- March Madness bettors looking for solid upsets to bet on will have a variety of upset candidates in the Day 2 March Madness slate.
- Red-hot Virginia Tech takes on ice-cold Texas, Cinderella candidate Cal State Fullerton takes on blue-blood Duke, and the defensive-minded Iowa State looks to end Texas’ run early.
MILWAUKEE – With March Madness officially underway, savvy sports bettors are constantly on the lookout for a smart underdog play – for the Day Two slate, three matchups in particular offer great profit potential to those looking to bet on underdogs.
(11) Iowa State Cyclones vs. (6) LSU Tigers Betting Odds
- Iowa State Cyclones +145
- LSU Tigers -170
- Iowa State Cyclones +4 (-115)
- LSU Tigers -4 (-105)
- Over 129 (-110)
- Under 129 (-110)
One of the top matchups of day two will feature the 11-seed Iowa State Cyclones taking on the 6-seed LSU Tigers in the Midwest region.
LSU’s regular-season highlights include wins over Kentucky, Tennessee, Texas A&M (twice), and Alabama. From an offensive standpoint, the Tigers have been led by forward Tari Eason, who has averaged 16.9 points, 6.7 rebounds, and an assist per game; Eason has also been an integral part of the Tigers’ defensive gameplan, averaging 2 steals per game and a team-best 1.1 blocks per game.
Four Tigers average over 10 points per game; however, LSU’s success has been primarily a result of stingy defense. The Tigers rank fourth in the nation in adjusted defensive efficiency and second in turnovers forced.
On the other side of the court, Iowa State enters the game on a cold streak – the Cyclones have dropped eight of their last 12. They were still able to earn a tournament berth on the strength of their 12-0 start that included victories over Xavier, Memphis, Creighton, and Iowa. They also managed a 79-70 win over Texas in January.
Offensively, Iowa State has run almost exclusively through guard Izaiah Brockington, who averages 17.2 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 1.7 assists per game while also chipping in 1.3 steals per contest. Much of Iowa State’s success has stemmed from their ability to play tough defense and generate turnovers – they rank 10th in the nation in adjusted defensive efficiency and sixth in turnovers forced.
This will be vital for the Cyclones since they have difficulty protecting the ball themselves. Offensively, the Cyclones rank 300th in the NCAA in offensive turnovers – certainly something they will need to keep in check if they wish to upset the Tigers.
Be on the lookout for the turnover battle in this one; if Iowa State can gain an edge early and protect the ball, they will have a much better chance of advancing in the tournament. If Iowa State coughs up turnovers at their usual pace, though, LSU’s defense may make it impossible for the Cyclones to stay in striking distance.
(11) Virginia Tech Hokies Vs. (6) Texas Longhorns Betting Odds
- Virginia Tech Hokies -100
- Texas Longhorns -120
- Virginia Tech Hokies +1 (-110)
- Texas Longhorns -1 (-110)
- Over 124.5 (-110)
- Under 124.5 (-110)
Another matchup with upset potential will feature the 11-seed Virginia Tech Hokies taking on the 6-seed Texas Longhorns in the East region. There has been significant line movement on legal sports betting sites with this matchup: Texas opened as 1.5-point favorites, but the line soon moved to a pick-’em.
Since, the line has drifted towards favoring the Longhorns, with Texas being favored by 1 point by Friday morning.
Texas heads into the matchup after being ranked 25th in the final poll of the regular season. The Longhorns racked up notable wins against TCU, Tennessee, Iowa State, and Kansas during the regular season; however, they stumbled down the stretch, dropping five of their last eight contests including matchups against TCU, Kansas, Baylor, and Texas Tech.
Forward Timmy Allen has been the focal point of the Longhorns offense, averaging 12.3 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game. Many consider the Longhorns to be one of the coldest teams coming into the tournament, making them a great upset candidate.
Adding to the upset case for this matchup is Virginia Tech’s recent performance. Virginia Tech has won 13 of their last 15 matchups, including four straight during the conference tournament highlighted by wins over North Carolina and, finally, Duke, culminating in an ACC Championship.
Offensively, the Hokies are led by forward Keve Aluma. Aluma averages 15.8 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 1.9 assists per game; however, in the last five matchups, the Hokies have been led in scoring by four different players.
One matchup concern that could bode well for Virginia Tech’s chances is Texas’ lack of three-point shooting.
No player on the Longhorns shoots 36% or better from beyond the arc, which could make it difficult for the Longhorns to catch up if Virginia Tech comes out to a lead. Watch the early game in this one – if Virginia Tech comes out hot, it could be a long day for Texas.
(15) Cal State Fullerton Titans Vs. (2) Duke Blue Devils Betting Odds
- Cal State Fullerton Titans +1125
- Duke Blue Devils -3000
- Cal State Fullerton Titans +18.5 (-105)
- Duke Blue Devils +18.5 (-115)
- Over 145 (-110)
- Under 145 (-110)
This matchup between the 15-seed Cal State Fullerton Titans and the 2-seed Duke Blue Devils in the West region will be one of the top March Madness betting attractions for underdog bettors.
Duke enters their first-round matchup as one of the top teams in the NCAA. They rank seventh in the NCAA in adjusted offensive efficiency, 15th in expected field goal percentage, and 17th in turnover percentage; however, despite their statistical prowess, many views this Blue Devil squad – complete with the expected first overall pick, the most five-star recruits in the NCAA, and a legendary head coach – as a disappointment.
Duke suffered some tough losses – Miami and Florida State stand out – but it was their final game, their March 12 matchup against Virginia Tech, that is attracting doubt.
In that game, media attention and hype were at their zenith, as it was head coach Mike Krzyzewski’s final regular-season game. Duke struggled in that matchup, which led to an 82-67 loss.
The pressure and hype of March Madness will surely equal or surpass that of their Virginia Tech game; if Duke’s young squad shows signs of nervousness, Coach K may be ending his career on a low note.
On the other hand, Cal State Fullerton boasts a 21-10 record; however, that record does not tell the whole story. Losses against Santa Clara, San Jose State, Texas-Rio Grande Valley, Wyoming, UC Riverdale, Hawaii, and Long Beach State (among others) show that on a bad night, the Titans are very beatable.
One of Fullerton’s top weaknesses is their inability to shoot the three; however, they are solid on the interior, led by 6’7” forward and Tennessee transfer E.J. Anosike.
For Fullerton to shock the world and send the Blue Devils packing, they will need a huge performance out of Anosike. Moreover, they will need either Damari Milstead or Tray Maddox Jr., their top two three-point shooters, to get hot beyond the arc.
Duke’s primary defensive issue is guarding the three – if one of the Titans’ shooters can get hot, and Duke’s inexperience plays to Fullerton’s favor, their long (+1125) betting odds could be the play of the year.
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News tags: Alabama Crimson Tide | Baylor Bears | Cal State Fullerton Titans | College Basketball | Creighton Bluejays | Damari Milstead | Day Two | Duke Blue Devils | E.J. Anosike | Florida State Seminoles | Iowa Hawkeyes | Iowa State Cyclones | Kansas Jayhawks | Kentucky Wildcats | Keve Aluma | LSU Tigers | March Madness | Memphis Tigers | Miami Hurricanes | Mike Krzyzewski | North Carolina Tar Heels | Tari Eason | TCU Horned Frogs | Tennessee Volunteers | Texas A&M Aggies | Texas Longhorns | Texas Tech Red Raiders | Timmy Allen | Tray Maddox Jr. | Virginia Tech Hokies | Xavier Musketeers
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