The first rule in sports betting is that there’s no such thing as a guarantee. This is especially the case with March Madness, where teams from all over college basketball are matched up against each other.
But I see a few 2018 March Madness bets that are definitely worth making. Keep reading as I cover 7 first-round wagers you should consider. And don’t forget to check out the odds of all the games right here at GTBets.
1. No. 10 Oklahoma (+2) Covers against No. 7 Rhode Island (Thursday, 12:15pm on CBS)
The Sooners aren’t exactly coming into the 2018 NCAA Tournament with a head of steam. The’ve lost 11 of their final 15 games, dropping them to a double-digit seed.
But make no mistake about it, this bubble team is still rather dangerous. Furthermore, Trae Young will be the best player on the court for either team. Combine this with how Rhode Island hasn’t played well since their 16-game winning streak earlier in the year, and I see Oklahoma winning by at least 3.
2. No. 3 Tennessee (-12) Covers against No. 14 Wright State (Thursday, 12:40pm on truTV)
It’s never easy to cover 12 points in a March Madness contest, especially when it’s not a No. 1 vs. 16 matchup. But I still like the 3-seeded Vols to blow out Wright State.
When Tennessee wins, they win big. 10 of their 25 victories were by 12 points or more. These include wins against teams that were better than the Raiders.
3. No. 5 Kentucky (-5.5) Covers against No. 12 Davidson (Thursday, 7:10pm on CBS)
Betting on the No. 12 seed is always a popular move. This is especially the case when dealing with a familiar high seed like Davidson. But the Wildcats also get priced higher than they deserve due to their famed 2008 Elite Eight run with Steph Curry.
John Calipari hasn’t lost a first-round game since taking over as the Kentucky coach in 2009. He’s not going to lose this one either, and I look for the victory to be by double digits.
4. No. 11 Loyola-Chicago (+1.5) Covers against No. 6 Miami (Thursday, 3:10pm on truTV)
I’m a bit worried that sportsbooks have already priced in these factors, meaning Loyola isn’t being given a true underdog spread. But I’m still confidently putting money on the Ramblers.
5. No. 4 Arizona (-8.5) Covers against No. 13 Buffalo (Thursday, 9:40pm on CBS)
The Wildcats also have a motivational factor going for them, after ESPN reported that the FBI is investigating head coach Sean Miller. He denied all charges, and his team has used when they see as a major slight to fuel five straight wins.
6. No. 16 Penn (+13.5) Covers against No. 1 Kansas (Thursday, 2pm on TBS)
Kansas is looking to avenge the past two years, when they had title-worthy squads that came up short of the Final Four. But their first opponent will be trickier than most think.
Penn trailed Harvard in the Ivy League Championship by a score of 30-17. They went on a 28-2 run afterward to grab a commanding lead. This come-from-behind victory was all due to the Quakers’ ability to shoot the lights out.
Kansas is certainly different than playing Harvard. But I like Penn’s chances of keeping this one under 13 points due to their shooting touch.
7. No. 10 Butler (-1.5) Covers against No. 7 Arkansas (Friday, 3:10pm on truTV)
Despite the thin spread here, Butler would likely have to lose to avoid covering. That said, I recommend wagering on the Bulldogs notching another tournament win and extending their streak.