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Five for Friday: Best Bets for March 18

One thing about the NCAA tournament is that there’s always going to be a few unpredictable things that take place. Whether it’s Tennessee shooting 60% from the floor, Iowa getting held in the 60s or Kentucky managing to give up 85 points in a loss to Saint Peter’s, weird things always happen in this tournament.

And that’s why trying to play four parlays simply didn’t work out. The last window almost worked out for a big cash, but UCLA didn’t get going until it was nearly too late, failing to cover 13.5 points. Hopefully, things will work better for us on Friday. Here are my plays for March 18.

IOWA STATE TTU 62.5, -110

The Cyclones’ offense has been abysmal throughout the Big 12 season. LSU might be a team in a flux, but the Tigers tend to play defense pretty well and the Cyclones have had several days where they couldn’t hit the Des Moines River at 12 feet. This is a team that scored 51 points in a win earlier this year and has put up scores in the 40s and even 30s. They’re likely going to have trouble getting to 60.


It’s a trendy upset pick for a reason: it’s not really an upset. Yes, Ohio State will have the best player on the floor in E.J. Liddell, but the Buckeyes are fading fast and coming off a flameout against Penn State in the Big Ten tournament. After the game, several of the Columbus writers were talking about how they think there’s no chance the Buckeyes will do anything in this tournament. I agree with them.

ALABAMA TTO 78.5, -110

Nate Oats has been on this side of the play-in game before with Buffalo against Arizona State. His teams play fast anyway, and the last time he faced this situation, his team dropped 91 points on its opponent by taking advantage of travel and dead legs. Notre Dame had to go even further than that Arizona State team did, as this game is in San Diego and the Irish didn’t get much of a chance to rest after going double overtime with Rutgers. Expect the Tide to hit the gas the way Saint Mary’s did to Indiana.

VILLANOVA TTO 74.5, -110

The Wildcats are the most annoying team to pick a total with, but I’m going to do it here because Delaware cannot defend the 3-pointer to save its life. The Blue Hens really struggle with their perimeter defense, and the Wildcats can put up some big numbers from the outside if they get good looks. Villanova should be able to put up some solid shooting numbers here given its guards’ abilities.

SETON HALL-TCU O128.5, -110

The market is overcorrecting here. Seton Hall unders have been an outstanding bet for me because the Pirates were facing Georgetown, who was a horrible team but a defensive-minded one that wasn’t going to lose because it gave up 80 points. Seton Hall isn’t as good offensively as scoring 80, and it isn’t as bad as scoring just 64 against TCU. This game is likely to be closer to the 70s for each team. As long as it isn’t just one team doing all the scoring, this should work out nicely.

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