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Five for Friday: Best Bets for March 4

Sometimes, you learn every lesson, and it pays off beautifully, as it did with Jacksonville once again getting the job done in Swisher Gymnasium. Sometimes, you learn every lesson, and it doesn’t work out, as happened with Montana, which has now lost twice in Missoula and might very well be leaking oil as it heads to the Big Sky tournament.

And sometimes, you stumble into something via dumb luck, as happened yesterday when I got so caught up in NFL Combine work that I forgot that South Alabama-Little Rock was a 2:30 p.m. game, and by the time I went to bet it, the game was already over and the Jaguars had lost anyway. So I plugged Ohio State ML into what was left of my Play-in Parlay simply because Michigan State is absolutely leaking oil and has been for a month, and it turned into an easy cash.

But…I didn’t suggest it here, so it doesn’t count for anything but my bankroll. The two parlays I got in yesterday didn’t work out, so we’ll try to bounce back today. Here are my best plays for March 4.


Illinois State doesn’t sustain success. When the Redbirds put forth a good effort in one game, they tend to turn around and play lousy the next time out. If they were more consistent, Dan Muller might still have his job, but this feels like the Redbirds pulled off one win so their Arch Madness experience isn’t a complete washout and will now call it a day. Northern Iowa is better and shouldn’t waste any time fooling around here.


This game is everything to the Chippewas. Only the top eight teams in the MAC get to go to Cleveland, so Central Michigan needs to come up with a good showing to keep its hold on the No. 8 seed and possibly have a chance at the postseason. Akron has a longer race to run and only won the first meeting by four points, so there’s a good chance to win this one.


Western Michigan, on the other hand, doesn’t have anything to play for. The Broncos aren’t going to Cleveland, which means Ball State can likely set the pace in what should be a fairly free-flowing game. The Cardinals are at their best when they push the tempo, and with no postseason coming for the Broncos, they’ll likely be willing to play along.


Southern Illinois has battled Drake twice this season, and both games have come down to the final possession. The Salukis are experts in drawing out possessions and making teams work for everything they get, and I think they battle Drake to the final play again here. I also love the under, as I think 127 points is too high for two teams that scored 119 and 122 in their two matchups.


Belmont has all the pressure, but Morehead State has won in this situation before and has the best player on the floor in Johni Broome. Broome killed the Bruins with 27 points in last year’s OVC final and has the talent to do it to Belmont again in Evansville. As long as Morehead State takes care of the basketball, it should stick close.

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