🏀 March Madness Pick'em Games

Here's hoping your schedule is clear today, because real tournament action starts in style with 16 games going down all day long. You can expect your fair share of upsets, but some of the matchups are a true toss-up to begin with. Peep lines for the five most interesting games of Day 1 🤔 (3 min read)

March Madness Is Here

First Four action in Dayton is officially in the books, and as riveting as it was watching UVA go 52 real minutes without scoring a point, I’m itching for the start of real tourney action…and today just so happens to be one of the best days of the entire year 😏

  • We’ve got our official 64-team bracket, and 63 games over the next two and half weeks to determine the National Champion. That all kicks off a little after noon EST today with a non-stop 16-game slate…check out the tournament schedule here

Before diving into the first round matchups, we wouldn’t be doing our newsletter duties if we didn’t give you one last look at this year’s title odds, with the defending champs leading the way 👇

  • UConn Huskies: +370

  • Houston Cougars: +550

  • Purdue Boilermakers: +700

  • Arizona Wildcats: +1200

  • UNC, Tennessee, Auburn: +1800

  • Iowa State Cyclones: +2000

Now, onto today’s action. At this point you’ve undoubtedly filled out your brackets already, and whether you did hours of research or flipped a coin for each pick, you probably aren’t looking for any more analysis on the favorites in each region. So I’m just here to discuss the most intriguing matchups of the day…and with five games with single-possession spreads, there’s plenty to choose from 👇

  • Spread: Michigan State -1.5

  • Moneyline: Michigan State -118, Mississippi State -102

  • Over/Under: 130.5

  • When: 12:15PM EST on CBS

It was a nervous Selection Sunday in East Lansing, but make it 26-straight tournament appearances for the Spartans, the second-longest active streak in the country 😳

Mississippi State was no tournament lock themselves, especially after a four-game losing streak to end the regular season. A dominant win over Tennessee in the SEC Tournament added enough juice to Bulldogs’ resume and shows this team’s upside…but betting against Tom Izzo this time of year is always a risky proposition 🤔

  • Spread: South Carolina -1.5

  • Moneyline: South Carolina -113, Oregon -106

  • Over/Under: 133.5

  • When: 4PM on TNT

Picked to finish dead-last in the SEC, the 26-7 Gamecocks were one of the best stories in college basketball this year, and it’s great to see Lamont Paris getting the praise he deserves 👏

They’ll face a streaking Oregon team that was likely on its way to the NIT until they rattled off three wins in three days to win the last-ever PAC-12 tournament as the four-seed. This month is all about momentum, and the Ducks certainly have it right now 🤷🏻‍♂️

  • Spread: Nevada -1.5

  • Moneyline: Nevada -120, Dayton +100

  • Over/Under: 136.5

  • When: 4:30PM on TBS

A 10-seed favored over a 7-seed? Not sure if that’s more due to Nevada going 10-2 since the start of February…

…or Dayton’s lethargic showing in their A-10 tournament loss to Duquesne. The public seems to be leaning heavily towards the lower seed as well, but I’m not too convinced…not when the Flyers have DaRon Holmes 🐶

  • Spread: Texas -2.5

  • Moneyline: Texas -137, Colorado State +114

  • Over/Under: 143.5

  • When: 6:50PM on TNT

Sure, everyone had jokes about the UVA offense on Tuesday night, but how about a little credit to the Colorado State defense? Many thought the Rams were too good to be playing in Dayton, and it definitely looked that way 💪

A First Four team has advanced to the second round in 11 out of the 12 years, and a Longhorns team that underperformed a bit this season could be vulnerable. But if we’re talking star players built to shine this month, the list has to include the Oral Roberts transfer Max Abmas 😎

  • Spread: Drake -1.5

  • Moneyline: Drake -118, Washington State -102

  • Over/Under: 138.5

  • When: 10:05PM on truTV

Another 10-seed favored over a 7-seed? The lone representative of the MVC (after Indiana State was snubbed), Drake is legit, and they’re plenty capable of advancing past the first round for the first time since 1971 👀

Washington State hasn’t had much tournament success lately either, but the second half of the season this team looked every part of a true Top-25 team. I’m all for mid-major love, but don’t count out the Cougars 🍿

Trivia Question: When is the last time Washington State won a NCAA tournament game?

Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

For My Parlay Gurus

If you aren’t cooking up a plethora of daily parlays, you simply aren’t doing March Madness right. Before brackets start getting busted later today, here’s a little three-teamer for ya 👇

  • South Carolina ML vs. Oregon: -113

  • Dayton ML vs. Nevada: +100

  • Texas ML vs. Colorado State: -137

$100 on this bet would win you $552 — if we hit, make sure you email [email protected] for a chance to win an Overtime hoodie*. Many will enter, only some will win 😉

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Trivia Answer: The Cougars haven’t won a game in the tournament since 2008, when they advanced to the Sweet 16 for just the second time in school history

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