March Madness First Four Odds: Bettors Expect Drake And Norfolk State Upsets
Drake vs. Wichita State Odds: Bettors expect Drake to pull the upset
Drake and Wichita State know each other well. Wichita State was once the king of the Missouri Valley Conference. Now the two meet in the NCAA Tournament.
Wichita State comes into the game as the heavy oddsmakers’ favorite. They’re given -129 odds, or a 56.3% chance to win. Meanwhile, Drake is given +120 odds, or a 45.5% chance to win.
Despite what the sportsbooks believe we can reveal that over the past 24 hours we've see Drake taking the majority of the bets, with 67% of all bets taking the Bulldogs.
Drake will be getting star player ShanQuan Hemphill back from injury for this game after he missed the final stretch of the regular season and all of the MVC tournament. However, Drake will be without star point guard Roman Penn who is out for the rest of the year with an injury.
Wichita State is certainly healthier, but finished 2nd in AAC in the regular season and then lost to Cincinnati in the AAC Tournament.
Drake ranks considerably higher in both NET and KenPom as well. So, it makes little sense that they’re the underdog in this game, other than the fact that they play in a smaller conference.
With Hemphill returning and Jordan Yesufu breaking out during the MVC tournament they have explosive offensive potential. They don’t play with the MVC’s characteristic strong defense, but they can score with the best of them if their trio of Hemphill, Yesufu, and Trent Murphy get going. That makes them a tough matchup for Wichita State.
Norfolk State vs. Appalachian State Odds: Norfolk State backed to create Cindarella upset
Norfolk State may be the team walking into the game with the better record, but it’s Appalachian State who walks in the favorite.
This is another game which the betting public seems to disgaree with the books on. Norfolk State are heavily favored by OddsChecker users and 62% of moneyline bets have been on the Spartans to win and progress.
The Sun Belt champions come into the game having won 5 of their last 6. Meanwhile, Norfolk State comes into the game having won 7 in a row and 9 of their last 10. Norfolk also won the MEAC regular season championship. Norfolk is 170 in NET compared to App State’s 210.
Despite Norfolk State seeming the superior team at face value, the odds say otherwise. Appalachian State is given -145 odds, or a 59.2% implied chance to win their first game. Meanwhile, Norfolk State is given +135 odds, or a 42.6% chance to win.
If you’re looking for a first four upset, Norfolk State could be it. Every measurable statistic says they should be the favorite, but oddsmakers disagree. App State seems to be a favorite on name brand only. Could they win this game? Absolutely given the unpredictably of two low-tier teams playing each other. That said, Norfolk should be the favorite here and they’re the underdog. This should be an easy bet.
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UCLA vs. Michigan State Odds: Betting public expect Michigan to win easily
UCLA and Michigan State is the game of the First Four. The two power conference teams have some of the most interesting resumes in the tournament. That said, Michigan State has earned their status as favorites in this one, -132 odds or a 56.9% chance to win.
Bettors certain agree that Michigan State are the bettor team and 72% of all wagers have been on the Spartans. It's surprising to see such a wide margin in the betting but it underlines the belief that UCLA are nothing but a historic name at this point.
Neither team has had a particularly good season. UCLA at 17-9 is okay, but they struggled in conference and have lost 4 games in a row. Meanwhile, Michigan State is 15-12 and just two weeks ago wasn’t even considered a tournament team.
That said, Michigan State has wins over Michigan, Ohio State, Illinois, and Rutgers. Those are some powerhouse wins for a team that’s only won 15 games on the year. They have the ability to beat anyone and everyone when they’re at their best.
UCLA is a little different. They started the year on fire, at one point they were 13-3 and 9-1 in conference. They looked a lock for the tournament and potentially a high seed. Then they lost 7 of their last 12 including four in a row to end their season.
UCLA does still have +166 odds or a 46.3% implied chance of victory. However, that seems high given what we know about these teams heading into this game.
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Mount St Marys vs. Texas Southern: Bettors backing Tigers to maul Mountaineers in pick'em
The first game of the 2021 NCAA Tournament will be played by Texas Southern and Mount St. Mary’s. The two 16 seeds come from starkly different places this season. Texas Southern is 16-8 and finished with the second best overall record in their conference. Going on to win the SWAC wasn’t a big shock. Mount St. Mary’s was a different story, as the 12-10 Mountaineers struggled in the weak NEC.
Despite the stark differences, oddsmakers can’t make heads or tails of this matchup. Texas Southern is technically the favorite at -108, giving them a 51.9% implied chance of victory. However, Mount St. Mary’s has -104 odds, giving them an implied 51% chance of victory.
Bettors aren't doing much better at picking the teams apart with 54% taking Texas Southern to secure the win in this pick'em game.
Texas Southern is coming into this game riding a 9 games winning streak. The odds really shouldn’t be this close. I find it hard to believe a red hot Texas Southern team is going to fall in a play game as a 16 seed. They’re just the better team on paper.
|Mount St. Mary’s||-104|
Most Backed First Four Teams
By looking at OddsChecker data over the past 24 hours these are the four most backed teams in the First Four and the teams which the majority of our bettors believe will progress to the First Round.
Michigan State 72% of bets
Drake 67% of bets
Norfolk State 62% of bets
Texas Southern 54% of bets