'Under' Only Way To Bet NC Central-Cal Davis First Four Matchup

Willie Bee

Tuesday, March 14, 2017 3:25 PM UTC

Tuesday, Mar. 14, 2017 3:25 PM UTC

It's one chance to reach the big stage for NC Central and Cal Davis Wednesday, the winner ready to be big underdogs on the NCAA odds to No. 1 seed Kansas in the Big Dance.

  North Carolina Central vs UC Davis

West Region, 1st Round 
Thursday, March 16 - 7:27 pm E.T

Season: 50-45-4 (+0.50)

ESPN's Joe Lunardi said, "The metrics suggest that UC Davis...is the weakest team in the field." My guess is the Aggies don't give a rat's behind what the little know-it-all thinks as they head to their first-ever NCAA Men's Tournament.

Cal-Davis make its foray into March Madness brackets in one of the First Four contests after earning the Big West tourney title with a defensive 50-47 win over UC-Irvine. Their opponent, North Carolina Central, is making just its second NCAA Tournament appearances, which Lunardi insisted meant the Eagles had "longer experience." Insert roll eyes emoticon here.

None of what Lunardi says matters as the Eagles and Aggies prepare for the 16-seed play-in game which tips Wednesday in Dayton. What really matters are the spread, total and whether or not I can give you a winning free college basketball pick.


'Under' Top Totals Trend For Both Teams

It also matters, at least to me, to be honest and confess I really know nothing about these teams. Didn't see them play at all, and barely even remember Davis head coach Jim Les from his playing days at Bradley in the early 80s. I remember thinking, "He has two first names." Anyway, Bookmaker has installed the Eagles as 4 point favorites for the earliest game (6:40 PM ET) on the Hump Day betting card, tipping under the watchful eyes of truTV.

The initial scoreboard tally was 129, but the NCAA basketball odds shot up quickly to 132½ for a consensus. Central ran 1-5 O/U in its only six lined games in Vegas during the season while Davis ran 11-17 after its final six never reached the totals.


Both Teams Made Friends With NCAA Bettors

North Carolina Central (25-8 straight up, 6-0 against the spread) did play a tougher schedule, if Lunardi and I agree on how metrics play into it. KenPom has been my go-to for SOS when I'm really interested, and the Eagles are 152nd there with the Aggies a good 20% of the D-1 field behind at 218th. And it's easy to like that perfect mark in the few games the Eagles have reached betting cards, and let's not kid ourselves why the MEAC -- and NC Central specifically -- doesn't get more media attention as well as wagering listings.

Cal Davis (22-12 SU, 17-12 ATS) has the run of its picturesque setting just west of Sacramento; they could've filmed Pleasantville there. During their 6-game 'under' run, the Aggies have gone 5-1 ATS, including that win over the Anteaters to get the automatic slot, so don't discount UC Davis for being soft.

To the best of my knowledge, these two schools have never met on the hardwood. There's only one way to play this one, and that's go contrarian to movement on the total with a wager ot the 'under' for this March Madness matchup.

Free NCAAB Pick: Under 132½ Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker

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