While everyone loves an underdog, many more tend to bet on favorites. When looking at the first round of the NCAA Tournament, there are always numerous blowouts in the first round.
We’ve found a few first-round games that we think you’ll be safe if you choose to bet on the favorite against their March Madness Odds. Let’s take a brief look at each one of those games.
NCAA First Round: Favorites Worth Betting | March Madness Odds
(16) Georgia State Panthers vs (1) Gonzaga Bulldogs (-24.5)
Gonzaga is the top overall seed in this year’s tournament. While Georgia State comes into this one having won 10 games in a row, they haven’t faced an opponent like Gonzaga. Chet Holmgren and Drew Timme will be a matchup nightmare for the Panthers.
The last time that Georgia State was a 16 seed in the tournament was in 1991. That year, they lost 117-76 to Nolan Richardson’s powerful Arkansas Razorbacks squad.
While we don’t see them getting beat by 41 this time, we do think that the Zags will cover this spread. The game will be tight for a half, but Gonzaga will pull away in the second half.
(14) Montana State Bobcats vs (3) Texas Tech Red Raiders (-16)
Montana State makes their return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 25 years. Unfortunately for them, they’ll run into one of the best defenses in college basketball in the Texas Tech Red Raiders.
Texas Tech holds their opponents to just over 60 points per game. Their “no middle” defense doesn’t allow for ball reversal, and it can slow down an offense quickly. The Red Raiders also force a turnover nearly 25% of the time.
Montana State will give a valiant effort to keep it close, but we see Texas Tech winning this one by 20 points.
(13) UT-Chattanooga Mocs vs (14) Illinois Fighting Illini (-8)
Albeit with some help from Nebraska, the Illinois Fighting Illini were the co-champions in the Big 10. Illinois didn’t play well towards the end of the season, but they did beat Iowa to win the regular-season title.
With some momentum, they headed into the Big 10 Tournament and promptly lost their first Big 10 Tournament game to Indiana.
While UT-Chattanooga had a great season, they have yet to face anyone like the Illini’s Kofi Cockburn. Cockburn is a powerhouse in the post and normally needs double teams to slow him down.
We don’t think that UT-Chattanooga can handle the strength and power of Cockburn. The Illini have a strong, experienced backcourt, and they’re more athletic than the Mocs.
Illinois wins this one by 15 points and moves on to the second round.
(13) Vermont Catamounts vs (4) Arkansas Razorbacks (-6)
While Vermont is a trendy pick to upset the Razorbacks, we’re not on that train. Vermont plays a very slow, deliberate style of offense. They’re very efficient on the offensive end, and they don’t turn the ball over very often.
However, they’ll be going up against an Arkansas Razorbacks squad with a ton of length and athleticism. The Razorbacks also have one of the top defensive teams in the country.
Arkansas wins this one by ten and survives and advances.