March Madness Picks: Best Picks Against the Spread and Underdogs to Bet for Friday

  • March Madness first-round action continues on Friday, March 18th
  • There are a number of underdogs who should offer value ATS
  • Below, find the odds and March Madness picks for Friday’s NCAA Tournament games

The NCAA Tournament is the time of upsets and we already saw a few on the first day of action on Thursday, with #5 UConn,  #2 Kentucky, who had +250 Final Four odds, and #5 Iowa getting bounced by much lower seeds.

On Friday, there is also going to be some major ATS value, specifically on Chattanooga,  UAB, and the red-hot Davidson Wildcats, who are all playing matchups where they could definitely come out on the winning end or at least make it close.

Keep reading for the best March Madness betting strategies on Friday.

March Madness Picks for Friday (March 18)

Matchup Spread Pick
Chattanooga vs Illinois ILLI (-8) CHA (+8)
UAB vs Houston HOU (-8.5) UAB (+8.5)
Davidson vs Michigan State MSU (-1) DAV (+1)

Odds as of March 17th at Caesars Sportsbook. See all available Caesars Sportsbook bonus options.

Pick #1: Chattanooga (+8) vs Illinois

At first glance, why would someone even think of picking Chattanooga against a very well-rounded Illinois team? From history itself, this is a fantastic pick. #13 seeds have won in the first round in five consecutive NCAA Tournaments, with two of them coming out victorious in the 2021 edition as Ohio beat #4 Virginia, while North Texas took out Purdue.

The Fighting Illini have a dominant big man in Kofi Cockburn, but the Mocs also boasts a huge figure down low in Kansas transfer Silvio De Sousa, who should be able to keep up with Cockburn. Chattanooga also comes into this game having won nine of their last 11 games and have a true backcourt star in Malachi Smith, who is averaging more than 20 points per night and can keep up with anyone. His backcourt partner, David Jean-Baptiste, is also putting up 14.6 points.

Illinois is coming off a shocking loss to Indiana in the Big Ten Tournament and the Mocs are high on confidence right now. Currently sitting at +8 in the March Madness game odds, this is a no-brainer.

Pick: Chattanooga +8

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Pick #2: UAB (+8.5) vs Houston

Yes, Houston made a run all the way to the Final Four last season only to get shellacked by Baylor. This Cougars team is very good once again and one of the favorites to come out of the South Region with their March Madness odds at +3000, but UAB is no easy task. The Blazers are a gritty team with a true star at point guard in Jordan Walker, who is averaging 20.4 points, 4.9 dimes, and 2.9 assists on 41% shooting from downtown. The definition of a Swiss Army knife.

Houston’s defense is elite, but Walker is a legitimate weapon and if UAB can get hot from long range, this could be a much closer game. After all, the Blazers shot 38% from beyond the arc this season, which ranked them 12th in the nation. Also, they’ve won seven in a row and haven’t lost a game by double-figures all year. That alone is a reason to take them ATS.

Pick: UAB +8.5

Pick #3: Davidson (+1) vs Michigan State

This game is obviously a lot closer of a spread since these teams are pretty even in many areas, but they’re on opposite sides of the spectrum lately. Davidson has won seven of their last nine games, while Michigan State is just 3-3 in their previous six outings.

The Wildcats also have a clear home advantage here, playing just 90 minutes away from campus in Greenville, South Carolina. Davidson is an elite shooting team in all aspects, draining 38.6% of their triples (7th in the country) and posting a 48.1% field goal clip (17th).

I truly believe their ability to make it rain from three-point land, in particular, will be the difference-maker and allow them to come out on top and advance against a Spartans team who isn’t playing very well lately.

Pick: Davidson +1

The post March Madness Picks: Best Picks Against the Spread and Underdogs to Bet for Friday appeared first on Sports Betting Dime.

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Author: Stacy Hoffman