NCAA Tournament Free Picks – Thursday (Early)

March Madness Betting

Finally, we’re here. Crack a beer, grab some wings, and get yourself ready for four days of basketball goodness. As I mentioned in a previous blog post, we will be focusing on March Madness this week and will return to NBA on Monday.

As always, all our odds will be quoted from BetOnline (Full Review) and are accurate at the time of posting. However, be sure to line shop for the best price before placing your bet.

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Butler (4) versus Winthrop (13) +11

13 seeds always seem to spring upsets in the tournament, and I am getting that feeling today in this Eagles and Bulldogs matchup. Butler is a strong team, but they finished the season on a low note, and the opposite can be said for Winthrop.

The Eagles have won eight straight coming into the tournament, including running the table in the Big South Conference tournament. Butler’s offense can go stagnant at times, and the Eagles have an underrated squad that should be able to score at will.

There has been little line movement in this game. The odds opened with Butler as a -12 favorite. Betting action has been mostly even between the two sides with bettors favoring the Eagles slightly more. The odds across the board are now at -11/+11.

Pick: Winthrop +11

Northwestern (8) versus Vanderbilt (9) -2.5

Vanderbilt isn’t exactly a mainstay when it comes to March Madness, but this is an excellent spot for them. They’re one of the more underrated teams in the Big Dance and have improved a lot defensively in recent weeks.

They’ve won seven out of their last nine contests and are doing all the things it takes to win a tightly contested game. They’re a better shooting team than Northwestern, both from the free-throw line and from outside. Couple that with their improved defense and you have a team that should be feared in the early going, despite their subpar, 19-15 record.

The Commodores opened at -3. That was quickly adjusted to -2.5 after opening. Presently, bettors will be able to find -2.5 and -2, depending on the sportsbook. There’s been no massive majority on betting action either way. However, Vandy is getting a touch more wagers coming their way as of this writing.

I’d jump on this one early, as the line is likely to move.

Pick: Vanderbilt -2.5

Notre Dame (5) at Princeton (12) +6 Total: 134.5

The Irish will take on Princeton in the tournament’s first game. Princeton is a solid squad, and I do think people don’t give them enough credit in tournaments like this, as it the case with many Ivy League squads.

I think Notre Dame wins this game, but I could see the Tigers surprise the Fighting Irish in this one. However, I think the play in this game is on the total. Princeton has a lot of excellent shooters, and so do the fighting Irish.

Princeton’s defense is especially weak inside, where Notre Dame should have no issue putting up big numbers. Take the over and watch the points pile up.

The total opened at 132.5. About 60 percent of bets have come in on the over, which has pushed the number to 134 or 134.5.

Pick: Over 134.5

Joseph Falchetti

Joseph Falchetti - Editor-in-Chief / Sports Writer & Analyst

Joe is the author of the blog, most picks, and the majority of excellent content on SafestBettingSites. He's been mentioned on as a gaming analyst and his articles have been linked by larger publications, such as the New York Times.

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