Free NCAA Tournament Picks: Tempting Underdog Odds On Green Bay +13 vs. Texas A&M

Jason Lake

Thursday, March 17, 2016 4:18 PM UTC

Thursday, Mar. 17, 2016 4:18 PM UTC

The betting market appears to be split on which team belongs in their March Madness basketball picks: the No. 3 Texas A&M Aggies, or the No. 14 Green Bay Phoenix.

Jason's 2015-16 record as of Mar. 15: 18-12 ATS, 1-2 Totals

It's always nice when you have an opportunity to put a hot team in your NCAA Tournament picks. Almost always; sometimes you get stuck with a matchup that's got two hot teams in it. Such is the case for Friday's first-round tilt (7:20 p.m. ET, TBS) between the No. 3 Texas A&M Aggies and the No. 14 Green Bay Phoenix. The Aggies are 5-1 ATS in their last six. The Phoenix are 7-0-2 ATS since mid-February. Hmmmph.

The betting market is flummoxed, too. Our early consensus figures show a slim 53-percent majority supporting the Phoenix (23-12 SU, 20-10-2 ATS) as 13-point puppies on our NCAA Tournament odds. But there was a point where the Aggies (26-8 SU, 15-12-2 ATS) had the majority at 52 percent. It's pretty much a toss-up, folks. Will we end up hammering that 155-point total? Or is there still some betting value in the spread?


Cheesy Goodness
Glad you asked. First, let's stand on the shoulders of some giant hoop nerds:

FiveThirtyEight (Elo): Texas A&M –11.5
Sports-Reference (SRS): Texas A&M –17.66

Oh my. S-R really doesn't like those low conferences; they've got the Phoenix ranked No. 139 in Division I according to Simple Rating System. Ken Pomeroy disagrees, putting Green Bay at No. 117 overall (No. 96 offense, No. 168 defense). Using SRS appears to overvalue the Aggies slightly as well at No. 15, compared to No. 17 overall (No. 36 offense, No. 12 defense) on the Pomeroy charts. Par for the course based on the other games we've looked at in the West Region.

So it appears Green Bay might have some betting value here. As we might expect from the unheralded champions of the Horizon League, matched up against the big-name Aggies from the SEC. It is a big spread, though, and again, both teams are hotter than a pistol that shoots habanero peppers. No injuries to report for either side, so no angles there. Hmmmph.


It's Only Wafer-Thin
That total doesn't look all that promising, either. Green Bay (OVER 18-14) has the mediocre defense and the sixth-fasted adjusted tempo in all of Division I, so that's good. But A&M (UNDER 17-12) has the strong defense and the No. 247-ranked tempo in college hoops. Double hmmmph.

So we'll stick with the Phoenix and the point spread after all. It's only a slim majority on the consensus reports, but it still points to potentially smart money coming in on Green Bay. This is the hotter of the two hot commodities, after all, and Nate Silver's crew at FiveThirtyEight seems to be on board. The Bird is the word in Friday's NCAA Tournament matchup.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Green Bay +13
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes


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