Videos by OutKick
The 2nd round of the 2023 NCAA Tournament tips off Saturday with an 8-game slate. After loading up with six bets Thursday, I scaled it back with only two gambling looks Friday.
Since I’m writing this Friday morning, I’ll have to wait to update my record. But, as of Thursday, I’m 3-3 in the Big Dance. My two Saturday Round of 32 bets are for San Diego State-Furman and Duke-Tennessee.
South Region: 5-seed San Diego State Aztecs vs. 13-seed Furman Paladins at 12:10 p.m. ET on CBS
- Moneyline: San Diego State (-240), FURMAN (+200)
- Spread: San Diego State -6 (-110), FURMAN +6 (-110)
- Total — 138 — Over: -110, Under: -110
San Diego State handled business vs. the 12-seed Charleston Cougars with a 63-57 victory. The Aztecs pulled out a frontdoor cover as 5.5-point favorites by hitting two garbage-time free throws with less than a :01 remaining.
Furman’s game-winning 3-pointer to upset 4-seed Virginia Cavaliers 68-67 was the best moment in Thursday’s 1st round slate. The Paladins fought back from a 12-point deficit and won by making eight more 3s than the Cavs.
I’m backing Furman for a 2nd straight game because this spread is based too much on pre-tournament rankings and ignores the matchup. The Paladins have a better shot profile and perform better away from home.
Furman attempts a higher rate of dunks and allows a lower rate of dunks and forces a higher rate of inefficient “far” 2-pointers on defense, per BartTorvik.com. SDSU takes fewer “close” 2-pointers and more long-mid-range jumpers.
This is a Pros vs. Joe’s game in the betting market. Per Pregame.com, more cash in the consensus market is on the Paladins while more bets are on the Aztecs. It’s wise to follow the money when it’s counter to the public.
The Paladins rank 50th in away-from-home net rating and the Aztecs are 311th, per Haslametrics.com. Furman has better ball movement and these teams have roughly the same average height.
Again, the main difference between these two teams is San Diego State came into the NCAA Tournament with more expectations.
NCAA Tournament Bet #1: Furman +6 (-110) at DraftKings Sportsbook
East Region: 4-seed Tennessee Volunteers vs. 5-seed Duke Blue Devils at 2:40 p.m. ET on CBS
- Moneyline: Tennessee (+140), Duke (-165)
- Spread: Tennessee +3.5 (-110), DUKE -3.5 (-110)
- Total — 128.5 — Over: -110, Under: -110
The Blue Devils blasted the 12-seed Oral Roberts Golden Eagles 74-51 Thursday. The Volunteers eked past the 13-seed Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns and failed to cover as 11.5-point favorites.
One of my criticisms of former Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski was his inability to improve his talented rosters as the seasons progressed. The opposite is true of 1st-year Blue Devils coach Jon Scheyer.
Duke is playing like a legit title contender and Tennessee kind of backed into the NCAA Tournament. Since mid-February, the Blue Devils are 3rd nationally in adjusted net rating and the Vols are 14th, per BartTorvik.com.
Over that span, Duke has won 10 straight games by an average of 13.5 points per game and is 7-2-1 against the spread (ATS) with a +7.9 ATS margin. Tennessee is 5-4 overall and 4-5 ATS during that stretch.
The reason for UT’s mediocre play was the season-ending injury to its floor general, PG Zakai Zeigler. Without him, the Volunteers don’t have anyone that can create easy looks.
Furthermore, Tennessee doesn’t have the shooting to space out Duke’s defense. The Vols rank 244th in 3-point percentage while the Blue Devils are 18th in defensive 3-point percentage, per KenPom.com.
I wouldn’t hate parlaying Duke’s moneyline with another similarly priced favorite such as the 2-seed UCLA Bruins for a plus- or even-money payout.
But, I’m okay laying it with the Blue Devils because they are 26th in free throw percentage. If you’re going to bet a college basketball team to win by margin, they better be able to knock down freebies.
NCAA Tournament Bet #2: Duke -3.5 (-110) at DraftKings, up to -4
NCAA TOURNAMENT 2023: BETTING SLEEPERS FOR EVERY REGION, INCLUDING NO. 8 SEED MEMPHIS
FOLLOW GEOFF ON TWITTER: @Geoffery_Clark
Listen to the ‘OutKick Bets with Geoff Clark’ podcast HERE.
PointsBet Sportsbook users can make their first bets risk-free up to $2,000. If the bet loses, PointsBet will refund you in site credit. New users can lock in this offer NOW by clicking this link.
First-time DraftKings users can get up to a $1,000 deposit bonus and receive a 20% first deposit match up to $1,000 when they sign up. New users can lock in this offer NOW by clicking this link.