FOX sports betting analyst
Let the madness begin!
The field is all set for 2023 NCAA Men’s Tournamentand the opening round betting lines are finally starting to settle after about two hours after Don Best’s odds screen lit up like a Christmas tree.
I’ll be posting my favorite first round plays in the next few days here on FOX Sports, but before that, I wanted to give you some initial tilts, market moves and general thoughts on America’s best betting event.
Here are my top 10 thoughts for March Madness.
RELATED: FOX Sports NCAA Men’s Bracket
1. The Mizzou–State of Utah the total is still not high enough
The total opened at 152.5 offshore and appears to have settled in the states around 154.5. To be honest, it’s probably still too low. These two teams have the ammunition to reach the 80s with ease, and I’m not counting on an 87-84 finish for a second. Both teams are very efficient from 2 and 3, and neither is spectacular on the defensive side of the ball.
2. Respected punters dig Iona i Kent State
Both underdogs were immediately beaten. An American sportsbook opened Iona as an 11-point underdog against UConn. Spoiler: It didn’t last long. Most shops currently have UConn at -8.5 or -9, and that’s a remarkable move against a solid Huskies team. Meanwhile, South Point in Las Vegas opened Kent State +5 against Indiana, which is clearly a respect for the underdog. Well, the market is now painted Kent State +4. Bark, bark, bark.
3. Everything Grand Canyon does, Gonzaga makes it better
March Madness legend Bryce Drew has done a great job at Grand Canyon this year, but he’s basically facing Grand Canyon on steroids in the first round. Gonzaga’s offense is incredibly effective when it’s rolling and this is truly a horrible matchup for the defenseless Antelopes. I’m putting the two touchdowns in a game that has all the makings of a 20-point win.
4. Don’t be surprised if Purdue it bounces back early
I’ve been talking about this since January. And after watching Purdue nearly blow a 17-point lead Sunday against Penn State in the Big Ten Championship, I feel even better. Lumberjack leader Zach Edey is a special college player, but Memphis’ physical frontcourt could really be a problem. DeAndre Williams (6-9, 205) and Malcolm Dandridge (6-9, 260) have the length and strength to make Edey uncomfortable.
5. Tom Izzo > Andy Enfield
Simple. Don’t overthink this one.
6. What a draw Marquette
The whitish golden eagles took out the weaker #1 [Purdue] and number 3 [Kansas State] then, and assuming they come through Vermont and Michigan State, the East could really open up. I’ve always been a fan of Shaka Smart in the NCAA tournament, and this is easily the best team he has ever coached. I don’t hate a bet on Marquette to make the Final Four at +420. Not a bit
7. I will probably fire up my support on Saturday
This is inevitable. It’s been an annual tradition to fill out a parenthesis, just one, since I was about nine years old. That said, I’m going to flip this thing like you wouldn’t believe. Two years ago, my bracket had Illinois making the Final Four, but when the Illini faced Loyola in the Round of 16, I bet the Ramblers +7 with my fist. It is important to separate the church [bracket] and state [bets] when you bet on the tournament because matchups are everything.
8. The Zags are a sleeping giant in the West
Go back to Gonzaga. After four straight years of being a No. 1 seed, the Zags are underrated this tournament Analytical assistant Ken Pomeroy believes Gonzaga has the best offense in the nation, and after blowing out Grand Canyon and likely TCU, odds are good they’ll face UCLA in the Sweet 16. Without Jaylen Clark and maybe without Adem Bona, the Bruins could be down to two of their best defenders. It’s not ideal. A Kansas-Gonzaga regional final would be legit.
9. Know when to turn around the beloved audience
That’s one of the biggest lessons of the NCAA Tournament. Watch out for this super popular underdog in the second weekend. Whether it’s the St. Peter of last year or the LaSalle of 10 years ago, every dog has its day in March. Don’t be late to the party and fall to the #11 seed by taking 12 points in the Sweet 16 against a blue blood. It probably won’t end well.
10. I stay with Texas to win it all
I made a futures bet on the Longhorns in late November, and I’m still optimistic they have the goods to make it to Houston.
Gone coach Chris Beard doesn’t walk through that door, but safety Marcus Carr does. He is the type of player you want with the ball in the final minutes. Texas combines an efficient offense with a suffocating defense, and the Horns can beat anyone with their “A” game. Just ask Kansas. I’m happy to go with what I think is the best team in the best conference. stick them
Sam Panayotovich is a sports betting analyst for FOX Sports and NESN. He previously worked for WGN Radio, NBC Sports and VSiN. He will probably pick against your favorite team. Follow him on Twitter @sprout.
Top related stories on FOX Sports:
Download the FOX Super 6 app for a chance to win thousands of dollars on the biggest sporting events every week! Just choose your picks and you could win the grand prize. Download and play today!
Get more from college basketball Follow your favorites for information on games, news and more