Day 1 featured a couple of weird shooting results, as Tennessee had one of its best shooting nights of the season and Iowa struggled to hit much of anything in its loss to Richmond. These kinds of moments will happen, which is why the NCAA tournament is never an easy event to handicap.
But more often than not, teams will shoot similarly to the way they did during the regular season. That’s why, when betting a total, it’s important to know both the preferred pace of each team and how well they usually shoot and defend. Based on what we know about these teams, these totals look like they’ve got a good chance to hit.
Delaware vs. Villanova
Pick: Villanova Team Total Over 74.5 (-110)
A Villanova team total bet is possibly the hardest play to hit in college basketball. So why am I suggesting this play? Because Delaware’s 3-point defense is horrible. The Blue Hens give up a lot of shots and allow teams to shoot 36.3 percent from behind the arc.
Keep in mind, that’s against teams in the Colonial Athletic Association, not a team of deep shooters like Villanova. The Wildcats might be slow-paced, but when you’re hitting from the outside, your pace doesn’t really mean all that much. Villanova should put up plenty of points in this one.
Notre Dame vs. Alabama
Pick: Over 152 (-110)
Notre Dame might want to play a little slower after going to double overtime with Rutgers, but Alabama isn’t going to go along with that game. The Crimson Tide want to push the issue all night long, and that means that the Fighting Irish are going to have to shoot from behind the arc to keep this thing close.
That’s just fine with the Irish, who are one of the 20 best 3-point shooting teams in the nation. As long as their shots are going down, Alabama should create more than enough possessions to push this game over the total. The Tide never stop running, and that means both teams will see a lot of opportunities to score.
Iowa State vs. LSU
Pick: Iowa State Team Total Under 62.5 (-110)
Iowa State’s offense is a nightmare to watch. The Cyclones aren’t good shooters and have played out several ugly performances in the Big 12 this year. Among the “highlights” were scoring 41 against Texas Tech in the Big 12 tournament, 36 at home against Oklahoma State, 41 at Texas, 54 in a win at TCU, and 44 at home against TCU.
LSU plays good defense and should be able to add its name to the list of teams holding the Cyclones to 60 or less. Iowa State might win the game anyway because the Tigers can’t score all that well either, but if they do, it’s going to be a rock fight.
TCU vs. Seton Hall
Pick: Over 129.5 (-110)
Seton Hall was an outstanding under bet down the stretch when it faced bad teams, because too many bettors overreacted to the Pirates’ opponents and expected Seton Hall to put up a lot of points against weak defenses. That didn’t happen, so the market has overcorrected and set this line too low.
TCU’s defense is decent but not great, and both teams score enough points to put this number in reach. Somewhere between 66 and 74 points is the sweet spot for Seton Hall, so as long as the Horned Frogs do their share of the scoring, these teams should be able to get to 130 points.