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Wild Card Wednesday: Best Early Bets for March 9

And now we’re into conference tournament across the country, with the SEC, Big Ten, Big East and others getting going today. Because of that, we’ve got plenty of lines available early and plenty of games available to bet.

So these are the games where we already have a line available on Tuesday because the matchup is well-known in advance. We’ve got other games coming that we’re waiting on a matchup for based on Tuesday’s results, so I might have a second piece with those games coming later.

But for now, these are my plays for March 9. As always, I do not pick games that I cover, so Penn State-Minnesota won’t show up here. Nebraska-Northwestern, on the other hand, is fair game.


It’s not parlay day, but with three games out of my league, I’m going for it. Sacramento State is coming off plenty of momentum after winning at Montana, and I think the Hornets can handle Idaho in the opener. That game will be played at 9:30 a.m. Mountain and these are Pacific teams, so you might also want to separately back the under in case it takes a half for them to wake up. In the second game, Portland State is comfortable with facing Idaho State and has played very well as of late. Eastern Washington hasn’t looked great recently, but Northern Arizona appears to be completely cooked at this point. I’m teasing it down after the Lumberjacks gave the Eagles a fight in Cheney, but I think Eastern handles business here.

FLORIDA STATE -1.5, -110

Jim Boeheim has famously never had a losing season in 46 years at Syracuse. Unless the Orange find a way to beat Florida State and Duke, that will end here, and I think the Seminoles will take care of business. Florida State has been decimated by injuries all year, but the Seminoles are still fighting hard, and the Orange are far too Boeheim-dependent with an offense that’s Jimmy, Buddy and little else.

NEBRASKA +5, -110

The public isn’t buying the Huskers’ hot streak, but it looks pretty real based on the past three times that Nebraska has taken the court. The Huskers have simply been a horror show for most of the season, but Nebraska has played excellent basketball in beating Penn State, Ohio State and Wisconsin. Northwestern doesn’t have anything close to that on its resume, and I think the Wildcats see their season end here.

GEORGIA +9.5, -110

How many double-digit wins does Vanderbilt have in SEC play this season? That would be a grand total of zero. And yet we’re supposed to believe that the Commodores are going to rout Georgia in this first SEC tournament game? Yes, the Bulldogs are terrible and went 1-17 in the SEC. Yes, Tom Crean is going to be fired as soon as Georgia’s season ends. But Vanderbilt is not a dominant squad. The Bulldogs lost twice to Vanderbilt by single digits, and they are perfectly capable of keeping this game close.

SETON HALL TTU 77.5, -110

The general public has learned next to nothing from the Pirates’ two meetings with Georgetown this year. Yes, Georgetown is pathetic. But the Hoyas’ ineptitude does not mean that Seton Hall’s offense is good. The Pirates are much more likely to score somewhere in the mid to low 70’s; they played 19 Big East games and managed to top 75 points in three of them, none of which were against Georgetown. The Pirates should move on, but I don’t see them getting over 77.

VERMONT -20, -110

I rode Binghamton against New Hampshire and the Bearcats came through, but the run ends in Burlington for this team. Vermont appeared locked in when it hammered NJIT and beat Binghamton in Patrick Gym by 31 last month, so I think the Catamounts can keep things rolling in the America East semifinals.

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