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Handicapper John Hyslop is kicking off Sunday with his four best bets from the early games as the second round of the NCAA Tournament rolls on. Featuring Houston vs. Illinois, Villanova vs. Ohio State, Duke vs. Michigan State, and Wisconsin vs. Iowa State.

Sunday March Madness Early Picks: Houston vs. Illinois, Villanova vs. Ohio State, and More

We've made it people. The last day of the first weekend of the tournament. Honestly, I knew we could do it. I knew it was going to be tough, but if you're the type of person that reads these articles every day, you can handle anything. Us gamblers are just built different. Mere mortals would not understand. But instead of just patting ourselves on the back, we should be getting our bets lined up. At this point, we're battle-tested. We've seen what the tournament has to offer. It's just a matter of putting the last second touches on what might be the greatest day of our gambling lives. I can't wait.

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12:10 pm ET - Illinois 1H Team Total Over 30.5 (+102) (Bet $100 to Win $102)

*Odds Available at FanDuel at Time of Publishing*

Bet $5 on Houston vs Illinois and win $200 if your team wins

This one is all gut people. If we've learned anything about this tournament, it's that stats and narratives don't matter. Nothing matters. Just guts. My gut is telling me that the close finish with Tennessee Chattanooga will push the Illinois kids. The Illini played terribly in the first half of that game and still scored 29 points. I get that Houston is a tough defensive team and they play slow but still. They gave up 37 to UAB in the first half of the last game. I don't think Illinois goes all UAB but I think they can get at least 31 in the first half of this game.

2:40 pm ET - Ohio State Team Total Over 66.5 (+140) - FanDuel Alt Line (Bet $100 to Win $140)

*Odds Available at FanDuel at Time of Publishing* I know the Buckeyes only scored 54 last game but that was against Sister Jean's squad. That type of game likely won't break out this round. Both of these squads play pretty slow but they both are top-13 offenses in the entire country according to KenPom. My theory is that EJ Liddell is going to have his way with Villanova. They couldn't handle the Delaware kids inside last game so they have no chance of containing Liddell. I'm not saying Ohio State sets a record for points today but I do think they score at least 67. Even if they lose.

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5:15 pm ET - Michigan State +5.5 (+110) - DraftKings Alt Line (Bet $100 to Win $110)

*Odds Available at DraftKings at Time of Publishing*

Bet $5 on the MONEYLINE for Duke vs Michigan State and win $200 if they win

I think Michigan State can win this game. Full disclosure, not a Duke guy so that plays in. Still, the Spartans are not a pushover. They never are this time of the year. This one is all about who shows up. If you think Duke has to because of Coach K, then ask yourself what happened last time they "had to for Coach K". They got smashed by UNC in front of literally everyone who's anyone in their program. I don't know how this is going to play out exactly but I don't trust Duke to cover all of these points. Especially against Tom Izzo.

6:10 pm ET - Iowa State/Wisconsin Under 125 (+100) - DraftKings Alt Line (Bet $100 to Win $100)

*Odds Available at DraftKings at Time of Publishing* I hate to do this on such a low number but this could legit be a game that doesn't see 100 points. In my opinion, in a game like that, both teams should be eliminated but that's not the reality of the situation. I think Iowa State is bad enough on offense and good enough on defense to keep this game in the 50s. Even if they don't, we still may see a 63-60 type contest. The only way this goes over is if one of these teams gets hot shooting the ball. That's hard to predict but if we're being honest, I don't want to be the guy that predicts a good offensive game from either one of these teams.

Article Author


John has spent the past 20+ years betting sports on a daily basis and is considered by many to be a walking sports betting encyclopedia. From obscure player props to sides and totals, if there is an angle, John will find it. His work has appeared on Rotogrinders and he has been a regular on sports talk radio stations across the country. Based in the US, John operates a blog & podcast, Sports Bets Beers, which covers betting angles in the NFL, NBA, MLB, & NHL.


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