2018 March Madness Odds – 7 First Round Bets You should Make

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)

gilgeous-alexanderBetting 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)

loyola-miami-oddsLoyola-Chicago is one of the hottest teams in 2018 March Madness, because they’ve won 10 straight games. They’ll be facing a Miami team that’s missing their top all-around player in Bruce Brown.

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)

deandre-ayton-arizonaBuffalo has never seen the likes of DeAndre Ayton, a 7’1″ freshman who can do virtually anything on the court. The future top pick in the 2018 NBA Draft will decimate the Bulls early and often.

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)

kelan-martin-butlerThe Bulldogs have been to the Big Dance six times since 2010. And not once have they failed to get at least one victory in their tournament appearances.

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.

5 March Madness 2018 Upsets to Look for

new-mexico-state-clemson-oddsThe most-exciting thing about March Madness is the big upsets. Every year a No. 15, 14, 13, and/or 12 seed knocks off a giant in the first round. And if you can pick these upsets, then you’re going to win some big bets.

If you’re looking for some quality 2018 March Madness upset bids, then keep the following five games in mind. Also note that you can find all of the odds on these games and other 2018 March Madness contests at GTBets.eu.

1. No. 12 New Mexico State over No. 5 Clemson

  • New Mexico State & Clemson Odds
  • Clemson -4.5 (-110)
  • Clemson moneyline -215
  • New Mexico State moneyline +185
  • Over/under 133 (-110)

The Tigers played a brutal ACC schedule. And while this prepared them well for the tournament, it also resulted in the loss of second-leading scorer Donte Grantham in late January.

New Mexico State, meanwhile, has all of their main contributors healthy. Perhaps more importantly is that they also notched impressive wins over Illinois, Davidson, and Miami.

Zach Lofton is a very good scorer who could carry his team to victory over Clemson. The Wildcats also feature Jemerrio Jones, the nation’s top defensive rebounder per possession (37.1%).

Last year, many tabbed Middle Tennessee to beat Minnesota in a No. 5 vs. 12 matchup. And that came to fruition. Don’t be surprised if this year’s likely upset pick also happens.

2. No. 11 Loyola over No. 6 Miami

  • Miami & Loyola Chicago Odds
  • Miami -1.5 (-110)
  • Miami moneyline -125
  • Loyola moneyline +105
  • Over/under 132.5 (-110)

loyola-miami-oddsThis is another game where the favorite comes in with a major injury. Miami has been struggling ever since losing Bruce Brown, who’s their best to all-around player with 11.4 PPG, 7.0 RPG, and 4.0 assists. Brown suffered a left foot injury in late January, and the team has been 7-4 without him on the floor.

Perhaps the Hurricanes’ talent would still shine through against a normal No. 11 seed. But Loyola is anything but this.

Currently on a 10-game winning streak, they’re really good at sharing the ball. Case in point, the Ramblers have five players who are averaging double figures.

One more good thing that Loyola does well is shoot, hitting 40% from three-point range as a team. If they can keep the shooting touch against Miami, then it’s very possible that the Ramblers will be going to the second round.

3. No. 13 Charleston over No. 4 Auburn

  • Auburn & Charleston Odds
  • Auburn -9.5 (-110)
  • Auburn moneyline -500
  • Charleston moneyline +400
  • Over/under 148 (-110)

The Midwest Regional has a high pedigree, with Duke, Kansas, and Michigan State all in this stacked bracket section. The rest of the region leaves something to be desired, though, including Auburn.

Obviously the Tigers did something right to earn a No. 4 seed. And they’re a large favorite on the betting lines right now. But I have my doubts that they’re the strongest fourth seed in the tournament.

They’re really good at defending the rim, thanks to Anfernee McLemore (2.7 blocks). However, they’ve also struggled to mesh as a team down the stretch, losing four of their last six games.

In comes Charleston, which plays a frustratingly slow pace that directly contrasts Bruce Pearl’s style. Given how good the Cougars are at limiting game possessions, Auburn won’t have much room for error here.

4. No. 10 Providence over No. 7 Texas A&M

  • Providence and Texas A&M Odds
  • Texas A&M -3 (-110)
  • Texas A&M moneyline -155
  • Providence moneyline +113
  • Over/under 138 (-110)

Providence is getting hot at the right time, making it to the Big East Final, where they lost to the potential championship team in Villanova. Nobody will fault them for the Villanova loss, and this was an excellent final opponent to prepare them for the rigors of March Madness.

The SEC seems overrated, which doesn’t give me much confidence in No. 7 Texas A&M. I feel like these two teams are on more equal footing than the seeding suggests.

The Aggies are only 4-7 on the road and 3-2 when playing on neutral courts. This doesn’t bode very well for an upcoming road game in the tournament.

A&M built their reputation through tough defense. But based on their road record, the Aggies’ defensive abilities seem to take a downturn away from the home crowd.

5. No. 10 Butler over No. 7 Arkansas

  • Arkansas & Butler Odds
  • Butler -1.5 (-110)
  • Butler moneyline -123
  • Arkansas moneyline +103
  • Over/under 133 (-110)

kelan-martin-butlerHere’s another SEC school that I’m not so sure about. Arkansas is good at applying pressure and forcing turnovers. But I can’t see them being able to rattle this Butler team.

The Bulldogs have good guard play and strong post players, led by Kelan Martin (20.8 PPG). Guard play will come in handy, because Butler ranks 28th in turnover percentage and should be able to beat the Razorbacks’ pressure.

But can we really call this an upset if Butler wins? After all, GTBets and other sportsbooks have shifted the line in their favor after heavy betting action on the Bulldogs.