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Breaking Down East’s First Round of March Madness Betting

Now that we have officially reached the start of the March Madness betting season, sportsbooks can officially roll out NCAA basketball tournament lines. After another thrilling and unpredictable regular season, bettors and fans alike are set to tune in for one of the biggest sporting events of the year. Before the NCAA rolled out the bracket, players had a few names floating around for title favorites. But now that the full bracket has been released, bettors can have a much clearer picture at what teams could go all the way.

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Technically bettors won’t know the entire bracket until the First Four games have concluded. But considering that No. 16 seeds are 0-128 against No. 1s, it’s hard to imagine any of the First Four contestants posing a threat in the First Round of games, and the NCAA basketball tournament lines will likely reflect that. The team’s facing the No. 6 seeds could make a deep push, but being in the dark about what could happen is what makes March Madness that enticing. With that in mind, let’s break down all the first round matchups from the East’s quarter of the bracket.

First Round – East

Villanova vs. Mt. St. Mary’s/New Orleans winner – March 16 – 7:00 pm ET

As aforementioned, whoever ends up facing Nova has practically no chance of beating them. Likewise, Villanova, who finished No. 1 in the AP Top 25 this past Monday, have a very small chance of going all the way, considering only 2 top-ranked teams have won the tournament in the last 21 years.

Wisconsin vs. Virginia Tech – March 16 – 9:40 pm ET

The key to this game will be overtime. The Badgers has 8 overtime contests consecutively, 7 of which were on the road. If Virginia Tech wants to advance to the second round, they better get the job done in regulation.

Virginia vs. UNC Wilmington – March 16 – 12:40 pm ET

Wilmington is coming off a season that saw the team score 85 points a game. But since Virginia barely gives that up in a week, this contest should prove to be interesting.

Florida vs. East Tennessee State – March 16 – 3:10 pm ET

Since Florida finished higher on the AP Polls, the NCAA basketball tournament lines will likely come out in favor of the Gators. However, with 4 senior starters, and TJ Cromer – who’s shooting 40% from the 3-point line, East Tennessee State could deliver an upset.

SMU vs. Providence/USC winner – March 17 – 3:10 pm ET

The Mustangs may 30-4 and No. 11 in the nation, but there’s not too many March Madness betting fans talking about them. We’ll have to see how SMU holds up against one of the winners of the First Four.

Baylor vs. New Mexico State – March 17 – 12:40 pm ET

New Mexico State’s 28 wins marks the most success the program has enjoyed since 1970. They’ll be facing a Baylor team who’s extremely hard to overcome (the Bears have won 11 games this season in which they trailed in the second half).

South Carolina vs. Marquette – March 17 – 9:50 pm ET

SEC player of the year, South Carolina’s Sindarius Thornwell, put up 44 points, 21 rebounds against Alabama. Marquette will have to find a way to keep him under control.

Duke vs. Troy – March 17 – 7:20 pm ET

Duke has hardly been consistent this season, going from No. 1 in the nation to No. 5 in the ACC Tournament. The Blue Devils have used 10 different lineups this season, and we’ll have to see how they manage in the NCAA Tournament.