Betting Value: Duo Of Total Locks For Your NCAA Tournament Picks

Mark Lathrop

Thursday, March 17, 2016 2:12 PM UTC

Thursday, Mar. 17, 2016 2:12 PM UTC

Ah, tournament time is upon us and we have plenty of options to choose from. We are sure to see some ATS upsets, so let’s join our NCAAB handicapper to look at the best totals values.

Iona vs. Iowa State
In this 13 vs 4 seed matchup, the Iona Gaels (22-10) and Iowa State Cyclones (21-11) boast the highest O/U total on the board for the first round of the NCAA tournament, currently sitting at a range of 166.5 to 167.5. For these teams to go over that total, they would both have to score higher than their season averages for the year.

These two teams are not strangers to high posted O/U totals either, but have missed the mark more often than not. The Gaels are 15-16 this season O-U, while the Cyclones are just 13-16 O-U – even though the latter boasts the 3rd most efficient offense in the country. Both teams are 3-1 favoring the under in their last 4 games, which includes some high-stakes conference tournament matchups that would emulate the kind of pressure these 18 to 21 year-olds will be under on Thursday.

The Cyclones could have an injury concern in this game, as starting point guard Monte Morris is dealing with a shoulder issue. He will likely suit up, but there is no predicting how it will affect his usual 13.9 points per game. The pressure will be there, especially for Iowa State, and Iona would have to drop more than 12 3-pointers for them to break 80 points. Look for one of these teams to be cold from the floor for at least a half, which should be enough to take Under 167.5 at YouWager as one of your first round NCAA tournament picks.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Under 167
Best Line Offered: at Bovada


Austin Peay vs. Kansas
In the only way to wager on a 16 vs 1 matchup, we investigate the total as the Austin Peay Governors (18-17) take on the #1 ranked Kansas Jayhawks (30-4). The Jayhawks are a 26-point favorite at this point, while the O/U total has been listed at 152 on the NCAA basketball odds board. That total sits just at the intersection of the season scoring averages for both teams.

As this matchup is a situation where one opponent is a step-up in class, I wanted to investigate the non-conference schedules of each. What I found for Kansas was expected, as the Jayhawks scored an average of 87.1 points per game this year in their non-conference schedule through December 29th. Now that did include some lower scoring games versus a few teams in power conferences, so if you only consider mid-major conferences the average scoring was over 90 points. This is not surprising since Kansas shoots nearly 50% from the field and over 40% from behind the arc.

Austin Peay doesn’t have the best data for their non-conference schedule, as some of their matchups didn’t even have lines posted. However, they come into this game with a serious streak on the Over, as 11 of the last 12 have gone over the posted total. The Governors are also 12-4 favoring the Over in their games on the road this year. They broke a record for three-pointers in the Ohio Valley Conference championship game, sinking 16 of them in route to a 83-73 win. They come into this game with plenty of confidence in shooting the rock. 

Kansas should push their scoring past 90 points in this game, as they will look to build a big lead early. However, the Governors will be shooting 3’s with reckless abandon seeking that elusive 16 vs 1 upset. They should shoot well enough to exceed 60 points on the day, which makes Over 152 the right pick in this first round NCAA tournament matchup.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Over 152
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

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