Thursday’s first round NCAA tournament parlay picks treated us kindly after cashing in four of six made suggestions. The two losers proved to be the Houston Cougars in the first half and the under in the Boise State/Northwestern matchup. The former was tied against a No. 16 seed deep into the second half while the latter saw both defenses surprisingly fall flat. Winners included the Maryland Terrapins, Furman Paladins, San Diego State Aztecs, and Penn State Nittany Lions. Let’s see if we can’t carry that success over into Saturday and parlay those picks into more winners at PointsBet Sportsbook!
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Furman Paladins +6
We’re going right back to the well with Furman and fading the Aztecs whom we backed against Charleston on Thursday. While this is another major step up in caliber of opponent for the Paladins, I believe Bob Richey’s kids will be up to the challenge. Furman didn’t have the look of a one-and-done type team on Thursday when it upset Virginia. Truthfully, I smelled some St. Peter’s vibes! I called the outright and knew going in that the Paladins would take excellent care of the basketball, shoot at a high clip from the field, and excel from the charity stripe. They pulled it off even with leading scorer Mike Bothwell plagued with foul trouble. Do it all again and the Mountain West will get bounced from this tournament entirely!
Duke Blue Devils -2.5
It’s painful to accept, but the Dookies are playing a brand of ball that could actually see them in the Final Four. Oral Roberts proved to be one of the bigger chic upset picks of the first round. All the Blue Devils did was bolt out to a 15-0 lead and never look back en route to securing the dominant 74-51 win and cover. Jeremy Roach and Kyle Filipowski are locked in right now. I can’t say the same for anyone on Tennessee who struggled mightily to dispose of UL Lafayette as decided favorites. They coughed it up 16 times against the RAGIN CAJUNS. Zakai Ziegler’s absence remains a problem, while Duke is grooving enough to the point that I see it advancing with a margin win in tow.
Mizzou let a bunch of total bettors down on Thursday by playing to a low scorer against Utah State. Don’t fret; we’ll get it back and some in this second round matchup against the Princeton Tigers who had Furman hold its beer by upsetting the No. 2 seed Arizona Wildcats. They did so even though they connected on just 4 of 25 shots from beyond the arc and getting to the free throw line five times. Tosan Evbuomwan and his mates will have no choice but to score in this tilt with the SEC Tigers looking to run the Ivy Tigers ragged in transition right up to the rim. Mizzou’s inability to rebound the basketball (No. 362) and horrendous scoring defense (No. 310) will allow Princeton to claw back from any and all deficits and keep it interesting.
Penn State Nittany Lions +5.5
My love affair for Micah Shrewsberry’s Nittany Lions extends for at least another game when Penn State squares off against the smoking white hot Texas Longhorns in the second round. While I could be playing with fire here blindly putting all my faith into Jalen Pickett and Co. once again, it’s a chance I’m willing to take. Penn State continues to take fabulous care of the basketball and stroke it from deep. They just sunk 13 of 22 against A&M’s stout defense and only turned it over five times. Texas plays nowhere near the caliber of defense as the Aggies regardless of it putting forth some really nice showings at the tail end of the season. Let’s see if that hot streak holds up against arguably the hottest shooting team in the country right now.
Maryland Terrapins +8.5
Maryland bringing one home for me on Thursday had me grinning considering the amount of tough losses I absorbed backing them away from home in the regular season. Regardless, I love the way Kevin Willard’s kids play defense and I’m willing to back them plus the points against the South Region top seed. The Terps’ defense matches up very nicely with what the Crimson Tide like to do offensively. Jahmir Young and Co. won’t be giving up many open looks from deep, and its ability to hold onto the basketball (No. 59) while at the same time slow the game to a crawl (No. 314) could frustrate Brandon Miller and his mates enough to get them out of their game. If that happens, Maryland won’t just be in a position to cover but also punch a ticket to the Sweet 16!