The line I like is in the first half, though, as both of these teams are riding offensive momentum from their last games that should carry over here. St. Mary’s pounded VCU from the get-go in their game, scoring 46 points in the first half with the full game going 33.5 points over the listed total at 162. St. Mary’s only shot 35.3% from distance in that game, but a combination of inside dominance and transition offense led to easy buckets. All Arizona did in their first game was to score the most points they’ve put up in a half, as they scored 53 points against North Dakota in the first 20 minutes. Arizona ended the game with a 58.1% field goal percentage and exceeded the O/U total by 35 points. This game will likely slow down a bit, but 60.5 points in the first half seem like a very reasonable number for these offenses to cross.

Free NCAAB Pick: 'Over' 60.5 First Half Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes 

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